11 user 16 critic

Space Is the Place (1974)

R | | Sci-Fi, Music | November 1974 (USA)
Sun Ra--space-age prophet, pharoanic jester, shaman-philosopher and avant-jazz keyboardist/bandleader--lands his spaceship in Oakland, having been presumed lost in space for a few years. ... See full summary »


John Coney


Joshua Smith, Sun Ra




Cast overview, first billed only:
Barbara Deloney Barbara Deloney ... Candy
Sun Ra Sun Ra ... Self
Raymond Johnson Raymond Johnson ... The Overseer (as Ray Johnson)
Erika Leder Erika Leder ... Tania
Christopher Brooks Christopher Brooks ... Jimmy Fey
La Shaa Stallings La Shaa Stallings ... Bertha
Sinthia Ayala Sinthia Ayala ... Chili Pepper
Clarence Brewer Clarence Brewer ... Bernard
June Tyson June Tyson ... Arkestra member
Morgan Upton ... Agent #2
Walter Burns Walter Burns ... Agent #1
Tiny Parker Tiny Parker ... Tiny
Sam Bankhead Sam Bankhead ... Sam
John Gilmore John Gilmore ... Arkestra member
Marshall Allen Marshall Allen ... Arkestra member


Sun Ra--space-age prophet, pharoanic jester, shaman-philosopher and avant-jazz keyboardist/bandleader--lands his spaceship in Oakland, having been presumed lost in space for a few years. With Black Power on the rise, Ra disembarks and proclaims himself "the alter-destiny." He holds a myth-vs.-reality rap session with black inner-city youth at a rec center, threatening "to chain you up and take you with me, like they did you in Africa," if they resist his plea to go to outer space. He duels at cards with The Overseer, a satanic overlord, with the fate of the black race at stake. Ra wins the right to a world concert, which features great performance footage of the Arkestra. Agents sent by the Overseer attempt to assassinate Ra, but he vanishes, rescues his people, and departs in his spaceship from the exploding planet Earth. Written by Jim Newman <jnew@sirius.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Sci-Fi | Music


R | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


According to director 'John Coney (I)', the film utilized a sound stage that was controlled by 'Artie Mitchell' and 'Jim Mitchell (IV)', who were concurrently filming Behind the Green Door (1972). The production teams from both films shared the sound stage expenses, as well as the sound stage itself: the riser on which the Arkestra performed was also used by the Mitchell Bros. for "other purposes." See more »


[Drunk walks into Sun Ra's employment agency]
Drunk: My man, what's happenin?
Sun Ra: Everything is happenin.
Drunk: What is this... I mean what... where am I? Who is you?
Sun Ra: I am everything, and nuthin.
Drunk: Nuthin? Well you betta tell me about this nuthin stuff, cause, uh, I need a job. I... I don't know what to do.
Sun Ra: What have you been doin lately?
Drunk: Uh huh uh, nuthin, really, nuthin.
Sun Ra: How long have you been doing nuthin?
Drunk: Quite some time. Quite some time.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The 2003 Plexifilm DVD restores a substantial amount of footage that had been omitted from the Rhapsody videocassette version. Among the additions are two plot lines, one involving two nurses/prostitutes (which includes full frontal nudity), and the other about a pool hustler/junky. See more »


Edited into Destination Planet Rock (2007) See more »


Blackman - Love In Outer Space
Composed and Arranged by Sun Ra
Performed by Sun Ra And His Intergalactic Solar Arkestra
See more »

User Reviews

Pioneering Afrofuturistic Cinematic Brilliance
7 July 2020 | by Lynchian696See all my reviews

Sun Ra plays a cosmic seer who lands in his spaceship (powered by music) on Earth and makes plans to resettle black people on a new planet from the white power structure. He is like the Moses figure in this sci-fi blaxploitation film which mixes surrealism, avant-garde jazz in a proposal like no other. Danny Ray Thompson. A mainstay in the Sun Ra Arkestra since the late 60s who's undulating baritone sax riff makes up the backbone of the evergreen Space Is The Place. A rare, unmissable trash-culture, sci-fi classic tantalizing glimpse into RA's fantastical world. One of my favorite musical bios of all time which offers sharp social commentary and a stylish Afrofuturist vision. A truly great biography of melancholic musician, an Afrofuturist long before it was named, devastatingly multi-layered and esoteric. One of the best 'cult films' ever that defies genre categorisation and manages to truly uphold its otherworldly feel while burning itself in your brain. FYI Interestingly the first person of African descent in space was Afro-Cuban Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez, via Soviet Interkosmos program in 1980. Highly recommend for those who love surrealistic films and a fan of Coltrane (John & Alice), Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus, Herbie Hancock, and Cannonball Adderley.

The earth cannot move without music. The earth moves in a certain rhythm, a certain sound, a certain note. When the music stops the earth will stop and everything upon it will die.

Sun Ra, Space is the Place.

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Release Date:

November 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Space Is the Place See more »

Filming Locations:

Berkeley, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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