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Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song 1971


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3.7 out of 5 stars (6) IMDb 5.5/10

After saving a Black Panther from some racist cops, a black prostitute goes on the run from "the man" with the help of the ghetto community and some disillusioned Hells Angels.

Simon Chuckster, Melvin Van Peebles
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Product Details

  • Feature ages_18_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 37 minutes
Starring Simon Chuckster, Melvin Van Peebles, Hubert Scales, John Dullaghan
Director Melvin Van Peebles
Genres Drama
Studio BFI
Rental release 16 October 2006
Main languages English

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Grahame Timms on 4 Jun. 2008
Format: DVD
An early blaxploit film made on a budget but it works for me.The previous reviewer correctly refers to poor quality picture/lighting but you're not watching a digitally remastered version with the BFI disc.Everything about the movie is raw and has that "fly on the wall" style with many of its scenes.The music is appropiate and messy at the same time and in being so it adds to the urgency of the more dramatic scenes.I will recommend this to any fan of blaxploit with one simple proviso:it ain't polished like "Shaft" - it's down to earth and seems a truly realistic account of life for some members of America's black and ethnic communities of the late sixties and early seventies.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Herbie Grant - King of the FUNK on 13 July 2005
Format: VHS Tape
This was pioneering stuff for back in 1971, a film where the black guy isn't just a lovable clown playing it up for the rich white guy, or any other stereotype that filled the big screen back in the day. Melvin Van Peebles created a a film 'for all the brothers and sisters tired of the man,' working against the actors guild of the time and making possibly the most un-Hollywood film ever. No one wanted to touch it to begin with, but it grossed over £11 million, made Peebles a household name (sort of) but most importantly gave birth to the whole Blaxploitation genre and made Black cinema as great and important as anything else commited to film.
Also, don't sleep on the soundtrack. It features a damn funkin' Earth, Wind & Fire before anyone knew who they were, along with Peebles'own madcap chants and outbursts. Anyone who has heard Madlib's Quasimoto albums will already be familiar with some of the tracks as they form a large proportion of his vocal samples.
Anyway, essential inspirational viewing. Proof indeed that if you want to achieve somrthing, it is possible. If you're good enough. And Melvin Van Peebles was/is. Keep it funkin' y'all.
They won't bleed me.
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Format: DVD
From my 1967-75 movie blog; (by all means, follow me!)

‘This film is dedicated to all the brothers and sisters who had enough of the man’
With this opening text on screen, film-maker Melvin Van Peebles signalled his uncompromising attitude up-front for SWEET SWEETBACK’S BAADASSSS SONG. This would not be an impassioned Martin Luther King appeal to one nation sentiments. Nor would it be a film bathed in well-intentioned Spielbergian warmth, hoping for a brotherhood that can work together. This was an angry manifesto of non-compliance by blacks toward whites, borne of long-suffering inequality and demonization. Little wonder that the Black Panthers endorsed the movie on release.
It is also widely-regarded as the first film of the Blaxploitation movement. It all begins here…
There are many unusual and refreshing qualities to the film. The lead credit is boldly given to ’The Black Community’ as a whole, presenting them as a united front of contribution. This will be hammered home even more blatantly later.

SWEET SWEETBACK’s title character does not inhabit a typically soft conventional job for a movie lead. Rather than pander to a lame stereotype, Van Peebles pointedly made him a ‘sexual animal’ (as he called him in a later interview I saw). Leaving aside the possibility that this plays more on black sexual stereotypes than rejection, Sweetback makes his living by pleasuring the ladies as a stud performer, a technique he acquires at a very young age from a lady within his brothel home.
Read more ›
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