6.3/10
3,318
66 user 54 critic

Mandingo (1975)

An 1840s slaveowner trains one of his slaves to be a bare-knuckle fighter.

Director:

Richard Fleischer

Writers:

Kyle Onstott (novel), Jack Kirkland (play) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Mason ... Warren Maxwell
Susan George ... Blanche Maxwell
Perry King ... Hammond Maxwell
Richard Ward ... Agamemnon
Brenda Sykes ... Ellen
Ken Norton ... Mede
Lillian Hayman Lillian Hayman ... Lucrezia Borgia
Roy Poole ... Doc Redfield
Ji-Tu Cumbuka ... Cicero
Paul Benedict ... Brownlee
Ben Masters ... Charles
Ray Spruell Ray Spruell ... Wallace
Louis Turenne Louis Turenne ... De Veve
Duane Allen Duane Allen ... Topaz
Earl Maynard Earl Maynard ... Babouin
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Storyline

It's the mid-nineteenth century Louisiana. Falconhurst, a run down plantation, is owned by Warren Maxwell, and largely run by his son, Hammond Maxwell, who walks with a limp due to a childhood accident. Hammond is under pressure to get married and produce a male heir to continue the Maxwell legacy before Warren dies. With no experience courting a potential bride - his sexual experiences confined to slaves and whores - Hammond ultimately chooses his cousin Blanche for his wife in what would not be considered a courtship in its true sense. In turn, Blanche agrees to the marriage largely to escape the realm of her sadistic brother, Charles. As his father tells him is custom, Hammond, while on his and Blanche's honeymoon in New Orleans, also obtains a slave as a go to sexual partner, he buying Ellen, who he met when she was given to him in hospitality when visiting who was then her master. Concurrently, Hammond also purchases Mede, a Mandingo, as a slave, something Warren had always ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Expect all that the motion picture screen has never dared to show before. Expect the truth See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

James Mason admitted in interviews that he only made the film to make his alimony payments. See more »

Goofs

In the final scene, it is evident that sublimating dry ice is being used to simulate steam rising from the "boiling" cauldron. See more »

Quotes

Cicero: I'd rather die than be a slave. You peckerwood! That's tight, you peckerwoods was in oppressed in your own land. We was free. Then you brought us here, in chains. But now we here, you just better know it's as much our land as it is yorn. And after you hang me, kiss my ass!
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Alternate Versions

The international version of the film (released on PAL region 2 DVD) contains a different cut of the film that runs approx. 5 minutes shorter than the U.S. release but also has many scenes presented in alternate clothed takes. In all 12 scenes were either trimmed or re-edited with alternate shots/angles/takes:
  • Scene where slave is bent over and inspected for hemorrhoids is cut.
  • Scene where the wench is being prepared for her deflowering is presented in an alternate take where her breasts are not exposed.
  • Scene with pregnant wench is shot with alternate angles to obscure nudity. Perry King's full frontal nudity is cut and replaced with a closer shot that reveals he is wearing shorts when he kneels down to pray (It looks like a goof - only a bit of the waistband can be seen at the corner of the frame).
  • Alternate takes of the slave being strung up to be beaten are used to obscure nudity, and many shots of him being beat and left bloody are cut.
  • A few seconds where Perry King's cousin rips off a wench's dress and bends her over to begin beating her is cut to remove nudity. The beating is left intact.
  • The slave market scene is edited to remove the topless wenches on display, and the shot where the German widow sticks her hand into Ken Norton's shorts and "inspects" him is cut short. The second shot with her hand in and then removing it is left intact though.
  • An alternate take is used with a prostitute clothed rather than nude at the bawdy house.
  • A few seconds of a prostitute rubbing on Perry King's crotch is cut.
  • An alternate take is used during the fight at the bawdy house so that a prostitute is seen holding her dress up while she cheers whereas in the original she lets it fall and her breasts be exposed.
  • The entire scene between Perry King and Brenda Sykes in which she asks him if he'll let their child go free is presented in alternate clothed takes. In the original film they are both completely nude. Even the camera angles and setups are the same, only with clothes in the international version.
  • In the scene where Ken Norton fights a man to death one long shot where the other fighter claws his back is cut. Also cut is when Ken bites down on the other fighter's neck, is pulled off, and then bites into his neck again. All the close-ups are cut.
  • The Susan George/Ken Norton love scene is almost entirely missing. Ken Norton's nudity is cut, and then the scene ends in an alternate take when the two go out of frame onto the bed. The original scene went on for much longer and exposed Ken Norton's buttocks and Susan George's breasts. The German theatrical version does not feature any of these alterations and is identical to the U.S. release.
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Connections

Referenced in Saturday Night Live: John Goodman/Everclear (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Born in This Time
Music by Maurice Jarre
Lyrics by Hitide Harris (as Hi Tide Harris)
Sung by Muddy Waters
[Played during opening title and credits]
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User Reviews

Good movie about the darkness of slavery
28 August 2015 | by VartiainenSee all my reviews

Quentin Tarantino has called Mandingo one of the few big budget exploitation films Hollywood has ever produced, and you can definitely see a lot of this film in his Django Unchained. I'm not sure I'd go as far as calling this an exploitation film, but it's certainly startling at times and deals with the subject of slavery without backtalk or ambiguity.

The movie takes place in Deep South prior to the American Civil War. Slavery is at its highest bloom and it's just as bad as you've probably heard. First night rights are freely exercised, slaves are just one step above animals, sold like cattle and while they're not beaten daily – they still need to work, and it's not like you beat your cows daily, either – it doesn't take much for them to incur the wrath of their masters.

The movie is also notable in that it uses the term 'mandingo' somewhat correctly. The term referred to any slave of the highest quality and not just to those who fought against one another. Though even that fighting might be a myth. The movie tells the tale of one particular manor, its owners and the pair of mandingo slave that were brought there, one of them to be trained as a fighter.

It's a tough movie to sit through if you're squeamish and while it's not overly gluttonous in its depictions of violence, like Django Unchained is, it doesn't shy away from them either or pull its punches. A very good movie to check out if you liked Django and/or are looking for a darker historical piece.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

25 July 1975 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mandingo See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono | 4-Track Stereo

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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