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Malcolm X (1992)

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Biographical epic of the controversial and influential Black Nationalist leader, from his early life and career as a small-time gangster, to his ministry as a member of the Nation of Islam.

Director:

Spike Lee

Writers:

Alex Haley (book), Malcolm X (book) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
3,075 ( 546)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 18 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Denzel Washington ... Malcolm X
Angela Bassett ... Dr. Betty Shabazz
Albert Hall ... Baines
Al Freeman Jr. ... Elijah Muhammad
Delroy Lindo ... West Indian Archie
Spike Lee ... Shorty
Theresa Randle ... Laura
Kate Vernon ... Sophia
Lonette McKee ... Louise Little
Tommy Hollis Tommy Hollis ... Earl Little
James McDaniel ... Brother Earl
Ernest Thomas ... Sidney
Jean-Claude La Marre Jean-Claude La Marre ... Benjamin 2X (as Jean LaMarre)
O.L. Duke ... Pete
Larry McCoy Larry McCoy ... Sammy
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Storyline

Biograpical epic of Malcolm X, the legendary African American leader. Born Malcolm Little, his father (a Garveyite Baptist minister) was killed by the Ku Klux Klan. Malcolm became a gangster, and while in jail discovered the Nation of Islam writings of Elijah Muhammad. He preaches the teachings when let out of jail, but later on goes on a pilgrimage to the city of Mecca, there he converts to the original Islamic religion and becomes a Sunni Muslim and changes his name to El-Hajj Malik Al-Shabazz. He is assassinated on February 21, 1965 and dies a Muslim martyr. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for a scene of violence, and for drugs and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Japan

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 November 1992 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

X See more »

Filming Locations:

USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$33,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,871,125, 22 November 1992

Gross USA:

$48,169,908
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital (35 mm prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Malcolm X worked as a porter on the New Haven Railroad. When researchers for the film contacted the Valley Railroad in Essex, Connecticut, looking for period rail equipment, they discovered that the railroad had a coach that Malcolm X once worked on. It had just been obtained from a train collector in Stonington, Connecticut, who had it in his backyard for decades, and was being remodeled. The producers worked with the VRR to shoot some scenes in Essex, Connecticut, and took several coaches to New York City for filming. The coach, Great Republic, is now the First Class Parlor car on the Essex Steam Train. See more »

Goofs

After his house is firebombed, Malcolm shouts for someone to call 911. The number was not established as an emergency line until 1968, three years after his assassination. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Announcer: In the name of Allah the merciful, all praises due to Allah, Lord of all the worlds. The one God to whom praise is due forever. The one who came to us in the person of Master Fard Muhammad and raised up the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Amen.
[pause]
Announcer: Asalaam-alaikum!
Crowd: Alaikum-salaam!
Announcer: How do you feel?
Crowd: Good!
Announcer: Who do we want to hear?
Crowd: Malcolm X!
Announcer: Are we gonna bring him on? Yes, we gonna bring him on. Well let us hear from our minister, Minister Malcolm X. Let us bring him on with a round of ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the Thank Allah seperate special thanks, there is another one that says: "Thank Jesus for Aretha Franklin and Arrested Devleopment." See more »

Connections

Featured in Siskel & Ebert: Memo to the Academy - 1993 (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

We Shall Overcome
Traditional, musical and lyrical adaptation by Zilphia Horton, Frank Hamilton, Guy Carawan and Pete Seeger
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Great but needed a better editor
21 February 2006 | by bbraatSee all my reviews

A great movie if overlong and slightly unfocused.

Washington carried the film with a great performance worthy of an Oscar nomination if not a win which might have been guaranteed had the director managed to focus.

Spike Lee did a good job as director which is saying a lot, given the historical scope, danger of offense, and controversy of the project. His one weak area in this film was editing. There is no reason this movie couldn't have been half an hour shorter. Right off the bat, there were unnecessarily lingering camera shots and scenes that could have omitted. Off the top of my head, I'm thinking of Spike himself sliding under a woman's skirt and mugging the camera. That scene not only failed to further the story but instead made the audience stand up and say, "Hey, that's Spike looking at us!" Lee's biggest editing mistake was based on his desire to tell the story of Malcolm X AND tell the story of the African-American experience. That's more than enough for several movies so why cram it all under one title? After a clear scene illustrating X's life, Lee would move to a large dance hall to illustrate the richness of the African-American experience. A quick shot of the dance hall would have been sufficient. Instead the far away shots were maintained for too long and when the focus moved back to specific characters it moved to the character played by Lee himself. Why? I don't know. It certainly didn't help us to understand X any better. The ending with children saying "I am Malcolm X" also went on too long and should have been part of a separate feature. The cameos were distracting. The movie could have been tighter, shorter, and better except that Spike Lee wanted to put everything, including the kitchen sink, into it.

That being said, it is a great movie and I'm glad I invested the three and a half hours to watch it.


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