6.2/10
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Mandingo (1975)

A slave owner in the 1840s trains one of his slaves to be a bare-knuckle fighter.

Director:

Richard Fleischer

Writers:

Kyle Onstott (novel), Jack Kirkland (play) | 1 more credit »
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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

Slave owner Warren Maxwell insists that his son, Hammond, who is busy bedding the slaves he buys, marry a white woman and father him a son. While in New Orleans, he picks up a wife, Blanche, a "bed wench," Ellen, and a Mandingo slave, Mede, whom he trains to be a bare-knuckle fighting champion. Angered that Hammond is spending too much time with his slaves, Blanche beds down Mede. Written by Allen Smithee

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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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

25 July 1975 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mandingo - O Fruto da Vingança 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
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Quentin Tarantino has cited this film and Showgirls (1995) as the only two instances "in the last twenty years [that] a major studio made a full-on, gigantic, big-budget exploitation movie". In Django Unchained (2012), Tarantino took the terminology of "Mandingo fighting" from the use of "a Mandingo" being a fine slave for breeding in the film. See more »

Goofs

About 18 minutes into the movie, when Dite tells Hammond that she's "knocked up", her leg changes position between shots. See more »

Quotes

Blanche Maxwell: Who's the wench?
Hammond Maxwell: A slave I bought - sometime back.
Blanche Maxwell: She for the Mandingo?
Hammond Maxwell: She ain't.
See more »

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.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Body Count (1998) 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]
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Shamefully underrated film.
20 August 2002 | by gridoonSee all my reviews

This unflinching, hard-hitting look at slavery is a severely underrated and misjudged film. That's probably because it sheds light onto a tough, painful subject that many people would prefer to ignore or forget; if you're expecting a "slaves-and-masters-are-all-a-big-happy-family" depiction of the life in the mid-19th-century Southern plantations, then this simply isn't your movie.

"Mandingo" was followed, one year later, by "Drum". They are both far better films than their reputations might make you believe, and they are also handsome, almost sumptuous productions with a far lower "sleaze" quotient than many reviews seem to indicate. They are both worth seeing - preferably as a double bill. (***)


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