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Sympathy for the Devil (1968)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Music | 22 April 1969 (USA)
While The Rolling Stones rehearse "Sympathy for the Devil" in the studio, Godard reflects on 1968 society, politics and culture through five different vignettes.


Jean-Luc Godard


Jean-Luc Godard




Cast overview, first billed only:
Sean Lynch ... Commentary (voice)
Mick Jagger ... Self - The Rolling Stones
Brian Jones ... Self - The Rolling Stones
Keith Richards ... Self - The Rolling Stones (as Keith Richard)
Charlie Watts ... Self - The Rolling Stones
Bill Wyman ... Self - The Rolling Stones
Anne Wiazemsky ... Eve Democracy
Iain Quarrier ... Fascist porno book seller
Frankie Dymon Frankie Dymon ... Black power militant (as Frankie Dymon Jnr.)
Danny Daniels ... Black power militant
Ilario Bisi-Pedro Ilario Bisi-Pedro
Roy Stewart ... Black power militant
Linbert Spencer Linbert Spencer
Tommy Ansah Tommy Ansah ... Black power militant (as Tommy Ansar)
Michael McKay Michael McKay


Godard's documentation of late 1960s Western counter-culture, examining the Black Panthers, referring to works by LeRoi Jones and Eldridge Cleaver. Other notable subjects are the role of news media, the mediated image, a growing technocratic society, women's liberation, the May revolt in France and the power of language. Cutting between three major scenes, including the Rolling Stones in the studio, the film is visually intercut with Eve Democracy (Wiazemsky) using graffiti which amalgamates organisations, corporations and ideologies. Godard also examines the role of the revolutionary within Western culture. Although he believes Western culture needs to be destroyed, it can only be done so by the rejection of intellectualisation. "There is only one way to be an intellectual revolutionary, and that is to give up being an intellectual" Written by <gary.elshaw@vuw.ac.nz>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Jean-Luc Godard on Black Power, Rape, Murder, Fascism, Acid, Pornography, Sex, Revolution, Brutality and all the other things that make life worth living. See more »


Documentary | Music


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The names painted on the cars in wrecker's yard are the names of noted black political activists of the 1960s and earlier. "Malcolm X" refers to Malcolm X (born Malcolm Little) a black American Muslim minister and politician. :"Patrice" refers to Patrice Lumumba, an independence leader in the Belgian Congo and the first elected Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo after its independence from Belgium in 1960. "Michel X" refers to Michael X, a black revolutionary and civil rights activist in London in the 1960s. "Amilcar" refers to Amilcar Lopes da Costa Cabral (aka Amilcar Cabral), a thinker and politician, who was significantly involved in the push for independence for Portuguese Guinea (Guinea-Bissau) and Cape Verde. "Stokely" refers to Stokely Carmichael, a black activist involved in the Civil Rights movement in the SUA. He is credited with inventing the term, Black Power. See more »

Alternate Versions

Jean-Luc Godard's original director's cut (titled "One Plus One") runs approximately 110 minutes and consists largely of additional footage of the black power militants. The film's producers were dissatisfied with this cut and deleted 11 minutes, changed the title to "Sympathy for the Devil" to underscore the Stones connection, and added the final version of the title song to the film's soundtrack, over a freeze-frame of the last shot. These changes were all made without Godard's knowledge; when he finally saw them at the film's London Film Festival premiere, he allgedly went berserk and physically attacked one of the producers. See more »

User Reviews

For true fans only
6 March 2000 | by chrissiburnSee all my reviews

This film is for true Rolling Stones or Godard fans only. If you are neither of the above you will probably have trouble sitting through the whole movie. Godard's political ramble becomes tedious at times, but watching the development of the Stones' song is priceless. Seeing the song come together as a blistering whirlwind is reward enough for repressing the urge to fast-forward through the rest of the film.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

22 April 1969 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

One Plus One See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Cupid Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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