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Searching for Sugar Man (2012)

PG-13  |   |  Documentary, Biography, Music  |  26 July 2012 (UK)
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 44,649 users   Metascore: 79/100
Reviews: 134 user | 254 critic | 32 from

Two South Africans set out to discover what happened to their unlikely musical hero, the mysterious 1970s rock 'n' roller, Rodriguez.


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Won 1 Oscar. Another 42 wins & 26 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Stephen 'Sugar' Segerman ...
Himself - Record Shop Owner
Dennis Coffey ...
Himself - Co-Producer, Cold Fact 1970
Mike Theodore ...
Himself - Co-Producer, Cold Fact 1970
Dan DiMaggio ...
Himself - Bartender, The Brewery
Jerome Ferretti ...
Himself - Bricklayer
Steve Rowland ...
Himself - Producer, Coming from Reality 1971
Willem Möller ...
Himself - Musician
Craig Bartholomew Strydom ...
Himself - Music Journalist (as Craig Bartholomew-Strydom)
Ilse Assmann ...
Herself - Former Apartheid Archivist
Steve M. Harris ...
Himself - Teal Trutone
Robbie Mann ...
Himself - RPM Records
Himself - Former Chairman of Motown Records
Eva Rodriguez ...
Herself - Rodriguez's Eldest Daughter
Himself (as Sixto Rodriguez)
Regan Rodriguez ...
Herself - Rodriguez's Youngest Daughter


In the early 1970s, Sixto Rodriguez was a Detroit folksinger who had a short-lived recording career with only two well received but non-selling albums. Unknown to Rodriguez, his musical story continued in South Africa where he became a pop music icon and inspiration for generations. Long rumored there to be dead by suicide, a few fans in the 1990s decided to seek out the truth of their hero's fate. What follows is a bizarrely heartening story in which they found far more in their quest than they ever hoped, while a Detroit construction laborer discovered that his lost artistic dreams came true after all. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and some drug references | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| |


Release Date:

26 July 2012 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Sugar Man  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$27,459 (USA) (27 July 2012)


$3,695,904 (USA) (16 August 2013)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Some parts of the documentary were shot on an iPhone App called 8mm Vintage Camera after the producers ran out of film for an expensive real 8mm camera. The app cost only £1.49/$1.99. Director Malik Bendjelloul was cash strapped from making the documentary before his suicide. See more »


During the credits there is a spelling error - It says "Mabu Vinly" instead of "Mabu Vinyl" See more »


Rodriguez: Thanks for keeping me alive!
See more »


Featured in The Oscars (2013) See more »


Written by Rodriguez (as Sixto Rodriguez)
Courtesy of Hey Day Entertainment, LLC by arrangement
with Light in the Attic Records & Distribution, LLC
See more »

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User Reviews

Searching for Sugar Man
29 July 2012 | by (Cairo, Egypt) – See all my reviews

A KVIFF viewing of this demystifying documentary of a miracle would never find a copycat in the digital-era, Rodriguez "The Sugar Man", an American minstrel in the 1970s who has sold a sensational figure of records in South Africa while being exclusively oblivious in USA, and when rumor says he died in a suicide attempt while performing it on stage, the story seems to reach its cul-de-sac. But two South Africans, take the onerous task to dig out the mystery behind (including the director himself), and eventually the truth has been disclosed in a quite satisfying way both on screen and off screen.

First of all, Rodriguez's songs (from his albums COLD FACT 1970, COMING FROM REALITY 1971, and a piece from his never-released third album) have prevailed in the entire film's narrative, which after a first-time listening, feels more affinity with Bob Dylan's Folk Rock tunes, most of which pertain to lower-class or working-class self-inspection, definitely have their own mark of time.

The poignancy has been simmered halfway through when the story has a dramatic twist and leads to the second half of the film into a different angle of revelation, an enigmatic fetish figure's condescendence into the real world. And a poetic license has to be introduced to his personal life as de-iconization is always a tough call to make.

Then, about what prompted Rodriguez's case so unique? The film seems to be a bit withdrawn in unraveling the real reason behind it (a deliberate conspiracy theory is never in the picture), indeed, even there were merely 40 years before, we already have forgotten how things stand at then, and this could be a scarier discovery.

By the way, the film has a very audience-friendly approach, and if you are a music enthusiast, this film will be a delectable choice to be enchanted by the pure magic of music.

15 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
A work of fiction? s0apbox
RIP Malik savager_
Good subject, bad documentarians? tpupkin
Am I the only one who thought.... jb2-8
No Mention Of Australia deadskinmask-2
Rodriguez's daughters are shown but no mention of his wife...?!?! Bob Pr.
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