Nothing But a Man (1964)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  19 September 1964 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 866 users   Metascore: 87/100
Reviews: 25 user | 23 critic | 4 from

A proud black man and his school-teacher wife face discriminatory challenges in 1960s America.



, (as Robert Young)
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3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Duff Anderson
Abbey Lincoln ...
Will Anderson
Martin Priest ...
Mill Worker
Leonard Parker ...
Stanley Greene ...
Rev. Dawson
Helen Lounck ...
Effie Simms
Helene Arrindell ...
Walter Wilson ...
Car Owner
Milton Williams ...
Riddick (as Melvin Stewart)
Marshal Tompkin ...
Revivalist (as Rev. Marshal Tompkin)
Alfred Puryear ...


Born in Birmingham, Duff Anderson, the father of a male toddler, who lives with a nanny, re-locates to a small town to work on the railroad. He meets with and is attracted to Josie much to the chagrin of her preacher father. The marriage does take place nevertheless, both re-locate to live in their own house and he gets a job in a mill. He decides not to bring his son to live with them. Challenges arise when the Mill Foreman finds out that Duff is attempting to unionize the workers, forcing Duff to quit, and look for work elsewhere. Unable to reconcile himself to working on a daily wage of $2.50 picking cotton nor even as a waiter, he gets a job at a garage. He is enraged at a customer for belittling him and Josie, and is let go. Unemployed, unable to support his wife and son, he gets abusive and leaves - perhaps never to return. Written by rAjOo (

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

father | 1960s | worker | town | railroad | See All (78) »


Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

19 September 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Nichts als ein Mensch  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$160,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$3,466 (USA) (9 November 2012)


$12,438 (USA) (23 August 2013)

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

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Did You Know?


Sidney Poitier turned down the role of Duff Anderson. See more »


Featured in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #2.21 (2011) See more »


Written by Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland and Eddie Holland
Performed by Martha & The Vandellas
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User Reviews

One of the greatest films about African-Americans ever made. ***Spoilers***
26 May 2000 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

This film is probably one of the top five greatest films about African-Americans ever made. I picked up the film at blockbuster and gave it a chance, seeing that the film was rated as one of the best black films ever made. Me wanting to be the judge of this, I took the film home, watched it, became overwhelmed with intrigue, and was emotionally moved by the subtle ending. This film reminds me of the problem that heavily exists in the black community today. Ivan Dixon's performance wasn't over done, making his portrayal of Duff one of the most memorable I had ever seen. The writing was extraordinary, hitting viewers with one fabulous scene after another. The film never dragged and I was equally impressed with the actress who played the preacher's daughter. The writers were able to make me empathize with all the characters, and Duff was written with a certain complexity seen in few other films about African-Americans. The cinematography caught my attention as well with almost every frame featuring enormous composition. The thing that most gratified me about the film is the fact that it is about redemption, showing our main character making certain sacrifices to live a normal and moral life in the end. It shows hope in a world that tends to be hopeless most of the time. And when Duff comes back to his wife and holds her in his arms, which symbolizes his regrets and his self-redemption, I felt like going out and embrace all my sisters who are left to care for their children by themselves. I gave this film a 10 and out of a grade from A+ to a F, I give it an A+. I strongly recommend this film, especially to other African-American filmmakers who plan on sugarcoating the black experience in America. This film told the truth and didn't hold back with fears of stereotyping. I said it once and I'll say it again, "Nothing But a Man" is one of the greatest black films ever made in the world...

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