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Breakin' movie poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJoel Silberg
Produced by
  • Allen DeBevoise
  • David Zito
Screenplay by
  • Charles Parker
  • Allen DeBevoise
Story by
  • Charles Parker
  • Allen DeBevoise
  • Gerald Scaife
Music by
  • Michael Boyd
  • Gary Remal
CinematographyHanania Baer
Edited by
  • Larry Bock
  • Gib Jaffe
  • Vincent Sklena
Distributed byMGM/UA Entertainment Company
Release date
  • May 4, 1984 (1984-05-04)
Running time
87 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$1.2 million[2]
Box office$38.7 million[2][3]

Breakin' (also known as Breakdance in the United Kingdom and Break Street '84 in other regions[4]) 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' 'n' Enterin', set in the multi-racial hip hop club Radio-Tron, based out of MacArthur Park in Los Angeles.[5] 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' 'n' Enterin' to star in Breakin'.

The musical score featured the hits, "Breakin'... There's No Stopping Us" by Ollie & Jerry and "Freakshow on the Dance Floor".

Breakin' was the final Cannon film production released by MGM/UA. After release, MGM and Cannon dissolved their distribution deal, reportedly over the potentially X-rated content in John Derek's film Bolero and MGM's then-policy of not theatrically releasing X-rated material, forcing Cannon to become an in-house distribution company once again. Because of this, Breakin' is considered to be the final financially profitable film released by Cannon.


Protagonist Kelly Bennett (Lucinda Dickey) is a young dancer training under the supervision of a traditionalist choreographer, Franco (Ben Lokey). Through her friend Adam, Kelly is introduced to two street dancers, Ozone (Adolfo 'Shabba Doo' Quiñones) and Turbo (Michael 'Boogaloo Shrimp' Chambers) on the boardwalk at Venice Beach. Kelly becomes enamored with their dancing and becomes friendly with the men, dancing and talking with them. Eventually, after dancing together the three form a team. Kelly eventually leaves her studio as her choreographer does not respect breakdancing and makes unwanted advances towards her. Later, Kelly attends a dance audition and is shut down by harsh directors. Kelly then wanders to a breakdancing event where she finds Ozone and Turbo in the midst of a dance battle that they eventually lose against rivals "Electro Rock". Ozone is very defeated and is consoled by Kelly and she convinces him and Turbo to enter a dance competition. Kelly's agent friend James (Christopher McDonald), sees what the group can do and agrees to back them. However, the group is technically not allowed to perform in the dance audition because they only want "respected" forms of dance. Kelly and the crew dress up in black tie clothes to fool the judges and then start their audition. When the judges see their breakdancing they are initially shocked and disapproving. However, the three eventually win over the judges and are chosen from the audition. The group goes on to be popular, remain friends, and dance in the community.[6]



According to the 2014 documentary Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films, Menahem Golan of Cannon Films was inspired to create this film after his daughter saw a breakdancer in Venice Beach, California, one day. At the same time, he pressured the production crew to complete the film before Orion Pictures released their breakdancing film Beat Street.


Breakin' Soundtrack by Polydor Records

The soundtrack of the film was released by Polydor Records in 1984.[8] The album contains the first performance on an album of rapper Ice-T produced by DJ Chris "The Glove" Taylor & David Storrs.[9] (He had released some 12" singles previously.)

  1. "Breakin'... There's No Stopping Us" by Ollie & Jerry – 4:34
  2. "Freakshow on the Dance Floor" by Bar-Kays – 4:42
  3. "Body Work" by Hot Streak – 4:22
  4. "99 ½" by Carol Lynn Townes – 4:02
  5. "Showdown" by Ollie & Jerry – 3:57
  6. "Heart of the Beat" by 3V – 4:18
  7. "Street People" by Fire Fox – Music by (Ollie & Jerry) 3:23
  8. "Cut It" by Re-Flex – 3:11
  9. "Ain't Nobody" by Rufus and Chaka Khan – 4:45
  10. "Reckless" by Chris "The Glove" Taylor & David Storrs - Rap by Ice-T – 3:57

Despite not being included on the official soundtrack, the film also features the songs "Tour de France" by Kraftwerk, "Boogie Down" by Al Jarreau, and "Beatbox" by Art of Noise.


