Malcolm X 1992

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(60) IMDb 7.7/10
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Writer-director Spike Lee's epic portrayal of the life and times of the slain civil rights leader Malcolm X begins with the cross-cut imagery of the police beating of black motorist Rodney King juxtaposed with an American flag burning into the shape of the letter X. When the film's narrative begins moments later, it jumps back to World War II-era Boston, where Malcolm Little (Denzel Washington) is making his living as a hustler. The son of a Baptist preacher who was murdered by the Ku Klux Klan, Little was raised by foster parents after his mother was deemed clinically insane; as an adult, he turned to a life of crime, which leads to his imprisonment on burglary charges. In jail, Little receives epiphany in the form of an introduction to Islam; he is especially taken with the lessons of Elijah Mohammed, who comes to him in a vision. Adopting the name 'Malcolm X' as a rejection of the 'Little' surname (given his family by white slave owners), he meets the real Elijah Mohammed (Al Freeman, Jr.) upon exiting prison, and begins work as a spokesman for the Nation of Islam. Marriage to a Muslim nurse named Betty Shabazz (Angela Bassett) follows, after which X spearheads a well-attended march on a Harlem hospital housing a Muslim recovering from an episode of police brutality. The march's success helps elevate X to the position of Islam's national spokesperson. There is dissension in the ranks, however, and soon X is targeted for assassination by other Nation leaders; even Elijah Mohammed fears Malcolm's growing influence. After getting wind of the murder plot, X leaves the Nation of Islam, embarking on a pilgrimage to Mecca that proves revelatory; renouncing his separatist beliefs, his oratories begin embracing all races and cultures. During a 1965 speech, Malcolm X is shot and killed, reportedly by Nation of Islam members.~ Jason Ankeny, All Movie Guide

Starring:
Spike Lee, Annie Corley
Rental Formats:
DVD, Blu-ray

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 3 hours 13 minutes
Starring Spike Lee, Annie Corley, Albert Hall, Angela Bassett, Denzel Washington, Al Freeman Jr., Delroy Lindo
Director Spike Lee
Genres Drama
Studio WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Rental release 14 May 2012
Main languages English
Hearing impaired subtitles English
Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 3 hours 13 minutes
Starring Spike Lee, Annie Corley, Albert Hall, Angela Bassett, Denzel Washington, Al Freeman Jr., Delroy Lindo
Director Spike Lee
Genres Drama
Studio WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Rental release 14 May 2012
Main languages English

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Gershwin on 19 Feb 2008
Format: DVD
This tells the story of Malcolm X, one of America's foremost figures in the black civil rights movement. The lead role is played beautifully by Denzel Washington, in the kind of charismatic perfomance we have come to expect from him.

Malcolm X is surely one of the most fascinating men in the history of free speech. Going from his boyhood in a racially predjudiced America to his adulthood, involved in crime, and then a stretch in prison, Malcolm is affected greatly by the racism he sees all around him, and then in prison, he becomes even more affected by the teachings of Elijah Mohammed, a Muslim scholar who spreads the teachings of Islam.

Through this, Malcolm becomes involved heavily in making speeches about the racism that black people in America have to endure. It is through one of these speeches that Malcolm meets his future wife, a young Muslim woman played superbly by Angela Bassett.

The speeches of Malcolm are so perfectly true and cutting that they infuriated many. Unfortunately the truth always hurts, and although I disagree with some of his terminolgy, such as 'devils', the points he was making were always incredibly relevant and near the bone. Hence he made many enemies.

Perhaps the greatest irony of all is that a man so often accused of condoning or inciting violence actually never led by the example of being violent, yet tragically died in a violent way. This makes Malcolm's story a very sad one, and his wise words will echo throughout history.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By T. S. C. VINE VOICE on 2 Sep 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I watched this film years ago, and felt moved by it. I recently bought it on Amazon and just watched it last night. First off, I might say that the film is a long one but needs to be, in the same way Richard Attenborough's 'Gandhi' is long and David Lean's 'Lawrence of Arabia' is long; it needed to be long to convey this highly interesting man's life and all the complexities and even contradictions of Malcolm X's life. Why should a white working class person from England really be interested in a black working class guy from America anyway? Well, why not? Malcolm X the film stands comparison with the two films I just mentioned because Malcolm X is an important person in the history of civil rights in America and perhaps the whole world.

Malcolm, in his life, went from being a tough thug and former jailbird, into a civil rights leader for his people, with an extremely sharp brain and some of the most uncompromising and electrifying speeches you've ever heard. It's been said that Martin Luther King was a man of peace and Malcolm was a man of war, but I feel that both men were two sides of the same coin, and when it really boils down to it, were 'fighting' for the same thing, which was emancipation for black people in America, all kinds of emancipation, certainly economic emancipation.

There is a kind of feeling that comes to me from the time of Malcolm X; America was changing and all kinds of people, not just black people, were beginning to feel that they deserved a bigger slice of the pie and demanding fairness and equality and perhaps most importantly economic justice so that it wasn't just white middle and upper class people who could live well and prosper but everybody. The same things were probably happening in Britain but on a more understated level.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Derrick Johnson VINE VOICE on 13 May 2005
Format: DVD
which was how Spike Lee was quoted after Denzel didn't win the Oscar for best Actor of that year. I agree, and when you consider that Denzel did win a Oscar for Training Day. you have to wonder what denotes a great performance. This is a MUST-SEE film for people who a)Think that all Malcolm X represented was violence, a history of drug Dealing, ex-con b) That think that people can't change and c) the power of education. It is a long film, but didn't feel that way to me(I saw it twice at the cinema, and was moved to tears on both ocassions) Spike's Best film to date, which so far he has not surpassed.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Mr Timothy David Watson on 30 Nov 2001
Format: DVD
The combination of one of the greatest figures from the 20th century, a fine director in Spike Lee and an Oscar nominated performance from Denzel Washington should have resulted in a far better film than this. Don't get me wrong this is a good film but the book it is adapted from, 'The Autobiography of Malcolm X' written with Alex Haley is one of the greatest books I have ever read. At over three hours it is true that this is a long film but it does still skip over a lot of Malcolm's earlier life and the conversion he goes through on his pilgrimage. So I recommend the film for Washington's performance if nothing else but with the book you get a far greater insight into the life of Malcolm X. Just to add I think a real opportunity has been missed with the DVD release. The inclusion of a theatrical trailer aside there are no extra features. Director's commentary, Malcolm X footage and interviews could have really made this DVD.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Risteard Mac An Bhearshuiligh on 22 Oct 2007
Format: DVD
...but a friend leant it to me and I found I had to watch it twice. I didn't know a great deal about Malcolm X, and found this film awesome and inspiring. Spike Lee directs his greatest film, and Denzel Washington gives one of his greatest performances. It is hard not to root for Malcolm, when you see his background - whatever your viewpoint, and on this level Lee delivers this film's punch. Recommended, but a long film.
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