Uptown Saturday Night (1974) Poster

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8/10
Don't Overlook This One
DerrickFerguson16 October 2001
Despite it's obvious lack of a huge budget and the wildly out-of-style fashions and slang (yes, kids..we really DID dress and talk like that back in the '70's...I KNOW...I was THERE) UPTOWN SATURDAY NIGHT shouldn't be passed up when it's shown on your cable or satellite provider stations.

Sidney Poitier (who directed) and Bill Cosby play two working stiffs who sneak out of their homes to hang at Madame Zenobia's, a high-class after-hours joint. After bluffing their way in, they immediately set about enjoying themselves at the gambling tables and are on a roll when the joint is robbed. The two consider themselves lucky to have gotten out alive, but then Poitier's character finds out he's got a winning lottery ticket worth $50,000(don't laugh..back in '74, that was a LOT of money) and the two pals start a frantic search to find the robbers and locate the winning ticket (it's in a wallet taken during the robbery)

UPTOWN SATURDAY NIGHT is filled with quirky and oddball hustlers, grifters, crooked politicians, ghetto gangsters and cheap floozies, all brought to life by some of the most talented black actors of the day. And the movie also has two of the most beautiful actresses ever to be filmed, namely Rosalind Cash and Paula Kelly. Poitier and Cosby encounter a series of very funny adventures as their hunt for the winning lottery ticket forces them into a partnership with Geechy Dan Buford (an outlandishly hilarious Harry Belafonte) and Silky Slim (Calvin Lockhart) in order to get it back. Can the two working stiffs outhustle and outwit the hordes of street-wise slicks standing between them and a fortune? Watch the movie to find out and I think you'll agree that its worth the time to find out the answer.

Sidney Poitier and Bill Cosby made two other films in this kind of comedy/caper genre. LET'S DO IT AGAIN is just as good (with a thrilling and side-splitting foot chase near the end and Jimmy J.J. Walker as the heavyweight champion boxer of the world) but A PIECE OF THE ACTION is a little bit more on the serious side with an added dose of social commentary...still, during the blaxplotation era of the '70's, these films were a delightful alternative to the 'kill-whitey-stick-it-to-The-Man-superbrotha-pimpin'-and-shootin-' movies that were also being produced then. I recommend all three of them very highly. Enjoy.
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Fabulous buddy-flick
isisherbs20002 April 2004
I just saw - again - Uptown and was amazed - again - by the chemistry of the cast and the sheer genius of Bill Cosby. It is definitely dated, style-wise, but it is as contemporary as they come as far as the 'buddy' genre goes. Although Cosby is the focus and star, with Belafonte, Lockhart and Pryor, too, stealing their scenes, one of my favorites is Poitier 'loudtalking' a crime lord. The language is not good, otherwise I'd suggest this is a good movie for older children, but with a little guidance, it would be OK for them, too. Wish there were more movies like this now, but it is a 'classic' in the sense that it overcomes any decade-specific details - the broad comedy and the sharp witty dialog are timeless.
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10/10
one for the ages
gentk15 March 2007
Uptown Saturday Night is timeless. the cast was as strong as the stars of their times, and it would be hard row to hoe, to try and duplicate or re-make. Poitier and Cosby were priceless, and Harry Belafonte and Richard Pryor in their roles elevated the story. i have it on VHS and not a week goes by that i don't cue up at least one or two scenes, even if just to see and hear Cosby tell lie after lie. a true classic. The humor was slick and clean for it's time without the profanity and vulgarity which is the norm of today's genre. I did enjoy both Barbershop films, but it pales in comparison to USN. maybe because i'm from the old school, and I hold the trailblazers with high esteem and respect. Uptown Saturday Night made it's mark, and still does.
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one of the best movies ever!!!!!!!!
bionicrat3 September 2003
Some one said not a great movie. Are you out of your mind. Any movie with Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier is the best. They don't make movies like those anymore. Please if you haven't seen Uptown Saturday Night, A Piece of The Action, and Let's do It Again. SEE THEM YOU WILL NOT BE DISSAPOINTED AT ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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5/10
Not exactly great filmmaking, but there's still some fun to be had.
MBunge19 October 2010
Warning: Spoilers
The nicest thing you can say about Uptown Saturday Night is that it's Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, Harry Belafonte and Richard Pryor hamming it up in front of the camera and having a grand old time. If you'd just like to watch these guys have fun, you'd enjoy this movie. If you're looking for more than that, you'll not find it here.

