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The Murder of Fred Hampton (1971)

Not Rated  |   |  Documentary, Biography, Crime  |  May 1971 (USA)
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 144 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 11 critic

Fred Hampton was the leader of the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party. This film depicts his brutal murder by the Chicago police and its subsequent investigation, but also ... See full summary »

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This documentary tells the rise and fall of the Black Panther Party, one of the 20th century's most alluring and controversial organizations that captivated the world's attention for nearly 50 years.

Director: Stanley Nelson
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Cast

Credited cast:
Rennie Davis ...
Himself (archive footage)
Fred Hampton ...
Himself (archive footage)
Edward Hanrahan ...
Himself (Illinois State's Attorney) (archive footage)
Don Matuson ...
Attorney in trial re-creation
Bobby Rush ...
Himself (archive footage)
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Storyline

Fred Hampton was the leader of the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party. This film depicts his brutal murder by the Chicago police and its subsequent investigation, but also documents his activities in organizing the Chapter, his public speeches, and the programs he founded for children during the last eighteen months of his life. Written by Harvard Film Archive / submitted by Max Schaefer <mms@pobox.com>

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Not Rated
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May 1971 (USA)  »

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Hampton  »

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1.33 : 1
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Historically important
4 January 2014 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

This documentary can be split into two parts. The first half is a biography of Fred Hampton, a civil rights pioneer, community organizer, and Black Panther member. The second half is a stunning work of investigative journalism that provides clear evidence that Hampton was assassinated by the Chicago police.

Hampton was called a dangerous revolutionary, but his message was nothing more revolutionary than social justice and equality. While there is certainly a revolutionary aspect to that, it is not the angry and violent rhetoric with which the state wanted to tar him. So they simply assassinated him and concocted a story that portrayed him how they wanted him -- dangerously violent. The facts of the case just don't fit that narrative, however.

Hampton's story is not well known. That makes this film even more important. It is extremely dangerous to think that state-sanctioned political assassinations could not happen or do not happen in the United States. Hampton's death is tragic enough without us learning nothing from it. Fascism can rise anywhere, and it can be as petty as racist cops working for a corrupt city government or as insidious as a federal agency that engages in black ops against its own citizens.


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