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Wattstax (1973)

Documentary covering a Stax Records-sponsored all-day concert at the 1972 Watts Summer Festival with performances by Stax Records artists such as Isaac Hayes, Rufus Thomas, The Staples Singers, and more.


Mel Stuart

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
The Dramatics The Dramatics ... Themselves
The Staple Singers The Staple Singers ... Themselves
Kim Weston Kim Weston ... Herself
Jimmy Jones Jimmy Jones ... Himself
Rance Allen Rance Allen ... Himself
The Emotions The Emotions ... Themselves
William Bell William Bell ... Himself
Louise McCord Louise McCord ... Herself
Debra Manning Debra Manning ... Herself
Eric Mercury Eric Mercury ... Himself
Freddy Robinson Freddy Robinson ... Himself
Lee Sain Lee Sain ... Himself
Ernie Hines Ernie Hines ... Himself
Sonny Warner Sonny Warner ... Himself (as Little Sonny Warner)
The Newcomers The Newcomers ... Themselves


Documentary with a selection from a non-stop 7-hour musical event at Watts, the Los Angeles Coliseum, August 20, 1972. It's a sort of Woodstock event but with black artists, namely the groups Dramatics, Staple Singers, Rance Allen Group, Emotions, Bar Kays, Mel & Tim. Written by Artemis-9

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Laugh! Cry! Sing! Hear! Feel! Dance! Shout! See more »


R | See all certifications »


Official Sites:

PBS [United States]





Release Date:

16 September 1973 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

Sort på hvidt See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)| Dolby Digital (re-release)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The concert started at 2:30 PM on Sunday, August 20th 1972 and finished at 9:30 PM, lasting 7 hours. Isaac Hayes took the stage at 8:30 PM. See more »

Alternate Versions

The 2003 restoration includes the original ending; Isaac Hayes performing the songs "Theme From Shaft" and "Soulsville", which were removed from the film following the 1973 Los Angeles premiere due to the threat of a lawsuit from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) over the use of those songs in a motion picture. The replacement ending, Isaac Hayes performing "Rolling Down A Mountainside" (recorded on a Los Angeles soundstage months after the concert) has been removed and is included as extra material on the 2003 DVD release. See more »


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Jody's Got Your Girl And Gone
Written by Don Davis, J. Skeet Wilson (as James Skeet Wilson) and Kent Barker
Performed by Johnnie Taylor
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User Reviews

Loved it, loved it, loved it!
23 July 2004 | by nomi338See all my reviews

Not only was I at the colliseum to witness this incredible event from the beginning to the end, but my wife my nephew and I appear briefly on camera. To say that I enjoyed the beautiful expressions that I observed that day is to put it mildly. To see such a large crowd of beautiful, proud and peaceful African Americans celebrating our musical heritage was an event that I will cherish to my grave. I can only give thanks to everyone who participated in making this such a seminal event in my life. I was fortunate enough to be able to tape the movie when it came on cable TV but of course I am anxiously waiting for it to come out on DVD. You know the thing that really impresses me is that this came about as the aftermath of a very violent occurrence and there were, at least to my knowledge, no acts of violence during this event. What a great testament to us. Be proud black folks, be very, very proud.

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