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Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971)

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1:02 | Trailer
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.

Director:

Melvin Van Peebles
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Simon Chuckster ... Beetle
Melvin Van Peebles ... Sweetback
Hubert Scales Hubert Scales ... Mu-Mu
John Dullaghan John Dullaghan ... Commissioner
Wesley Gale Wesley Gale ... (as West Gale)
Niva Rochelle Niva Rochelle
Rhetta Hughes Rhetta Hughes ... Old Girl Friend
Nick Ferrari Nick Ferrari
Ed Rue Ed Rue
John Amos ... Biker (as Johnny Amos)
Lavelle Roby
Ted Hayden Ted Hayden
Mario Van Peebles ... Young Sweetback / Kid (as Mario Peebles)
Sonja Dunson Sonja Dunson
Michael Augustus Michael Augustus
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Storyline

Melvin Van Peebles wrote, directed, produced, edited, composed and starred in this powerful and inflammatory attack on White America. After the body of a black man is discovered, Sweetback helps two white 'acquaintances' in the police force to look good by agreeing to go with them to the station as a suspect. But he is forced to go on the run after brutally attacking the two policemen when they arrest and beat up a young black man. Written by David Claydon <dc6212@bristol.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Film that THE MAN doesn't want you to see! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 March 1973 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

Sweet Sweetback See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA

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Box Office

Budget:

$500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$15,180,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Yeah See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Melvin Van Peebles contracted gonorrhea from one of the actresses during filming of one of the sex scenes in the movie. He applied for compensation from the Directors Guild because he "got hurt on the job" and used the money to buy more film. See more »

Goofs

The fire truck that appeared at the end of the car explosion was not originally supposed to appear. Due to a permit still not filed, the fire department was unaware and proceeded to appear unannounced. See more »

Quotes

Beetle: Like you gonna have to kinda lay out, stretch out a little while, be real cool. Kinda lay dead. Ol' Beetle'll let you know what's happenin', what's goin' down. You don't have to worry about nothin'. If you need anything, anything at all, brother, just keep the faith in Beetle, ol' Beetle goin' to bring you through, cause this is just a skirmish. You know how the game goes, baby. But you keep the faith in me and you my man. You my favorite man. Can you dig it, baby? Together, you know, maintain....
See more »

Crazy Credits

Starring The Black Community See more »

Connections

Referenced in Edge of Outside (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Sweetback's Theme
Written by Melvin Van Peebles
Performed by Melvin Van Peebles featuring Earth Wind & Fire
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The one that started it all ...
22 January 1999 | by Mr PantsSee all my reviews

You can say what you want about "blaxploitation" films. If nothing else, they can be a lot of fun in their overt use of black stereotypes and semi-predictable storylines. Since their construction is so obvious, it is not the same as the way blacks were portrayed in a film like "Birth of a Nation." Melvin Van Peebles put this thing together by himself (with a little monetary help from Bill Cosby), and while the technical quality is not exactly Hollywood, neither is the content. It is difficult to imagine what it must have been like to have been in the audiences for this film's premiere, as a strong black character emerges to defend his existence against the Racist State. The film uttered what nearly everybody has thought, and seeing it on the screen must have been a truly shocking experience. Perhaps even cathartic, but that may be pushing it. I don't know. I wasn't there.

Maybe it's a good sign that viewing such films today lends itself more to camp fun than any possible serious interpretation; it is a sign that we have moved on, at least a little bit.


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