5.9/10
474
8 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)
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2 nominations. See more awards »

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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
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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 »
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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

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$141,863, 28 December 1986, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$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 »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

However, this movie has been released officially on VHS, it has yet to have an official DVD or Blu-ray release. See more »

Quotes

Gus: Ain't no use hiding it. That Bigger Thomas, he bad. Just bad!
See more »

Connections

Remake of Native Son (1951) 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 »

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User Reviews

Doesn't have the impact the novel had
30 August 2001 | by unfoundSee all my reviews

Synopsis: A young black man from the poor streets of Chicago, gets the opportunity of a lifetime working as a chauffer for a wealthy family. But in an effort not to jeopardize his first day on the job, something goes horribly wrong leaving him responsible for a murder.

The Review: Richard Wright's novel is an intense depiction of one man, trying to protect and better himself, whose own self is unwillfully brought into something he just gets into deeper. The book itself is five hundred pages and broken down into three separate novellas. One chunk of the book is exclusively devoted to a lawyer's speech about racism, that was completely excised from the film. The film, in a manner of speaking, is relatively different because it's compressed all the information. The film lacks the spark the book had as well as the impact. Not much sympathy can be said for any of the characters because their development just isn't strong enough. It's a distorted film that doesn't have any strengths to it, and the climax at the end, is really broken down to nothing more than just a series of edited scenes and voiceovers. If you love the novel, and want to see the film, just stick with the novel, because they simply aren't the same. Grade: C-


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