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 »


1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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


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


HOOKER! FUZZ! JUNK! RUMBLE! These are words that mean big trouble in... See more »


Crime | Drama





Release Date:

27 February 1965 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Die lässige Welt  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


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

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

The real deal...raw and uncut
17 December 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In the early '70's, at age 12 I was sleepily channel surfing late at night, (past my bedtime at a friend's house) looking for monster movies. I believe I was watching Channel 2, (KTVU Oakland, California's then independent now Fox-affiliated TV station) when I was riveted awake by the most amazing film. For years I looked for it, telling anyone who would listen about how real it seemed. How compelling it was. I never found anyone else who had seen it, let alone a theater showing it, a video or a DVD of it. One of the reasons I came to IMDb was to at last find confirmation of The Cool World's existence (not the Ralph Bakshi cartoon). I found some lobby cards at a collector's fair and bought them. Hope was awakened in me in the early '90's when I heard of a special showing at the Roxie Cinema. The print was on loan from Shirley Clarke as it was so rare. The day came and I arrived at the cinema and the print didn't appear due to a shipping snafu. By now I was losing hope. When I first wrote this I hadn't seen it again. Recently, I saw it at last. It is an amazing cultural document of 1960's Harlem.

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