Steve (Poitier) is a happily married factory worker. Wardell (Cosby and his amazing beard) is Steve's cab driving, fast talking, rambunctious buddy. Wardell talks Steve into going to a high class, after hours social club called Madame Zenobia's. The more uptight Steve is having a great time tagging along with the more adventurous Wardell, right up until the place gets robbed by armed gunmen. But that's more than just a bad ending to a great night. The next day Steve looks in the paper and discovers he and his wife won the lottery…but the ticket was in his wallet that the robbers stole. That sends Steve and Wardell off to track down the robbers and recover the wallet, leading them into a series of comical encounters with a number of colorful characters, including con man Sharp Eye Washington (Richard Pryor) and gangster Geechie Dan (Harry Belafonte doing a terrible impression of Marlon Brando from The Godfather). Steve and Wardell end up pursuing the robbers to, of all things, a church social and after a suitcase vs. hammer fight and the fakest looking pair of dives off a bridge you'll ever see in cinema…well, I think you can guess the ending.

There's not really a whole lot more to say about Uptown Saturday Night. It's one of those comedies where there really aren't that many jokes. There's some slapstick and other broad humor, but mostly it's about watching the actors vamp and seemingly improv their way through their scenes. It's all fairly energetic and some of it's quite good. I genuinely enjoyed a bit more than the first half of the film, but after that I realized there was nothing more to the movie and it lost some of its zing. The funniest stretch in the film is probably when Steve and Wardell visit their local congressman (Roscoe Lee Browne) to complain about being robbed and it turns out the congressman is a closet Nixon fan passing himself off as another "brother from the 'hood".

There's really nothing that wrong with Uptown Saturday Night, although aside from some mild profanity it seems a lot more like a TV movie from the 70s than a big screen production. But how many other films have Poitier, Cosby, Cosby's immense beard, Belafonte and Pryor in them? If just that is enough for you, go out and rent a copy of this movie. But you can certainly find better movies starring each of those men individually.
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8/10
Poitier & Cosby's Best Pairing
domino100326 April 2003
This film still holds up years after it was first released. Steve and Wardell (Sidney Portier and Bill Cosby) are two working stiffs that try to get by. Wardell talks Steve into coming with him to a place called Madame Zenobia's (A HOT spot!). During the outing, the place gets robbed. Steve finds out later that he won the lottery. Trouble is, the winning ticket is in the wallet that was stolen. With the help of Wardell, they do just about ANYTHING to get the ticket back, and that is what makes this film fun. Harry Belafonte, Richard Pryor and Calvin Lockhart and just as wonderful. Worth checking out for the laughs, not just for 70's nostalgia.
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5/10
Uptown Was a Downer
view_and_review29 September 2018
When Steve Jackson (Sidney Portier) and Wardell Franklin (Bill Cosby) get robbed at a swanky underground night spot they take it in stride. That is until Steve realizes that he had a winning lottery ticket in his wallet which was stolen. From there the madness begins.

I'll be honest, I didn't like Sidney in this role. For a $50,000 lottery ticket he was willing to go to great lengths to retrieve it. Goofy, suicidal lengths. I could see a more traditional comedian in that role--like Bill Cosby for instance--but it didn't suit Portier.

