“Beat It” was written and directed by award-winning film and TV director Bob Giraldi. This video was the first to feature an abundance of dancers, choreographed by Michael Peters. The story of an intense and violent conflict between two street gangs, culminating in a tense standoff, is also an expression of Jackson’s extreme dislike of violence. About 80 actual members from the street gangs Crips and Bloods were cast as extras and performers in the video, not only to add authenticity, but also in an attempt to foster peace between the two rivals.
“Beat It” went on to win multiple awards, including: Favorite Pop/ Rock Video and Favorite Soul Video from the American Music Awards; Best Video Performance from the Black Gold Awards; and seven awards from the Billboard Video Awards. Later the music video would also be inducted into the Music Video Producer’s Hall of Fame, and was ranked by Rolling Stone as the number one video of all time, by both fans and critics.
© 1983 Optimum Productions
Songwriter: Michael Jackson
Director: Bob Giraldi
Production Dates: March 1983
Primary Production Location: Skid Row, Hollywood, California