7.4/10
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46 user 74 critic

Baadasssss! (2003)

How to Get the Man's Foot Outta Your Ass (original title)
Mario Van Peebles' half-documentary/half-homage to his father Melvin Van Peebles' movie Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971).

Director:

Writers:

(book), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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4 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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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.

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Stars: Mario Van Peebles, Lesley Ann Warren, Donovan Leitch Jr.
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Priscilla
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Big T
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Granddad
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Clyde Houston
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Sandra
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Jose Garcia
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Howard 'Howie' Kaufman
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Jerry
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Mario
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Bill Harris
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Ginnie
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Manny & Mort Goldberg
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Roz
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Storyline

Melvin Van Peebles stunned the world for the first time, with his debut feature, The Story of a Three Day Pass. Filmed in France and selected as the French entry in the San Francisco Film Festival, Melvin's film was awarded the top prize. Saying it was controversial would be an understatement. In 1968 for a black man to walk up to the podium and accept the top festival award for a film he had to go abroad to make--now that's how you make your mark. After his comedy, Watermelon Man, Melvin was determined to push the Hollywood boundaries with the groundbreaking, and even more controversial, Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song. Turned down by every major studio including Columbia, where he had a three-picture deal, Melvin was forced to basically self-finance. Risking everything he had Melvin delivered to the world the first Black Ghetto hero on the big screen--whether they were ready or not! More than 30 years later, history is being fashioned again in the telling of this very tale. Mario ... Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A father. A son. A revolution.

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language and some strong sexuality/nudity | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Language:

Release Date:

17 March 2005 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Baadasssss!  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$60,432 (USA) (28 May 2004)

Gross:

$365,248 (USA) (27 August 2004)
 »

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

Troy Garity appears uncredited as the singer Donovan. See more »

Goofs

Forty-seven minutes into the film, Van Peebles hands his lead actress a few fifties to be in his film and they are the new $50 bills. See more »

Quotes

Melvin Van Peebles: Is this something negative, Priscilla? Because if it's negative, I can't even deal with it right now. I'm a broke, pissed off nigger from Chicago, and I'm down to my last cigar.
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Crazy Credits

Real-life participants of the production of "Sweet Sweetback's..." give testimony during the closing credits, including Earth, Wind & Fire founding member Maurice White, who confirmed the "bounced check" story. Melvin Van Peebles himself appears onscreen when the credits finish. See more »

Connections

Featured in Siskel & Ebert: The Best of 2004 (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Groove Me
Performed by King Floyd
Malaco Publishing
Written by King Floyd
By Arrangement with Position Soundtrack Services
Courtesy of Malaco Records
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User Reviews

A Son's love for his Father
26 September 2004 | by (Bookseller of the Blue Ridge) – See all my reviews

Ever wonder what it would be like to make your own film without a studio to support you and no money in the bank to fund it. Well, thankfully Mario Van Peebles' father forged ahead in the 70s with a dream and passion like no other. While Hollywood was content with making pictures that negatively depicted African Americans, Melvin Van Peebles decided to break this cultural norm and change the face of cinema.

With no budget, money from friends and drug dealers, and a non-union crew, Melvin created the impossible. He grabbed a hold of an idea and let nothing get in the way from accomplishing it. Melvin had a dream of making an African American the center of the film, one that took no sass from anyone and criticized the modern white Government. While big studios backed away from this project, Melvin jumped forward made Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song. There were trial and tribulations to get it done, but thanks to a very surprising source the film became a success. It was the first independent film to become the number one film in America.

Similar to the passion seen in Melvin's eyes when he is making his low-budget film, Mario portrays that exact same involvement when making this low-budget film. What I loved about this film is that there is so much raw, unbridled emotion behind Mario's eyes that you can tell that he 1) loves his Dad and 2) wanted to show America the truth behind this innovator's life. This is Mario's past, and he superbly reenacts it on screen. He carries this film, showing us the many facets of his father. He shows the angry American, the independent talent, the powerful leader, and even the emotional parent. Through all of this Mario continues to keep this film focused and interesting. We cannot keep our eyes off his portrayal of his father. I would not be surprised if he is nominated for an Oscar this year.

Finally, this is a very powerful film that speaks about a side of Hollywood that is less known. It shows how the boundaries of racism can be broken with imagination and persistence. It shows that 'all men are created equal' and that if you have a dream you should pursue it. If you are in the process of making your own film and need a movie that will inspire and motivate, this would be the film to watch. From the moment I put this film in my DVD player, I was glued. What a powerful story coupled with interesting actors (Adam West and Sally Struthers) and told with a very realistic voice.

I highly recommend this film.

Grade: **** out of *****


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