If we were to generously compare $50,000 of 1974 to today (2018), then maybe it was worth $500,000 today. Still, is that worth sleuthing around the criminal world and risking your life? I get it was a comedy which lends to more fantastic events than maybe a drama with the same theme but Portier should've been more of a straight man in the duo. It was funny at times but often just plain silly. "Let's Do It Again" was tons better.
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8/10
Uptown Saturday Night was an enjoyable first teaming of Poitier and Cosby
tavm24 February 2008
In reviewing movies in chronological order that featured African-Americans for Black History Month, we're now at 1974 with Uptown Saturday Night. This was the first of three buddy comedies that paired Sidney Poitier with Bill Cosby. This was also Poitier's third directorial assignment after Buck and the Preacher and A Warm December. Instead of the perfect professional characters superstar Sidney had been playing for years, here he's just a working class man named Steve Jackson who's pals with Cosby's Wardell Franklin. As Steve's wife Sarah, Rosalind Cash has some nice, and partially racy, dialogue with Poitier but Ketty Lester seems wasted as Wardell's spouse Irma. With a script by Richard Wesley, Poitier shows some amusing touches though it does take a while for the story, about getting robbed as the two leads spend the night at an illegal gambling joint called Zenobia's before Steve finds out his winning lottery ticket was among the stolen items, to kick into gear. When it does you get treated to a hilarious supporting cast like Flip Wilson as the Reverend, Richard Pryor as Sharp Eye Washington, Roscoe Lee Browne as Congressman Lincoln (dig the way he turns a frame of Nixon to that of Malcoln X and then puts on his African digs when he meets his "constituents" Steve and Wardell), Paula Kelly as Lincoln's wife Leggy Peggy who the boys previously met at Zenobia's, and dancer Harold Nicholas as Little Seymour Pettigrew. That last character has a hilarious encounter with Cosby and Poitier himself cuts loose with some jokes you didn't think would come out of him. Also loved many of the "fights" the Cos instigates. Then there's Calvin Lockhart as Silky Slim and Harry Belafonte as Geechie Dan Beauford. These are rival gangsters that Steve and Wardell seek out to help find the stolen goods. Belafonte looks like he's having the time of his life impersonating Marlon Brando's Godfather role though I found him fitfully amusing like when he threatened to "knock the black off" Poitier and Cosby. Still, Uptown Saturday Night was a mostly enjoyable comedy that I bought on DVD with A Piece of the Action on the disc's other side. Dig Cosby's beard!
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7/10
wonderful rejection of black stereotypes
ispradlin20 April 2005
with this little movie, Poitier and Cosby manage to elude the traditional stereotypes of black comedies and the blacksploitation films. rather than laughing AT the characters, we are laughing at the situations and their reactions.

i also heard that Marlon Brando laughed out loud at the gangster parody of his Godfather role. me? i couldn't stop laughing throughout the film. madcap and absurd, this movie has several memorable sequences and conversations.

i don't know why this film is not more widely known. it plays with film convention, parodies everything from Godfather to hard-boiled detective movies, and all the while maintains an inspired sense of humor mixed with stand-up and vaudeville influences.
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9/10
Night Of Pleasure Is Not Always What It's Cracked Up To Be!!
davesmooth22 March 2004
In a era where "blaxploitation" movies were made in mass production, this Sidney Poitier directed movie broke the mold. This was the first of three movies that teamed Sidney with Bill Cosby, and their chemistry was magic. Poitier as Steve Jackson and Cosby as Wardell Franklin are two ordinary hard working guys who get a vacation and they go to the hottest place in town, "Madam Zenobia's".

While there, the place is held up by a hoodlum by the name of "Sliky Slim" and everyone is robbed of everything on their person. What Jackson later learns is that in his wallet that was stolen, was a sweepstakes ticket worth $50,000. The ensuing comedy is how Jackson & Franklin hit "the streets" looking for the robbers. That's what make the movie so funny. Poitier's & Cosby's characters are as square as a couple of L 7's, and they are in the "underworld" looking for their jackpot ticket.

The supporting cast is just as funny. Calvin Lockhart as Silky Slim, Richard Pryor as Sharp Eye Washington, Paula Kelly as Leggy Peggy, Harold Nicholas as Little Seynour, and of course, Harry Belefonte as Geechie Dan Beurford. (Belefonte actually had his mouth wired for this role like Marlon Brando did in "The Godfather" to make it look authentic like that movie)

