Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song 1971

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(4) IMDb 5.5/10
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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.

Starring:
Melvin Van Peebles, John Dullaghan
Rental Formats:
DVD

Product Details

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

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

3.8 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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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 16 Oct. 2003
Format: VHS Tape
i had the pleasure of watching this film on a grubby betamax video that my dad had hidden under the bed when i was 10 years old (im now 30) and i have to say that this film followed me through out my entire adolescence! its the best blaxploitation film ever made EVER!!!!! i still watch it to this day and sing along to the gritty tunes that blast out of my tv set! my partner and i know all the words..and there arent many as peebles doesnt speak much!! but we use them as cursing out lines up to this day!! if u aint watched this u aint lived believe me!!the biggening scene is the most shocking clip i have ever seen on the big screen!!! and i aint easily shocked but it still has an affect on me now( imagine a ten year old!) this guy loves sex and seems to go through the film batteling with his weapon.(not a gun) quite frequently! please get it please watch it please remember it...its BADAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!
BIG UP!
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4 of 16 people found the following review helpful By James the King on 13 Dec. 2007
Format: DVD
This is quite possibly the worst film ever made! The story behind the production and the intentions of Peebles may be inspiring, but the movie sure ain't. Sure, the backbone of it was a seriously slap in the face for the oppressive end of the white establishment which still resonates today - and rightly so. But the significant message this movie was conceived to communicate is utterly lost in an unbearably sloppy 90 minute montage of badly edited violence, endless footage of Peebles running and a few tasteless sex scenes.

I would like to start by pointing out that I have no moral objection to this film, unlike a lot of people who criticise. I love black cinema. I grew up on ropey blaxpoloitation movies and appreciate that cinematic brilliance was not on the top of the priority list for the people who made these movies. However, I cannot get past the fact that this movie is utterly incoherent from start to finish. The plot is almost non-existent, and only about a third of the screen time has anything to do with the 'story' anyway. There are random scenes that have no apparent meaning or significance whatsoever.

It looks dreadful, as if the cameraman was on speed and crack at the same time. Beyond this, the night sequences (which make up a large percentage of the film) are so dark that you literally cannot see a thing. Alas, that may be just as well, as it goes some small way to detracting from the mind-blowingly poor 'acting'. Sweetback himself just pouts and minces about, and he's the best 'character' in there. The sound is awful, often with two songs (the same two songs on a continuous loop) literally playing on top of each other.

I really wanted to like this movie, and I still acknowledge it as a milestone in American culture and social history.
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