5.8/10
512
9 user 7 critic

Native Son (1986)

In 1940s Chicago, a young black man takes a job as a chauffeur to a white family, which takes a turn for the worse when he accidentally kills the teenage daughter of the couple and then tries to cover it up.

Director:

Jerrold Freedman

Writers:

Richard Wesley, Richard Wright (novel)
Reviews
2 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Victor Love ... Bigger Thomas
Matt Dillon ... Jan
Elizabeth McGovern ... Mary Dalton
Geraldine Page ... Peggy
Oprah Winfrey ... Mrs. Thomas
Akosua Busia ... Bessie
Carroll Baker ... Mrs. Dalton
John McMartin ... Mr. Dalton
Art Evans ... Doc
John Karlen ... Max
Willard E. Pugh ... Gus
David Rasche ... Buckley
Ving Rhames ... Jack
Walter Rivers Walter Rivers ... G.H.
Shavar Ross ... Buddy
Learn more

More Like This 

Native Son (1951)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

In 1940s Chicago, a young black man takes a job as a chauffeur to a white family, which takes a turn for the worse when he accidentally kills the teenage daughter of the couple and then tries to cover it up.

Director: Pierre Chenal
Stars: Richard Wright, Jean Wallace, Nicholas Joy
Native Son (2019)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A young African-American living in Chicago enters into a seductive new world of money and power after he is hired as a chauffeur for an affluent businessman.

Director: Rashid Johnson
Stars: Ashton Sanders, Margaret Qualley, Nick Robinson
Rebel (1985)
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.6/10 X  

This drama is set in World War II Australia, where an American Marine, Rebel is recuperating from wounds suffered in battle. He is weary of war and is intent on going AWOL and escaping from... See full summary »

Director: Michael Jenkins
Stars: Matt Dillon, Debra Byrne, Bryan Brown
Road Games (1981)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A truck driver plays a cat-and-mouse game with a mysterious serial killer on a desolate Australian highway.

Director: Richard Franklin
Stars: Stacy Keach, Jamie Lee Curtis, Marion Edward
Kansas (1988)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

A young man returning home to attend a wedding hooks up with a drifter who turns out to be a violent bank robber. Before he knows it, the man finds himself involved in the robber's plans.

Director: David Stevens
Stars: Matt Dillon, Andrew McCarthy, Leslie Hope
Liar's Moon (1981)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A poor kid elopes with a banker's daughter.

Director: David Fisher
Stars: Matt Dillon, Cindy Fisher, Hoyt Axton
There Are No Children Here (TV Movie 1993)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

From Publishers Weekly The devastating story of brothers Lafayette and Pharoah Rivers, children of the Chicago ghetto, is powerfully told here by Kotlowitz, a Wall Street Journal reporter ... See full summary »

Director: Anita W. Addison
Stars: Oprah Winfrey, Keith David, Mark Lane
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A writer with dwarfism shares the story of his unconventional, though not altogether bad, upbringing as his mother struggled to raise him in the mid 20th century, with the help of a surrogate father.

Director: Michael Lindsay-Hogg
Stars: Matt Dillon, Anne Parillaud, Gabriel Byrne
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A homeless schizophrenic seeks the help of a streetwise combat veteran as they attempt to overcome cruel life on the streets.

Director: Tim Hunter
Stars: Danny Glover, Matt Dillon, Rick Aviles
The Big Town (1987)
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

J.C. Cullen arrives in Chicago and, with his cool hand, becomes a top dice roller. But when he meets a beautiful dancer, his luck may have finally run out - her husband is a ruthless killer.

Directors: Ben Bolt, Harold Becker
Stars: Matt Dillon, Diane Lane, Tommy Lee Jones
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

This musical is based on four short stories by Damon Runyon. In one tale, gambler Feet Samuels (Randy Quaid) sells his body to science just as he realizes that Hortense Hathaway (Madonna) ... See full summary »

Director: Howard Brookner
Stars: Josef Sommer, Madonna, Tony Azito
Target (1985)
Action | Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

When American Donna Lloyd is kidnapped during a trip to Europe, her son Chris and her husband Walter start searching for her.

Director: Arthur Penn
Stars: Gene Hackman, Matt Dillon, Brad Williams
Edit

Storyline

Bigger Thomas, an African American who lives in an impoverished neighborhood, is employed by a prosperous white family who live in the suburbs of a major city. The money Bigger makes at his new job will be used to supplement his mother's income. As a chauffeur, he is directed by the father of the family to take Mary, the daughter, to the university. Instead, Mary decides to pick up her Socialist boyfriend, Jan, and to spend the time drinking and partying. Jan and Mary portray a young liberal couple who venture into a black neighborhood with Bigger for the sole purpose of being entertained at Ernie's, a black nightclub. On the way home, Mary becomes inebriated and Bigger must get her to her bedroom without being detected. Mary's mother, who is blind, enters the room and Bigger panics at the thought of being caught with a white woman. He accidentally kills Mary by placing a pillow over her head to keep her quiet. Still frightened, Bigger disposes of the body in the furnace, possibly ... Written by Broncine G. Carter

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

There is a rare MCM VHS that goes by an unofficial name The Strong Survive with Matt Dillon on the cover. It also states as AKA Native Son. The photo of Matt Dillon seems to be taken from an unrelated film. It also has an unofficial R rating as the official film rating is an MPAA PG. See more »

Quotes

Max: [before the trial of Mary Dalton's murder] Talk to me, Bigger. You've got to help me defend you. Why did you kill her?
Bigger Thomas: I didn't plan to kill her.
Max: Tell me what happened.
Bigger Thomas: It was an accident! But that don't matter now.
Max: Did you rape her?
Max: No, Mr. Max! I didn't. They say black men do that. It don't matter if Ii did or I didn't.
Max: You know, Bigger, I would've thought you liked her.
Bigger Thomas: Liked her? I hated her!
Max: What has she done to you?
Bigger Thomas: It ain't like she did nothing straight-out. I mean... she asked me a lot of ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Classified X (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

"Jones Come Down (Call Me, Call Me, Call Me)
Written by James Mtume, Diane Silver and Dunn E. Pearson
Performed by Stephanie Mills
See more »

User Reviews

 
Native Son Deserves Better
22 August 2019 | by view_and_reviewSee all my reviews

I read Native Son as a teen and again about four years ago as an adult. I had really mixed feelings about Bigger Thomas with an inclination towards hating him. The way the movie depicts him my feelings about him aren't very mixed--I don't like Bigger.

Bigger is an angry reckless young man. The movie can't get into his head like the book can but truthfully, there was no real justification for his immense anger and reckless behavior.

As a production this movie didn't quite fit the bill. The sound quality was bad which made the acting itself seem worse than what it really was. The movie speed wasn't good either. Everything was accelerated with no good transitions from scene to scene. I knew what was going on and why because I read the book, but without that knowledge I may have been lost watching the movie.

I don't want to dump on the movie too much because I can tell it was a low budget production and they probably did the best they could. It's noteworthy that they landed Matt Dillon and Oprah Winfrey. Even Shavar Ross (prominently known as Dudley from Diff'rent Strokes) was something of a known name at that time.

I think that Native Son deserves a better production than it got. I see that there was a 2019 release of Native Son. Hopefully it is better.


0 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 9 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 December 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Native Son - Im Namen der Gerechtigkeit See more »

Filming Locations:

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,301,121

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,301,121
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series



Recently Viewed