Biographical epic of the controversial and influential Black Nationalist leader, from his early life and career as a small-time gangster, to his ministry as a member of the Nation of Islam and his assassination.
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Biograpical epic of Malcolm X, the legendary African American leader. Born Malcolm Little, his father (a Garveyite Baptist minister) was killed by the Ku Klux Klan. Malcolm became a gangster, and while in jail discovered the Nation of Islam writings of Elijah Muhammad. He preaches the teachings when let out of jail, but later on goes on a pilgrimage to the city of Mecca, there he converts to the original Islamic religion and becomes a Sunni Muslim and changes his name to El-Hajj Malik Al-Shabazz. He is assassinated on February 21, 1965 and dies a Muslim martyr. Written by
In the scene at the end of the film where Nelson Mandela addresses the classroom of South African, he is quoting a speech of Malcolm X's directly. However, he refused to repeat the last four words of Malcolm's speech "by any means necessary", so Spike Lee instead inserted black and white footage of Malcolm saying it himself. The line originated in Jean-Paul Sartre's play 'Les Mains Sales' ("Dirty Hands"). See more »
When "West Indian Archie" buys Malcolm a double in the bar, a neon sign has a modern Miller beer logo (visible in the mirror behind the bar). See more »
In the name of Allah the merciful, all praises due to Allah, Lord of all the worlds. The one God to whom praise is due forever. The one who came to us in the person of Master Fard Muhammad and raised up the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Amen.
How do you feel?
Who do we want to hear?
Are we gonna bring him on? Yes, we gonna bring him on. Well let us hear from our minister, Minister Malcolm X. Let us bring him on with a round of ...
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There is a seperate special thanks after the normal one that says: "Thank Allah for Bill Cosby, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Oprah Winfrey, Tracy Chapman, Prince, Janet Jackson, and Peggy Cooper-Carfritz." This is because they aided Spike Lee in raising money to finish the film when the production ran into financial trouble. See more »
Washington carried the film with a great performance worthy of an Oscar nomination if not a win which might have been guaranteed had the director managed to focus.
Spike Lee did a good job as director which is saying a lot, given the historical scope, danger of offense, and controversy of the project. His one weak area in this film was editing. There is no reason this movie couldn't have been half an hour shorter. Right off the bat, there were unnecessarily lingering camera shots and scenes that could have omitted. Off the top of my head, I'm thinking of Spike himself sliding under a woman's skirt and mugging the camera. That scene not only failed to further the story but instead made the audience stand up and say, "Hey, that's Spike looking at us!" Lee's biggest editing mistake was based on his desire to tell the story of Malcolm X AND tell the story of the African-American experience. That's more than enough for several movies so why cram it all under one title? After a clear scene illustrating X's life, Lee would move to a large dance hall to illustrate the richness of the African-American experience. A quick shot of the dance hall would have been sufficient. Instead the far away shots were maintained for too long and when the focus moved back to specific characters it moved to the character played by Lee himself. Why? I don't know. It certainly didn't help us to understand X any better. The ending with children saying "I am Malcolm X" also went on too long and should have been part of a separate feature. The cameos were distracting. The movie could have been tighter, shorter, and better except that Spike Lee wanted to put everything, including the kitchen sink, into it.
That being said, it is a great movie and I'm glad I invested the three and a half hours to watch it.
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