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The Spook Who Sat by the Door (1973)

A black man plays Uncle Tom in order to gain access to CIA training, then uses that knowledge to plot a new American Revolution.

Director:

Ivan Dixon

Writers:

Sam Greenlee (screenplay), Melvin Clay (screenplay) (as Mel Clay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lawrence Cook Lawrence Cook ... Dan Freeman
Janet League Janet League ... Joy
Paula Kelly ... Dahomey Queen
J.A. Preston ... Dawson
Paul Butler Paul Butler ... Do-Daddy Dean
Don Blakely ... Stud Davis
David Lemieux ... Pretty Willie
Byron Morrow ... General
Jack Aaron Jack Aaron ... Carstairs
Joseph Mascolo ... Senator Hennington
Elaine Aiken ... Mrs. Hennington
Beverly Gill Beverly Gill ... Willa
Bob Hill Bob Hill ... Calhoun
Martin Golar Martin Golar ... Perkins
Jeff Hamilton Jeff Hamilton ... Policeman
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Storyline

In order to improve his standing with Black voters, a White Senator starts a campaign for the CIA to recruit Black agents. However, all are graded on a curve and doomed to fail, save for a soft-spoken veteran named Dan Freeman. After grueling training in guerrilla warfare, clandestine operations and unarmed combat, he is assigned a meager job as the CIA's token Black employee. After five years of racist and stereotyped treatment by his superiors, he quietly resigns to return to his native Chicago to work for a social services agency...by day. By night, he trains a street gang to be the vanguard in an upcoming race war, using all that the CIA has taught him... Written by Baroque

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The controversial best selling novel now becomes a shocking screen reality. See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | Crime

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 December 1981 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Keepers See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Bokari See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

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

According to Sam Greenlee, the outdoor scenes filmed in Chicago were shot without permits. See more »

Quotes

National Guard Soldier: [after being shot] Why me?
Stud Davis: Cause it's WAR, Honky!
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Black Dynamite (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Greatest guerrilla movie ever made
26 March 2006 | by fox_orvngsSee all my reviews

This is one of the undiscovered treasures of cinema people, if you haven't seen it you need to. They never paid for one permit and they did this movie for about $90,000USD, but they don't skip a beat. Same editor as Schindler's List; if you watch the movie you can tell why Spielberg uses this guy, he is a master.

Even if you don't agree with the films message you have to agree that this is one of thee finest made independent films in existence, and considering the subject matter it is a surprise this film was ever shot, because the book had a pretty hard time getting published too.

I think this film is everything Melvin Van Peebles wanted SweetBack to be.


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