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
Soon after Spike Lee was announced as director and before its release, the film received criticism by black nationalists and members of the United Front to Preserve the Legacy of Malcolm X, headed by poet and playwright Amiri Baraka, who were worried about how Lee would portray Malcolm X. One protest in Harlem drew over two hundred people. Some based their opinion on dislike of Lee's previous films; others were concerned that he would focus on Malcolm X's life before he converted to Islam. Baraka bluntly accused Spike Lee of being a "Buppie," stating, "We will not let Malcolm X's life be trashed to make middle-class Negroes sleep easier," compelling others to write the director and warn him "not to mess up Malcolm's life." Some, including Lee himself, noted the irony that many of the arguments they made against him mirrored those made against Norman Jewison. See more »
The phone Malcolm uses in his hotel room appears to be the correct vintage, except for the modular plug connecting the handset to the base. 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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The credits feature many prominent African-American entertainers (Bill Cosby and Janet Jackson among others) wearing X-Caps and using their arms to make the "X" symbol. See more »
I was only familiar with the history and influence of Malcolm X before I saw the film so I can't really judge it's faithfulness or accuracy. But as a film, I thought it was great. I really like Spike Lee; he keeps things fast-paced and interesting with his camera angles and colours/lighting. For awhile after Malcolm first begins his activism with the nation of Islam, you find yourself conflicted, both respecting the man and often disagreeing with him. Lee handles it well without condemning or supporting really, just showing Malcolm's gradual transition in his beliefs. The inserted documentary footage, especially at the end, shows how Malcolm's words still relate today. Someone commented that they only watched an hour of the movie and Lee doesn't know how to tell a story but maybe if they would be slightly more open-minded, realize it's not a literal adaptation of the autobiography, and actually finish the film, they could understand that Lee does not just want to tell the story of one man but rather wants it to reflect the struggle of a race. I really enjoyed the film; it was long but never slow and definitely worth watching.
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