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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


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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User Reviews

Power and struggle
28 February 2016 | by paul2001sw-1See all my reviews

What can you do when the system is biased against you? You can resist. Who is drawn to resistance? The young, the restless, those not yet powerful even by the standards of their own communities. What good does violent resistance do? Maybe not much directly, but it helps re-frame a debate in which otherwise the powerless are ignored. The Black Panther Party was a movement established to protect the interests of black Americans in the 1960s. On one hand, they were terrorists whose mandate was self-given; on the other, they really inspired the communities in which they were embedded, to whom the police were just the mightiest local mafia. They combined a message of self-help, pride, the demand for justice, protection and revolutionary fervour; at their worst, they advocated murder (and in return, members were literally murdered by the cops) and (near the end) raised money from drug dealing. Their charismatic leaders ultimately fell out with one another; their eloquent speeches remain compelling today. This documentary, featuring interviews with many surviving Panthers, is a bit one-sided; we don't hear from those within the community who did not approve (there surely must have been some), or (say) from the families of police officers hurt by Panther violence (only from those cops who still take pride in the violence they dealt out). But the sense of anger at the everyday injustice perpetrated on black Americans that drove the Panthers' formation is clear. Ultimately the Panthers had nowhere to go; their last significant act was in electoral politics, both admirable and yet strangely unambitious for an organisation that had been committed to the overthrow of the government of the United States. Of the Panthers' three most famous members, two are dead, one having become addicted to drugs and the other having become a Republican. But Bobby Seale still lives as a community activist in the Bay Area. And for all the problems, this documentary leaves one (mostly) impressed by what he tried to do.

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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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Technical Specs



Color | Black and White (archive footage)
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