5.5/10
3,500
52 user 38 critic

Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971)

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:

Reviews

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Shaft (1971)
Action | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Cool black private eye John Shaft is hired by a crime lord to find and retrieve his kidnapped daughter.

Director: Gordon Parks
Stars: Richard Roundtree, Moses Gunn, Charles Cioffi
Super Fly (1972)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

The daily routine of cocaine dealer Priest who wants to score one more super deal and retire.

Director: Gordon Parks Jr.
Stars: Ron O'Neal, Carl Lee, Sheila Frazier
Baadasssss! (2003)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Mario Van Peebles' half-documentary/half-homage to his father Melvin Van Peebles' movie Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971).

Director: Mario Van Peebles
Stars: Mario Van Peebles, Nia Long, Joy Bryant
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

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
Black Caesar (1973)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Tommy Gibbs is a tough kid, raised in the ghetto, who aspires to be a kingpin criminal. As a young boy, his leg is broken by a bad cop on the take, during a payoff gone bad. Nursing his ... See full summary »

Director: Larry Cohen
Stars: Fred Williamson, Gloria Hendry, Art Lund
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A short film documenting the seas and shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

Directors: Jean-Daniel Pollet, Volker Schlöndorff
Crime | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Wishing to become a successful Reggae singer, a young Jamaican man finds himself tied to corrupt record producers and drug pushers.

Director: Perry Henzell
Stars: Jimmy Cliff, Janet Bartley, Carl Bradshaw
Comedy | Crime | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Notorious Baltimore criminal and underground figure Divine goes up against a sleazy married couple who make a passionate attempt to humiliate her and seize her tabloid-given title as "The Filthiest Person Alive".

Director: John Waters
Stars: Divine, David Lochary, Mary Vivian Pearce
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A story of two men drag-racing across the U.S. in a primer grey '55 Chevy. Dennis Wilson is the mechanic, James Taylor is the driver.

Director: Monte Hellman
Stars: James Taylor, Warren Oates, Laurie Bird
Coffy (1973)
Action | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A black nurse takes vigilante justice against inner-city drug dealers after her sister becomes their latest victim.

Director: Jack Hill
Stars: Pam Grier, Booker Bradshaw, Robert DoQui
Short | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

An army of gay/nazi bikers make their engines roar and ride the way to pain/pleasure as sexual and sadistic symbols are intercut into the dazing chaos and rhythmic experiences of this ... See full summary »

Director: Kenneth Anger
Stars: Ernie Allo, Bruce Byron, Frank Carifi
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Shaft is back to find the murderer of an old friend on the cold hard city streets with a little help from his new friends.

Director: Gordon Parks
Stars: Richard Roundtree, Moses Gunn, Drew Bundini Brown
Edit

Cast

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

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:

Dedicated to all the Brothers and Sisters who have had enough of the Man See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 March 1973 (Netherlands)  »

Also Known As:

Sweet Sweetback  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$500,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$15,180,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Melvin Van Peebles contracted gonorrhea from one of the actresses during filming of one of the sex scenes in the movie. He applied for compensation from the Directors Guild because he "got hurt on the job" and used the money to buy more film. 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

Starring The Black Community See more »

Connections

Referenced in A Decade Under the Influence (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Hoppin John
Written by Melvin Van Peebles
Performed by Melvin Van Peebles featuring Earth Wind & Fire
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Deserved its X rating
28 March 2004 | by (Olympia, Washington) – See all my reviews

SWEET SWEETBACK'S BAAD ASSSSS SONG has a reputation as a landmark film. Some hail it a masterpiece for depicting whites, and "The Man" as the oppressor. It is also called the first blaxploitation film (even though COTTON COMES TO HARLEM predates it). In spite of this reputation, few have actually seen it.

The truth is that SWEET SWEETBACK'S BAAD ASSSSS SONG, in spite of the good intentions of its message, is poorly made pornographic trash. At the opening of the film we see an under-aged Sweetback have sex with a fat prostitute- and when I say we see it, I mean we SEE it. Not too much time goes by before we see grown up Sweetback (director Melvin Van Peebles) performing in a live sex show. The viewer is treated to a closeup of the star's member as he strips off a female disguise. Soon thereafter the "plot" starts. Our hero is arrested by the Oakland police. He witnesses them beating a young black man and kills them in his defense. The rest of the film is Sweetback running from the racist cops, sometimes stopping for graphic sex.

The photography in this film is terrible. A number of scenes are shot at night without lighting, basically making the action invisible. There is very little dialogue and Sweetback almost never speaks. When people are talking, they are badly miked and their acting doesn't help matters. The chase scenes are done in psychedelic montage which is both ugly and confusing. There are a number of scenes where the cops are asking members of the black community (the film's real star) as to the whereabouts of Sweetback. These are taken from the cops POV and from how it looks, the filmmakers just approached random people on the street and asked them if they'd seen Sweetback. The editor somehow managed to cut off most of their answers. It's hard to tell what's going on half the time, since the camera work is so bad and the dialogue so hard to hear. At one point Sweetback winds up with some bikers. What's he do? He has a kind of sex-match with one of the female bikers. This scene features enough clumsy disolves to make you dizzy and enough genital shots to get the X rating for any ten movies.

I can't tell why this mess is called such a great piece of work. It fails in every technical aspect, the "art" is bad even for an acid-head movie, and the story is nothing special. If anything, this movie hurts the cause of equality since it essentially depicts blacks as inhuman sex-addicted stereotypes. The whites are pretty much shown as monsters. This is the worst blaxploitation film I've ever seen and easily one of the hundred worst movies ever made. SWEET SWEETBACK'S BAAD ASSSSS SONG is no more than badly made violent pornography for the acid head. It's not a classic and it's not important.


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

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?