This movie is a pretty entertaining watch. A lot of the dialog is "slang" that was popular in the 1970's, which sort of also gives you a historical perspective. (although I still wonder who the hell came up with "Jive Turkey") Worth adding to your DVD collection.
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Uptown Saturday Night
Coxer9931 May 1999
Uninhibited comedy about the efforts of two husbands (Perfectly matched Cosby and Poitier) who try to recover stolen money and a winning lottery ticket before their wives discover that the items are missing. There is great support from Pryor, Wilson, Cash and most notably Belafonte, in a great "Godfather" parody role. For Poitier, who also directed, this was the first of many successful collaborations with Cosby.
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6/10
Lots of movement, not a lot of laughs
helpless_dancer25 January 2000
I didn't think this was a very funny film, but that just could be my own sense of humor working not working]. I did find it to be an entertaining time, however. The acting was good, the story was well done, and I even got a chuckle or two out of it. 2 stars.
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2/10
Poitier's Waterloo, dated tedious, falls apart
HEFILM15 November 2006
As an actor Sidney does pull off some funny moments here and there, the problem is that he's not much of a director as he showed over and over again as he buried his career by turning into lazy director from fantastic actor. Cosby and he have some chemistry and there is an okay set up for a movie then just no movie.

Flip Wilson shows up to do an unfunny version of his preacher man, not once but twice in the film. Richard Pryor is funny in a small part.

Scenes just go on forever and as good as Sidney is at some of his own comedy Belefonte needs to be put in a Troama movie with comedy acting like this, and after the half way point it practically becomes Belefonte's movie as his overacted and underfunny mugging pushes Cosby and Poitier out of the way and the movie goes into the toilet. Bad rear projection would be antic chase scene lower the bar again as it wraps up with some sorta Butch and Sundance high fall non gag with dummies.

Really lousy by the time it's over. 70's fashion and garishness top off the unpleasant time.
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10/10
The Combo
Montayj20 June 2019
The combo of Poitier and Cosby is in some sense, untouchable, as portrayed in Uptown Saturday Night. Cosby is a genius when it comes to comedy mixed with an element of drama and thriller.
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7/10
Landmark Poitier / Cosby teaming.
Hey_Sweden17 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
With this directorial effort veteran actor Sidney Poitier was able to show a different side to his talent, as he's teamed with the equally legendary entertainer Bill Cosby as a pair of average working Joes who make the fateful decision to have a good time in an exclusive night club. While they're gambling downstairs, hoods barge in and rob everybody present; Poitier is relieved of his wallet, which contains a lottery ticket later revealed to be a winning one. So good buddies Steve (Poitier) and Wardell (Cosby) hit the streets determined to find somebody who can point them in the right direction, including a congressman (Roscoe Lee Browne) who's nothing but a big phony, a weaselly private detective (Richard Pryor), and a pair of feuding crime lords, Geechie Dan (Harry Belafonte, doing a hysterical parody of Marlon Brando in "The Godfather") and Silky Slim (Calvin Lockhart). What is truly irresistible is seeing Poitier show off some comedic chops, playing a guy completely out of his element. In his big standout scene, he trash talks a diminutive gangster named Little Seymour (dancer Harold Nicholas). As one can see, "Uptown Saturday Night" is an impressive assemblage of talent; also making appearances are Flip Wilson as the reverend, Rosalind Cash as Steves' loving wife, Ketty Lester as Wardells' significant other, Paula Kelly as exuberant Leggy Peggy, and Lee Chamberlin as club proprietress Madame Zenobia. Poitier and company mine every scene for as many laughs as possible; what's especially funny is seeing Belafonte in drag towards the end. (The movie does go on a little long, but the manic energy of the finale makes it all worthwhile.) This group of actors is a joy to watch, but Cosby most of all is in truly fine form. Providing effective accompaniment are Tom Scotts' perfectly funky music score and an upbeat theme song. Inevitably, there are elements, like the fashions, that date the movie, but they do have a definite fascination going for them. Overall, this is likable stuff that never gets too unpleasant. Followed by two subsequent Poitier / Cosby teamings, "Let's Do It Again" and "A Piece of the Action". Seven out of 10.
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7/10
Movie about friends who try to get money the best way they know how and what ensues afterwards
dstgyrl8 July 2005
This was the first of 3 movies with Sidney Poitier and Billy Cosby. They have great chemistry as they move through this story of friends spending a night out and then get robbed. They were not supposed to be there in the first place. The supporting stars provide great comic relief. The wives in the movie are great women of African American theater. Harry Belafonte does a hilarious send up of Marlon Brando from "The Godfather". Flip Wilson and Richard Pryor also have parts in the movie and are hilarious. There are a number of great scenes with bill and Sidney running and escaping the gangsters and the end is definitely worth it!
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6/10
Fun with top black performers of the time
SimonJack11 October 2015
My favorite character in "Uptown Saturday Night," is Geechie Dan Beauford, played by Harry Belafonte. He looks like Marlon Brando from the 1972 film, "The Godfather." Beauford is an intentional spoof of Don Corleone, with his cotton-stuffed cheeks. And he's so funny because he's anything but a strong character.

