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Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971)

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

Director:

Melvin Van Peebles
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An extremely bigoted white man finds out the hard (and somewhat humorous) way what it's like being a black man, firsthand!

Director: Melvin Van Peebles
Stars: Godfrey Cambridge, Estelle Parsons, Howard Caine
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Simon Chuckster ... Beetle
Melvin Van Peebles ... Sweetback
Hubert Scales Hubert Scales ... Mu-Mu
John Dullaghan ... Commissioner
Wesley Gale Wesley Gale ... (as West Gale)
Niva Rochelle Niva Rochelle
Rhetta Hughes Rhetta Hughes ... Old Girl Friend
Nick Ferrari Nick Ferrari
Ed Rue Ed Rue
John Amos ... Biker (as Johnny Amos)
Lavelle Roby
Ted Hayden Ted Hayden
Mario Van Peebles ... Young Sweetback / Kid (as Mario Peebles)
Sonja Dunson Sonja Dunson
Michael Augustus Michael Augustus
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Storyline

Melvin Van Peebles wrote, directed, produced, edited, composed and starred in this powerful and inflammatory attack on White America. After the body of a black man is discovered, Sweetback helps two white 'acquaintances' in the police force to look good by agreeing to go with them to the station as a suspect. But he is forced to go on the run after brutally attacking the two policemen when they arrest and beat up a young black man. Written by David Claydon <dc6212@bristol.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Sweet Sweetback will never die a natural death. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 March 1973 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

Sweet Sweetback See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA

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Box Office

Budget:

$500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$15,180,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Yeah See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Dedicated to "Brothers and sisters who have had enough of the Man." See more »

Goofs

The fire truck that appeared at the end of the car explosion was not originally supposed to appear. Due to a permit still not filed, the fire department was unaware and proceeded to appear unannounced. See more »

Quotes

Beetle: Like you gonna have to kinda lay out, stretch out a little while, be real cool. Kinda lay dead. Ol' Beetle'll let you know what's happenin', what's goin' down. You don't have to worry about nothin'. If you need anything, anything at all, brother, just keep the faith in Beetle, ol' Beetle goin' to bring you through, cause this is just a skirmish. You know how the game goes, baby. But you keep the faith in me and you my man. You my favorite man. Can you dig it, baby? Together, you know, maintain....
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the movie a "warning" for the white community appears: "Watch out - a baad assss nigger is coming to collect some dues." See more »

Alternate Versions

The Region 2 DVD release from BFI Video has the opening sex sequences removed. A notice at the beginning of the DVD explains that the scenes were censored "in order to comply with UK law (the Protection of Children Act 1978)," which is ironic because the sex scene with Mario Van Peebles was faked, as stated in the film Baadasssss! (aka "Baadasssss!"). See more »

Connections

Featured in Baadasssss Cinema (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Sweetback Losing His Cherry
Written by Melvin Van Peebles
Performed by Melvin Van Peebles featuring Earth Wind & Fire
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The one that started it all ...
22 January 1999 | by Mr PantsSee all my reviews

You can say what you want about "blaxploitation" films. If nothing else, they can be a lot of fun in their overt use of black stereotypes and semi-predictable storylines. Since their construction is so obvious, it is not the same as the way blacks were portrayed in a film like "Birth of a Nation." Melvin Van Peebles put this thing together by himself (with a little monetary help from Bill Cosby), and while the technical quality is not exactly Hollywood, neither is the content. It is difficult to imagine what it must have been like to have been in the audiences for this film's premiere, as a strong black character emerges to defend his existence against the Racist State. The film uttered what nearly everybody has thought, and seeing it on the screen must have been a truly shocking experience. Perhaps even cathartic, but that may be pushing it. I don't know. I wasn't there.

Maybe it's a good sign that viewing such films today lends itself more to camp fun than any possible serious interpretation; it is a sign that we have moved on, at least a little bit.


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