Breakdancing exploded in the 1980s as part of the young hip-hop scene in Brooklyn and the Bronx. On this list of the top b-boy films, you’ll find genre-defining films from the ‘80s, like Breakin’ and Beat Street. In addition, this list contains modern classics like Step Up, which has a jawdropping performance on the floor..
1. Beat Street
Set in the South Bronx, the film follows the lives of a pair of brothers and their group of friends, all of whom are devoted to various elements of early hip hop culture. Kenny Kirkland (Guy Davis) is a budding disc jockey and Master of Ceremonies, and his younger brother, Lee (Robert Taylor) is a hardcore b-boy who dances with Beat Street Breakers (the New York City Breakers). Kenny’s best friends are Ramon (Jon Chardiet), a graffiti artist known by his tag, “Ramo”, and Chollie (Leon W. Grant), his self-styled manager/promoter.
Breakin’ (also known as Breakdance in the United Kingdom and Break Street ’84 in other regions) is a 1984 American breakdancing-themed comedy-drama film directed by Joel Silberg, written by Charles Parker and Allen DeBevoise, based on a story by Parker, DeBevoise and Gerald Scaife.
The film’s setting was inspired by a 1983 German documentary titled Breakin’ and Enterin, set in the multi-racial hip hop club, Radio-Tron, based out of MacArthur Park in Los Angeles. Many of the artists and dancers from said documentary, including Ice T (who makes his film debut as a club MC), and Michael ‘Boogaloo Shrimp’ Chambers, went straight from Breakin’ and Enterin’ to star in Breakin’.
3. Step Up 2: The Streets
Step Up 2 The Streets is a supremely lazy teacher of the above lessons, stumbling gracelessly from point A to point B and hitting all the expected notes in the process. Briana Evigan stars as a dancer who runs into trouble when her outlaw dance crew ends up on the news. Evigan ends up matriculating at the Maryland School Of The Arts, where hoity-toity types turn up their nose at her raw skillz and untamed exuberance. Robert Hoffman, who appears to have been cloned from the DNA of Jay Mohr and Chris Klein, co-stars as Evigan’s love interest, the brother of the school’s uptight headmaster, and a talented dancer in his own right. After Evigan is kicked out of her old crew for getting above her raisin’, she and Hoffman transform a loose confederacy of outlaws and misfits into a lean, mean dancing machine in time for the big dance-off.