This is one of the early films that Sidney Poitier directed. It is disconnected in places. The script has holes in it and the story is disjointed at times. But, the film brings together a host of talented black performers. Poitier and Bill Cosby are the leads and have some funny encounters throughout as Steve Jackson and Wardell Franklin. The supporting cast all add to the fun and humor with their antics. Flip Wilson, Richard Pryor, Cal Lockhart and Roscoe Lee Browne have good roles. Paula Kelly as Leggy Peggy is funny.

This film isn't on the level of comedy that Cosby and company can deliver. But, for light entertainment in a film that brings together several top African-American entertainers, "Uptown Saturday Night" is a good watch.
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10/10
An Excellent,Hilarious,Underrated Comedy Classic. Sidney Poitier And Bill Cosby At Their Best.
jcbutthead865 January 2014
Uptown Saturday Night is an excellent,hilarious and underrated Comedy classic that combines fantastic direction,a terrific cast,great laughs,a well-written script and a memorable score and theme song. All those elements make Uptown Saturday Night one of my favorite Comedies, great laugh out loud entertainment and Sidney Poitier and Bill Cosby at their best.

Uptown Saturday Night tells the story of best friends Steve(Sidney Poitier)and Wardell(Bill Cosby),two working class guys who decide to go to Madame Zenobia's,an expensive and high class joint to have fun. While Steve and Wardell are there having a good time,Zenobia's is robbed by a group of thieves who take the money as well as peoples wallets including Steve's wallet which contains a winning lottery ticket. Now,Steve and Wardell are going to through the criminal underworld to get back the wallet and find the guys that robbed them with hilarious results.

Released in 1974,Uptown Saturday Night is a brilliant,offbeat Comedy that came out during the time when blaxploitation films were huge with Black audiences. Then at the height of Blaxploitation movies came Uptown Saturday Night,a Comedy that was the first of a Trilogy of Comedies starring Sidney Poitier and Bill Cosby which also included the sequels Let's Do It Again and A Piece Of The Action,but with Uptown Saturday Night Sidney Poitier and Bill Cosby crafted in opinion one of the funniest movies of the 1970s and of all time. From beginning to end Uptown Saturday Night is a movie that is a laugh riot that never stops giving viewers Comedy that is wild and quirky with jokes and laughter that will make you laugh with tears rolling down your eyes and Humor that is so funny your stomach will cramp. What I also love about the Comedy in USN is that the Comedy has a great balance of being over the top,subtle and smart using scenes and some of the main characters to generate laughs and when you watch the film the Comedy is done with amazing build-up and timing and the laughs are well-done with greatness and perfection. Despite having an all-star Black cast,USN is not a Blaxploitation film but a movie that Spoofs and Parodies not only Blaxploitation films but also serious Crime Dramas and Gangster Films that came out during the early to mid 1970s an you as you watch the film you will notice a lot of the Trademarks of Blaxploitation movies,Crime Dramas and Gangster Films turning the genres on their heads in an interesting way. The screenplay by Richard Wesley is impressive and well-written,with Wesley giving the movie great scenes and memorable dialog as well as interesting characters. As long as cinema has been around there have been great movie duos:Laurel and Hardy,Abbott and Costello,Cheech and Chong,Hope and Crosby,Newman and Redford and many more. Another duo that is up there with those tag teams is Sidney Poitier and Bill Cosby who are in my opinion one of the greatest and most underrated movie duos in the history of film. What makes the duo of Poitier and Cosby is amazing and incredible is before USN Poitier was a great serious Actor and Cosby was doing Comedy and the Television show I Spy then came Uptown Saturday Night. In USN and it's sequels,the two play the classic straight man/funny guy combination with Poitier being the straight man and Cosby being the funny guy while having fantastic chemistry that feels funny,fresh and real. Poitier and Cosby use their characters in USN to trade off laughs and lots of lines with both actors being hilarious in their own ways and it makes the film work so well. Sidney Poitier and Bill Cosby are a classic duo that you will never forget and will stay with you after the movie is over. The ending of Uptown Saturday Night is funny,thrilling and exciting and will put a smile on your face. An terrific conclusion to a classic Comedy.

