7.2/10
427
7 user 9 critic

Once Upon a Time... When We Were Colored (1995)

A narrator tells the story of his childhood years in a tightly knit Afro-American community in the deep south under racial segregation.

Director:

Writers:

(book), (screenplay)
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On Disc

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2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Poppa
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Ma Ponk
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Uncle Melvin
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Ma Pearl
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Miss Alice (as Salli Richardson)
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Miss Annie
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Mr. Walter
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Preacher Hurn
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Cliff (12 Yrs.) (as Willis Norwood Jr.)
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Mary
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Cliff at 16
Iona Morris ...
Nila Fontaine
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Sammy (19 Yrs.) / Narrator
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Mr. Will
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Miss Maybry
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Storyline

This film relates the story of a tightly connected Afro-American community informally called Colored Town where the inhabitants live and depend on each other in a world where racist oppression is everywhere, as told by a boy called Cliff who spent his childhood there. Despite this, we see the life of the community in all its joys and sorrows, of those that live there while others decide to leave for a better life north. For those remaining, things come to a serious situation when one prominent businessman is being muscled out by a white competitor using racist intimidation. In response, the community must make the decision of whether to submit meekly like they always have, or finally fight for their rights. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@execulink.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements including mild violence, language, and sensuality | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 January 1996 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Gross:

$3,375,000 (USA)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Isaac Hayes (Preacher Hurn) and Richard Roundtree (Uncle Cleve) were both noted for their work on the "Shaft" films; Roundtree portraying the titular character and Hayes writing and recording the infamous theme song. The song included the popular catch phrase "Shut yo' mouth!" Hayes used this name line in character when Melvin was exclaiming to the older group of gentlemen all the benefits of living up North, he stated that Colored men even drive buses. I disbelief, Preacher Hurn interjected "Shut yo' mouth!" See more »

Quotes

Pappa: We got peace with the white man as long as we do what he says.
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Soundtracks

Maybe Tomorrow
Written and Performed by Lionel Cole
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User Reviews

 
Upon a time
29 March 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I kept waiting for the bad moments to happen, as so often they do in these reminiscent movies of growing up in the south, yet no real drama occurred. These were moments pieced together, and if that was the intent--it worked. True, a child's reflection of childhood would be pieces of memory chained loosely together, impressions of events, people, and times. However, when the movie ended I thought, "That's it?" There were fine performances; however, the plot seemed to soft-step around the real issues, such as the Jim Crow laws, segregated schooling, subservient wages, and escaping to the north to avoid the subjugation. We got breadth, when depth might have made a much more interesting plot line.


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