67 user 54 critic

Mandingo (1975)

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


Richard Fleischer


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




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


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


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Drama | History | Romance


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Came out a month after Jaws (1975), yet still managed to garner enough box-office success to take its filmmakers completely by surprise. See more »


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


Hammond Maxwell: The papers say this Mede's brother of Big Pearls. Lucy's his Mom.
Warren Maxwell: He don't know nothin'. Mede was a sucker when he was sold.
Hammond Maxwell: Papa, that'll be incest.
Warren Maxwell: Works somethin' with animals. Works fine with niggers.
Hammond Maxwell: Yeah, whatcha gonna do then when the sucker turn out to be some kind of monster?
Warren Maxwell: Snuff it out.
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Alternate Versions

The original UK cinema version was cut by the BBFC with heavy edits to the fight between Mede and Topaz, the beatings of the slave girl and the suspended male slave, and shots of Mede being prodded with a pitchfork by Hammond Maxwell. The uncut print was again submitted to the BBFC in 1987 for the CIC video release and some cuts were restored, with 47 secs still edited from the two whipping scenes. See more »


Referenced in Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000) See more »


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

I've seen the movie AND read the book
8 November 2004 | by femmecritiqueSee all my reviews

This movie is a disturbing look at the realities of the antebellum South. And yes, I do believe the depictions and events in this movie are realistic. Such atrocities are well-documented. Both the movie and the book contain graphic violence, sex, and rape. The movie is sometimes difficult to watch, but it's worth watching, for anyone who ponders the evils of humanity and especially the history of the U.S. during the 1800's. The acting and film quality aren't upper echelon. The dialogue is sometimes excessively histrionic. But that's not what's so good about this movie. It's gritty, realistic, and brutally honest.

As I watched, I realized that maybe things haven't changed so much since those times. Racism and sexism are still very much alive. You can easily compare the attitudes and behaviors depicted in this film with things that go on in our society today. Some people have commented that Blanche was "oversexed". I find that a rather hilarious statement. They obviously don't get the feminist subplot of this movie. The way it depicts and breaks down racism and sexism and shows exactly why they're faulted ideologies is why I love this movie so much!

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Frequently Asked Questions

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English | French

Release Date:

25 July 1975 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mandingo See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono | 4-Track Stereo


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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