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Chi-Raq (2015)

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A modern day adaptation of the ancient Greek play Lysistrata by Aristophanes, set against the backdrop of gang violence in Chicago, Illinois.


Spike Lee
5 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nick Cannon ... Chi-Raq
Teyonah Parris ... Lysistrata
Wesley Snipes ... Cyclops
Angela Bassett ... Miss Helen
Samuel L. Jackson ... Dolmedes
John Cusack ... Father Mike Corridan
Jennifer Hudson ... Irene
David Patrick Kelly ... General King Kong
D.B. Sweeney ... Mayor McCloud
Dave Chappelle ... Morris
Steve Harris ... Old Duke
Harry Lennix ... Commissioner Blades
Tony Fitzpatrick ... Chief Riptide
Anya Engel-Adams ... Rasheeda
Ebony Joy ... Marcy


After the shooting death of a child hit by a stray bullet, a group of women led by Lysistrata organize against the on-going violence in Chicago's Southside creating a movement that challenges the nature of race, sex and violence in America and around the world.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Spike Lee Joint See more »


Comedy | Crime | Drama | Musical

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content including dialogue, nudity, language, some violence and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Official site





Release Date:

2 December 2016 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Chi-Raq See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,198,356, 6 December 2015, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,647,377, 24 January 2016
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This is the first original film to be released by Amazon Studios. See more »


At the end when the peace signing ceremony is being conducted all the parties involved are on one side of the signing table which is in front of them between the seats of the amphitheater with all the visible seats empty. See more »


Father Mike Corridan: Guns have become part of America's wardrobe.
See more »


References Coffy (1973) See more »


I See the Light
Written by Michael Drayton
Published by Michael Drayton Music (BMI)
Performed by Sophia Byrd
Produced by Michael Drayton
See more »

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User Reviews

A Review Written in Ironic Pentameter
17 March 2016 | by bkrauser-81-311064See all my reviews

The newest joint from director Spike Lee, is a bizarre experiment for all to see.

Told in a brash tone, preaching with a megaphone, promising to make heads roll, And influenced by the writings of old Aristophanes.

Lysistrata (Parris) is the main squeeze of Chi-Raq (Cannon), A man with hopes to rap and plans attacks with and between two rival clans.

There's similarities between another two households alike in dignity, Down to the the colors worn during their mutiny.

So hopeless is their feud, no faction can collude to end, The violence penned and pent up in the hearts of these men.

So too does Lysistrata makes her nihilism known, Until an innocent is slain by a bullet in stray.

Plotting with Miss Helen (Bassett) and her sisters to atone, The ladies decide to keep their menfolk at bay.

Thus swayed with a solemn oath to end the specter of death, From the streets of the City with Big Shoulders, The women of Chicago swear with resounding shibboleth, To go on sex strike until the violence is over.

Much like this review, the film is in rhyme, which can grind, The gears of many not willing to meet it halfway, The characters imbue parody and are unable to find, Balance between the real and distorted morality play.

Overwrought with the thoughts and ersatz of bathetic farce, There's still something radical with which few can parse; Like when the gals take the armory, like Greeks to the treasury, The choruses of men and women can't help but find, A sincere quest for peace too abstruse for the blind.

Thus this film is a siren's call for peace that should be heard, Even if it is incredibly uneven in places.

The sui generis of such a movie bends to the absurd, Yet the message is true thus putting me in it's good graces.

There was much hullabaloo about it's offensive fantasy, Minimizing the tragedy of a besieged Windy City.

I for one stopped myself from attending a screening, As Chicago is second home thus this treatment is demeaning.

Yet firstly, this film is supposed to be skit and travesty, While the reasons for violence is complex, the act is absurdity! Why not have an expression that typifies the high camp of low brutality.

Why not revel in the message of love, that which comes from above, Below and inside the mourning, healing hearts and souls thereof.

There are many reasons to hate: revenge, opportunity, resource, religion, Politics, poverty, power, cash, race and competition.

Yet there is only one reason for love.

Secondly the source material is Greek in more ways than one, Comprehending the pathos of such a think piece maligned, Appropriates the fields of Thalia, Euterpe and Clio entwined.

It's not the who, what, where or when but why, when all is said and done.

And how strongly you feel by the tears and blood shed, When all players arrived, sheathed in white, bathed in the glory, Indemnified by a campaign ignited by Leymah Gbowee.

They end in the way a comedy should, in jubilation and ascension.

A better understanding made possible by an old form.

In modernity and convention we're given new dimension, With which to understand what's sadly a new norm.

Manipulative? Simplistic? Sexist? Maybe; Greek comedies are not exactly known for their subtlety.

Neither is Lee who hungrily experiments with novelty, Blusters with the voracity of his new expression, Not bothered or concerned with the asylum of discretion.

He's a maverick through and through, taking risks made bear, By a new form first fashioned by the surname Lumiere.

It tries, it fails, it gets back up again and fights the good fight, Using to make right the names of Jackson, Bassett and Snipes.

Is this movie acropolis or apocryphal? Watch and decide.


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