13 user 42 critic

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution (2015)

Not Rated | | Documentary, History | 23 October 2015 (UK)
2:32 | Trailer
This documentary tells the rise and fall of the Black Panther Party, one of the 20th century's most alluring and controversial organizations that captivated the world's attention for nearly 50 years.


Stanley Nelson


Stanley Nelson
Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Blair Anderson ... Self - Black Panther Party
Omar Barbour Omar Barbour ... Self - Black Panther Party
Julian Bond ... Self - Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee [SNCC]
Elaine Brown ... Self - Black Panther Party
Scot Brown Scot Brown ... Self - Historian
William Calhoun ... Self - Black Panther Party
Clayborne Carson ... Self - Historian
Eldridge Cleaver ... Self - Black Panther Party (archive footage)
Kathleen Cleaver ... Self - Black Panther Party (archive footage)
Dennis Cunningham Dennis Cunningham ... Self - Attorney
Emory Douglas ... Self - Black Panther Party
Flores Forbes ... Self - Black Panther Party
Sherwin Forte ... Self - Black Panther Party
Ronald Freeman ... Self - Black Panther Party
Roland Freeman ... Self - Black Panther Party
Learn more

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This documentary tells the rise and fall of the Black Panther Party, one of the 20th century's most alluring and controversial organizations that captivated the world's attention for nearly 50 years.

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Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


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User Reviews

Great subject but the film maybe could have been stronger
22 November 2015 | by Red-BarracudaSee all my reviews

This is the story of the revolutionary group, The Black Panthers. Formed in the late 60's, they were an anti-capitalist, left wing militant group formed by disenfranchised black citizens originally in Oakland, California. Their formation was a result of the continued harassment and police brutality their people suffered in American cities at that time. It was a separate incarnation from the Civil Rights movement which had been specifically about redressing the actual lack of equal rights for black people in the American southern states. The Black Panthers were formed to stand up for blacks in the more 'equal' urban areas who were still put upon by the white authorities and who still suffered much racism. They famously had an image of openly bearing arms and their overall approach was of a more confrontational style than that preached by Martin Luther King. Just as important, their look became very chic, dressed all in black, wearing berets, leather jackets and shades, they also sported afro haircuts in an unashamed way for the first time in contemporary America. The idea was to visually show that black was beautiful in its natural form. The look certainly resonated with images of the group making the front covers of various magazines; it remains iconic to this day.

The film is made up by a combination of extensive archive footage from the time and current interviews with past members of the group. It tries to understand some of the motivations and ambitions of the group, while looking at some of their opponents such as the head of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover who seemed quite obsessed with eradicating the group. In one telling clip he even states that he doesn't consider the concept of justice as being all that important and that law and order was what he was all about. So it's perhaps not so surprising that this philosophy led to an infamous incident where a prominent member of the Black Panthers was murdered by the Chicago police, an event that is thought to be related to the FBI chief in some way. For some reason though, despite the very interesting subject matter and the dramatic backdrop that the late 60's / early 70's America provides, I felt something lacked from this telling of the story. It never seemed to be as dynamic as it should be and while I learned a few things, it never felt as engaging as it should be and so I left a bit disappointed on the whole. This is certainly an interesting subject though and it does cover quite a lot of ground but I felt it could have been more dynamically told.

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Release Date:

23 October 2015 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$20,215, 6 September 2015

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Color | Black and White (archive footage)
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