Filmmaker Shirley Clarke ("The Connection") directs this powerful, stark semi-documentary look at the horrors of Harlem ghetto slum life filled with drugs, violence, human misery, and a ... See full summary »

Director:

Reviews
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A director tries to film a group of junkies in Leach's room while they are waiting for Cowboy to bring their heroin connection.

Director: Shirley Clarke
Stars: Warren Finnerty, Garry Goodrow, Jerome Raphael
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The highlights of a 12-hour interview with Aaron Payne, alias Jason Holliday, a former houseboy, would-be cabaret performer, and self-proclaimed hustler who, while drinking and smoking ... See full summary »

Director: Shirley Clarke
Stars: Jason Holliday, Shirley Clarke, Carl Lee
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A schoolteacher (Miereveld or "field of ants") is entranced by one of his students (Fran). Not being able to have his love fulfilled he tries to escape it and moves house and job. Working ... See full summary »

Director: André Delvaux
Stars: Senne Rouffaer, Beata Tyszkiewicz, Hector Camerlynck
Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

This was the first movie produced in Israel. It deals with the outbreak of hostilities during the war for independence in 1947. The message of this film was the sadness and stupidity of ... See full summary »

Director: Thorold Dickinson
Stars: Edward Mulhare, Haya Harareet, Michael Shillo
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Dah and Jocelyn come from Benin, Africa, to coach their rooster, "S'en fout la mort", for an illicit cock-fight in the basement of a restaurant.

Director: Claire Denis
Stars: Isaach De Bankolé, Alex Descas, Solveig Dommartin
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

After a brutish, hedonistic Marquis marries a pretty young Clarissa to act as a 'brood sow,' he begins an affair with her friend who plots to take her place.

Director: Leslie Arliss
Stars: Margaret Lockwood, James Mason, Phyllis Calvert
Adventure | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Claire Lescot is a famous prima donna. All men want to be loved by her. Among them is the young scientist Einar Norsen. When she mocks at him, he leaves her house with the declared ... See full summary »

Director: Marcel L'Herbier
Stars: Jaque Catelain, Léonid Walter de Malte, Philippe Hériat
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Monique is dying. Around her gather her unfaithful husband, her son, who is like his father, and her daughter-in-law. We observe them playing with life as she dies.

Director: Maurice Pialat
Stars: Nathalie Baye, Hubert Deschamps, Philippe Léotard
Project A 2 (1987)
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Dragon is now transferred to be the police head of Sai Wan district, and has to contend with a gangster kingpin, anti-Manchu revolutionaries, some runaway pirates, Manchu Loyalists and a corrupt police superintendent.

Director: Jackie Chan
Stars: Jackie Chan, Maggie Cheung, Rosamund Kwan
Shoah (1985)
Documentary | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

Claude Lanzmann's epic documentary recounts the story of the Holocaust through interviews with witnesses - perpetrators as well as survivors.

Director: Claude Lanzmann
Stars: Simon Srebnik, Michael Podchlebnik, Motke Zaïdl
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Three women, all strangers to each other, meet in a dress boutique. One of the three is approached by the male proprietor as she is shoplifting a garment. When he approaches her the other ... See full summary »

Director: Marleen Gorris
Stars: Edda Barends, Nelly Frijda, Henriëtte Tol
Blonde Cobra (1963)
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.2/10 X  

A man fondles objects, looks at himself in the mirror, poses in different clothes, smiles and makes faces at the camera while his voice on the soundtrack speaks of his despair, makes ... See full summary »

Director: Ken Jacobs
Stars: Ken Jacobs, Jack Smith
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rony Clanton ...
Duke (as Hampton Clanton)
Carl Lee ...
Priest
Yolanda Rodríguez ...
Luanne
...
Blood (as Clarence Williams)
Gary Bolling ...
Littleman
Bostic Felton ...
Rod
...
Mrs. Custis
John Marriott ...
Hurst
Georgia Burke ...
Grandma
Marilyn Cox ...
Miss Dewpoint
Jerome Raphael ...
Mr. Shapiro
...
Con-man
Joe Dennis ...
Douglas Thurston (as Joseph Dennis)
Ronald Perry ...
Savage
Bruce Edwards ...
Warrior
Edit

Storyline

Filmmaker Shirley Clarke ("The Connection") directs this powerful, stark semi-documentary look at the horrors of Harlem ghetto slum life filled with drugs, violence, human misery, and a sense of despair due to the racial prejudices of American society. There is no patronizing of the black race in this cinematic cry for justice. A fifteen-year-old boy called Duke is ambitious to buy a "piece" (a gun) from an adult racketeer named Priest, to become president of the gang to which he belongs, and to return them to active "bopping" (gang fighting) which has declined in Harlem. It is a clearly patent allegory of an attempt by Duke to attain manhood and identity in the only way accessible to him - the antisocial one. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

These are the ones who play it cool, and find out about life and love before they're in high school ! This is the picture that explodes like a time bomb In the face of a city! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 February 1965 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Die lässige Welt  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

First-ever film credit for legendary documentary director Frederick Wiseman, who served as producer of this non-documentary feature. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The Cool World is a shocking portrait of street life in 1960's America.
16 October 2003 | by (Decatur, Ga) – See all my reviews

"The Cool World", a 1963 independent film directed by Shirley Clarke is probably the most shocking, interesting, and realistic film I have ever seen. The films follows the character of Duke played by Rony Clanton. This film shows how it really was to be an African American teen growing up in urban America (Harlem, N.Y.) in the 1960's. The gun serves as a character in the film itself, for it demonstrates manhood for the character of Duke.

By no means is this film a glorification of street life that is so common today in American pop culture. The viewer will see in this film how ugly crime is especially these characters who are driven to commit crimes because of the desperate, depressed situations of the ghetto. The character of Duke searches throughout this movie for a gun to own as almost a way to arm himself against the failures that surround him daily such as rat infested tenements, garbage filled streets, drugs, pimps, prostitutes, gangs, and over zealous cops.

If John Cassevetes is considered the new phase of film making that occurred in the late 1950's with his superb film "Shadows" then Shirley Clarke is his female counterpart. Shirley Clarke masterfully merges documentary footage and Jazz music to the actual film that creates somewhat of a frightening, haunting, realistic portrait of urban America that I feel has not been seen very much in cinema since "The Cool World". It is interesting to note that actors Clarence Williams III, Antonio Fargas, Gloria Foster, and Peter De Anda who appeared in this film went on to make great strides of achievement in both film and television in the 1970's.

"The Cool World" is shown in many film festivals across the country. Unfortunately it is not on video, but someday I hope it will be for the world to see. I rate this movie **** excellent.


24 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Will it ever be available on video? TerranceCrooms
My Car. Please do tell. mrobbins1925
Discuss The Cool World (1963) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?