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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.

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Cast

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

Dedicated to all the Brothers and Sisters who have had enough of the Man See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 March 1973 (Netherlands)  »

Also Known As:

Sweet Sweetback  »

Filming Locations:


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Box Office

Budget:

$500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$15,180,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was one of Earth, Wind, and Fire's early work. Melvin Van Peebles paid them with a check that later bounced. To this day, the band has still not been paid for their contribution to the 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....
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Crazy Credits

Opening Credits Dedication: "Dedicated to all the Brothers and Sisters who had enough of the Man" See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Cinema Snob: Black Love (2014) 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

 
One of the greatest underground hits of the 70s
5 November 2002 | by See all my reviews

A powerful film whose impact is through a montage of images, music, and dialogue, alternating to disorient and reorient the viewer. It might be pretty confusing plot-wise (or perhaps it just doesn't have much of a plot) and the actors are mostly bad, but this film was well thought out and executed with a goal of excellence (something that can't be said for many films, underground or Hollywood). To boot, it is also entertaining and probably gave the exploitation crowd their money's worth in 1971 with some hardcore violence and softcore sex.

Van Peebles created a unique experimental film that succeeds on its own terms. It is a classic for all time.


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