The whole cast is amazing. Sidney Poitier and Bill Cosby are excellent,hilarious and memorable as Steve and Wardell,with Poitier and Cosby having wonderful chemistry and scenes together. Harry Belafonte is amazing and funny as Geechie Dan Beauford,a local gangster with Belafonte doing a laugh out loud parody of Marlon Brando's Godfather role. Calvin Lochart is terrific and smooth as Silky Slim,a rival of Geechie Dan's. Filp Wilson is great and memorable in his small role as The Reverend. Richard Pryor is fantastic and hilarious as Sharp Eye Washington,a crooked private detective. Roselind Cash is good and beautiful as Sarah Jackson,Steve's wife. Lee Chamberlain is fine and sexy as Madame Zenobia,the owner of Zenobias. Roscoe Lee Brown is delightful as Congressman Lincoln,a politician. Paula Kelly is outstanding as Peggy Leggy,Congressman Lincoln's secretary. Harold Nicolas is sensational and funny as Little Seymour Pettigrew,a small,but tough gangster. Ketty Lester(Irma Franklin)and George Reynolds(Big Percy)give good performances as well.

The direction by Sidney Poitier is wonderful,with Poitier always moving the camera and giving the film a great pace and style. Fine direction,Poitier.

The score by Tom Scott is terrific,intense and light matching the tone of the film. Great score,Scott. There is also the fantastic theme song Uptown Saturday Night by Dobie Gray,which awesome and fits with the movie's tone. A catchy and memorable theme song.

In final word,if you love Comedies,Sidney Poitier and Bill Cosby,I highly suggest you see Uptown Saturday Night,an excellent,hilarious and underrated Comedy classic that is Sidney Poitier and Bill Cosby at their best and is a movie that you can watch again and again. Highly Recommended. 10/10.
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6/10
Poitier and Cosby Make This Film Worth Watching.
phillafella11 June 2003
Sidney Poitier and Bill Cosby star in this sporadically funny vehicle as two guys who try to recover their personal possessions after being robbed of them at a nightclub. Poitier and Cosby have great chemistry, and the movie is well directed by Poitier himself, but the premise is a bit too contrived, and the plot doesn't seem to go all the way. Not recommended for everyone, but African-Americans and fans of the two leads won't be disappointed.

3 out of 5
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Not bad
Idocamstuf10 March 2003
This is another one of those unknown movies(maybe it was known when it came out) that I somehow came across. It was an enjoyable little movie, with a descent cast including: Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, Harry Belfonte, and hilarious cameos from Richard Pryor and Flip Wilson. Not a great movie, but its kinda fun. If you like the actors in the film, give it a try. *** out of *****
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9/10
One Of The Funniest Movies Of The Early 1970s
leighabc1239 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I was a little toddler the first time I saw this movie. I wondered when I was little why did Sidney Poiter and Bill Cosby jump in the water to get that money. I first saw that movie on a Saturday evening. They sung the song "How I Got Over" at the end of the movie. Then I went to church the next morning and the choir sung that song. Billy Cosby and Sidney Poiter's characters were gullible fools in this movie. I guess this was a part of the plot of the movie. They were already broke and they let Richard Pryor's con artist character rip them off. "Why me? Why not you?" They just don't make funny black movies like this anymore.
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