Box office[edit]

Breakin' opened in 1,069 venues on May 4, 1984 and outgrossed Sixteen Candles, which had more screens (1,240). The film ranked number one in the box office, earning $6,047,686.[10] By the end of its run, the film grossed $38,682,707 in the domestic box office.[3]

Breakin' was the eighteenth top-grossing film of 1984 with $38,682,707 made in total.[11]

Critical reception[edit]

Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports that 43% of seven critics gave the film a positive review.[12]

Roger Ebert, who reviewed the film while it was in theatres, gave the film 1.5 stars out of 4 stating that the movie was, "a stiff and awkward story, interrupted by dance sequences of astonishing grace and power."[13] Ebert praised the dancing and the chemistry of the stars but slammed the movie's screenplay, script, and supporting characters.

User generated film-information site IMDb, reported "4839 IMDb users have given a weighted average vote of 5.7 / 10" for the film.[14]

Home media[edit]

On August 5, 2003, MGM Home Entertainment released Breakin as a bare-bones DVD. On April 21, 2015, Shout! Factory released Breakin, along with the sequel Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo, as a double feature Blu-ray.


Breakin' was followed by a sequel, entitled Electric Boogaloo, released in 1984.

In popular culture[edit]

Several months prior to the film's release, Shabba Doo, Boogaloo Shrimp, 'Pop N' Taco, Popin Pete, DJ Chris "The Glove" Taylor and Lollipop were all prominently featured in the music video for Chaka Khan's remake of the 1979 Prince song, "I Feel for You".

Ice-T, who had a small role in the film later stated that he considers the film and his own performance in it to be "wack."[15]

Breakin' and its sequel Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo have had a resurgence in popular media as people have begun to remember, mock, and praise the film over 20 years later, with the sequel's subtitle in particular becoming a snowclone pejorative nickname to denote an archetypical sequel.[16][17]


  1. ^ "BREAKDANCE (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. May 4, 1984. Retrieved September 3, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Andrew Yule, Hollywood a Go-Go: The True Story of the Cannon Film Empire, Sphere Books, 1987 p47
  3. ^ a b "Breakin' (1984)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved September 3, 2015.
  4. ^ Silberg, Joel (2009-04-06), Breakdance - The Movie, Second Sight Films Ltd., retrieved 2017-10-28
  5. ^ "Breakin' N Enterin' Documentary (Video)". Ambrosia For Heads. 2013-08-10. Retrieved 2017-10-28.
  6. ^ Ebert, Roger. "Breakin' Movie Review & Film Summary (1984) | Roger Ebert". Retrieved 2017-10-28.
  7. ^ "Jean-Claude Van Damme". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2011-03-22.
  8. ^ Breakin', Get On Down, 2011-11-22, retrieved 2017-10-28
  9. ^ "Breakin'". Allmusic.
  10. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for May 4-6, 1984". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. May 7, 1984. Retrieved September 3, 2015.
  11. ^ "1984 Yearly Box Office Results - Box Office Mojo". Retrieved 2017-11-14.
  12. ^ "Breakin'". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved September 3, 2015.
  13. ^ Ebert, Roger. "Breakin' Movie Review & Film Summary (1984) | Roger Ebert". Retrieved 2017-10-28.
  14. ^ Breakin' (1984) - User ratings, retrieved 2017-10-28
  15. ^ Ice T; Sigmund, Heidi (1994). The Ice Opinion. New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 96. ISBN 0-312-10486-3.
  16. ^ "Beyond Boogaloo: The Weird, Wild and Wonderful World of Cannon's 'Breakin' Movies". Esquire. 2015-05-29. Retrieved 2017-10-28.
  17. ^ Patches, Matt (2014-12-22). "How 'Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo' Became a Movie and Then a Meme". Grantland. Retrieved 2017-10-28.

External links[edit]