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Mandingo (1975)

 -  Action | Romance  -  25 July 1975 (USA)
6.1
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 2,049 users  
Reviews: 58 user | 42 critic

A slave owner in the 1840s trains one of his slaves to be a bare-knuckle fighter.

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(novel), (play), 1 more credit »
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Title: Mandingo (1975)

Mandingo (1975) on IMDb 6.1/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Richard Ward ...
Brenda Sykes ...
...
Lillian Hayman ...
Roy Poole ...
Ji-Tu Cumbuka ...
...
...
Charles
Ray Spruell ...
Wallace
Louis Turenne ...
De Veve
Duane Allen ...
Topaz
Earl Maynard ...
Babouin
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Storyline

Slave owner Warren Maxwell insists that his son, Hammond, who is busy bedding the slaves he buys, marry a white woman and father him a son. While in New Orleans, he picks up a wife, Blanche, a "bed wench," Ellen, and a Mandingo slave, Mede, whom he trains to be a bare-knuckle fighting champion. Angered that Hammond is spending too much time with his slaves, Blanche beds down Mede. Written by Allen Smithee

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Expect The Savage. The Sensual. The Shocking. The Sad. The Powerful. The Shameful. Expect The Truth.

Genres:

Action | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 July 1975 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mandingo - O Fruto da Vingança  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

James Mason admitted in later interviews that he only made the film to make his alimony payments. See more »

Goofs

During Mede's first fight in the city, he and his opponent are wrestling on the grass. When they roll over the floor, the grass is moving like a slipping carpet would, revealing it to be a sheet of artificial green, probably lying on the floor of a sound stage. See more »

Quotes

Mede: I thought you was better than the white man, Masta. But you is just white!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Bringing Down the House (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Born in This Time
Music by Maurice Jarre
Lyrics by Hi Tide Harris
Sung by Muddy Waters
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Keeps you watching out of sheer curiosity.
7 February 2013 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

It's very easy to see why this film wouldn't sit well with some people, black and white alike. Its vision of an ugly, vile, racist South is pretty hard hitting and memorable. It seems there is no depth to which it won't sink. The critics were plenty vocal about their dislike, while in actuality the film became an unlikely box office success. Nowadays it's seen by some as a camp classic, which is understandable given how theatrical it gets. It's essentially a period soap opera that happens to wallow in a lot of trash - there's violence, sex, and nudity, both male and female. It's based on a novel, by Kyle Onstott, and a subsequent play, by Jack Kirkland. The hilariously cast James Mason drawls his way through the role of a bigoted plantation patriarch in 1840s Louisiana, with Perry King playing his son. Among the story threads are the hideous envy that Kings' lowly wife (an over the top Susan George) shows towards the "wench" (Brenda Sykes), whom King is rather sweet on, and Kings' acquisition of a slave (the appropriately cast Ken Norton) whom he hopes will achieve tremendous success as a fighter. It's simply a hoot to see this cast - also including Richard Ward, Lillian Hayman, Roy Poole, Ji-Tu Cumbuka, Paul Benedict, and Ben Masters - sink their teeth into this melodramatic material, given unflinching and straightforward filming by Richard Fleischer and shot by Richard H. Kline with an accent on the unglamourous. Maurice Jarres' score is extremely flavourful and adding to the appeal of the soundtrack is the presence of the great Muddy Waters, singing "Born in This Time". The pacing is very unhurried, allowing us to really feel the discomfort of such scenes as slaves being stripped naked and whipped on the behind, or the sight of Mason resting his legs on a young slave boy hoping that the kid will absorb the rheumatism out of his body. One thing is for sure, and that's that "Mandingo" is the kind of experience you don't soon forget. One way or another, it affects you, and if anything it deserves some respect for not whitewashing the attitude of the times, revealing every sordid aspect of slavery and also giving its victimized characters a measure of dignity, and hope, in the face of total domination. The actors certainly play this for all that it's worth; Norton, in the central role, may not possess much in the way of acting chops, but he still has a quietly powerful physical presence. All in all, audiences should find it...interesting, to say the least. Followed a year later by another Onstott adaptation, "Drum". Eight out of 10.


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