O.J.: Made in America (2016) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
69 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Simply put: this is the ultimate documentary (and not just about the O.J. case)
gogoschka-123 February 2017
Watching a 7.5-hour long documentary about a case we all think we know may seem a daunting task at first, but trust me: you'll have a very hard time to resist the urge to binge watch the whole mini series once you've started. This documentary (which to me felt like a seven-and-a-half-hour feature film) is - in my humble opinion - one of the greatest achievements in American filmmaking and utterly captivating from the beginning to the end.

Where the equally brilliant but fictional series 'The Wire' took the topic of crime as a means to cast a look at all aspects and social layers of a whole city (Baltimore), 'O.J.: Made in America' examines the life and crimes of a single man (albeit one leading a very public life) to cast a very close look at American society as a whole, and the result is the most complete, in-depth analysis of the divided nation's collective psyche I have ever seen.

The portrait that emerges is so fascinating and so revealing and educational (and I hate to admit: thrillingly entertaining) that I believe this should be recommended viewing in schools and colleges across the country. And if you think: "Meh, I know that story, it's been all over the news - not interested", think again. Trust me, you do not know this story (or better: these stories). And there's a big chance you'll understand a great deal more about America once you've finished watching this masterpiece.

I know I'm dishing out superlatives here, but it's like director Ezra Edelman made the ultimate documentary - perhaps even the ultimate film. 'O.J.: Made in America' functions on so many levels; it's like watching a whole collection of films where the same protagonist inexplicably lives through a wide array of very different stories (which somehow STILL manage to end up as ONE cohesive tale). Just to give you an impression how rich this documentary is, I tried to count the stories and most dominant themes and found at least 10 (although you could probably find more):

1. There's the fascinating story of a poor kid from the ghetto rising through sheer will and enormous talent to become an American icon and superstar.

2. There's a great - and uplifting - sport story (especially for Football fans) that is usually the material of Hollywood films.

3. There's the very human drama of a genuine love story turning into an abusive relationship plagued by domestic violence.

4. There's the mesmerizing and shocking murder mystery;

5. the thrilling courtroom drama;

6. a razor-sharp satire about our and our media's unhealthy fixation on celebrities;

7. an unbelievable, surreal story of a nationwide man-hunt that gives Spielberg's 'Sugarland Express' a run for its money;

8. a close examination of the U.S. judicial system;

9. the story of the rise and the very, very steep fall of a man who had it all and lost everything;

10. an eye-opening story about race relations in America over the past 50 years

And as incredible as it may seem, those stories are all real.

The way Edelman managed to put them all together to forge this groundbreaking documentary can't be praised enough. A unique experience. 10 stars out of 10.

Favorite TV-Shows reviewed: imdb.com/list/ls075552387/

Favorite films: IMDb.com/list/mkjOKvqlSBs/

Lesser-Known Masterpieces: imdb.com/list/ls070242495/

Favorite Low-Budget and B-Movies: imdb.com/list/ls054808375/
80 out of 91 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Is this the final chapter?
neil-swift-2345324 February 2017
Well is it the final chapter? I seriously doubt it. We all must have seen numerous documentaries about OJ and what happened or didn't happen and we all have our own version of what we think happened. Some older people (like me) may remember watching this as it happened and some may have caught up after the fact but it's still a fascinating watch.

This is as comprehensive as it gets, and at seven and a half hours does cover it very comprehensively. I did it in three instalments and never got bored on any occasion. It was factual, with actual footage of the trail, and is updated with commentary provided by many who were involved.

I'm not gonna take sides and slam or praise anyone but be assured, you will. No matter how you think things went down you will have a good guy and bad guy scenario and like me you will become a little louder than normal.

Well worth a watch even though it takes a while.
19 out of 22 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Well-Produced Episode Focuses on LAPD and Simpson's Pattern of Domestic Abuse
lavatch14 June 2016
Warning: Spoilers
The second episode in the five-part series "O.J.: Made in America" attempts to weave together two stories. The film provides in-depth coverage of (1) the racially insensitive and abusive practices of the Los Angeles police department and the judicial system in the 1970s and '80s and (2) the troubled marriage of O.J. Simpson and Nicole Brown, focusing on the well-documented pattern of domestic abuse.

At the core of the film's depiction of LAPD is the Rodney King incident. The filmmakers' decision to play over and over the amateur film footage of the beating of King reinforces the severity of the violence of this disgraceful incident. The incomprehensible verdict in exonerating the four white police officers who committed the beating speaks volumes about the amoral police department and the judicial system of Los Angeles.

The profile of law enforcement in Los Angeles was the backdrop for the substantial evidence of domestic abuse committed by O.J. Simpson. Through documentary materials (including Nicole's diary and police reports) and eyewitness testimony, it becomes clear that as a celebrity, O.J. Simpson had enough clout to prevent the star-struck LAPD from prosecuting him for domestic abuse.

The hypocrisy of individual police offers is truly appalling, as depicted in the film. One scene recounts how two Brentwood cops would knock on the door of Simpson's home just to bask in the glow of the magical aura of "The Juice." The racist approach to law enforcement in the highly segregated Los Angeles basin was contrasted with the double standard applied to Simpson, whose celebrity status apparently offered him immunity from prosecution for serious offenses in domestic violence.

One of the most shocking moments in the film was the testimony of a policeman with integrity, who arrived at the Simpson home after one of Nicole's 911 calls. The officer prepared a detailed report of the injuries to Nicole, then kept a personal copy, suspecting that O.J. would be given a free pass by the high command of the Brentwood police. According to the cop, the number of incidents and the severity of the abuse should have resulted in the prosecution of O.J. Simpson for a felony. According to the cop, O.J. even fled the scene in his Bentley in order to avoid talking to police. Apparently even fleeing a crime scene did not figure in the LAPD's brazen failure to enforce the law and protect Nicole.

In this extremely well-researched and well-produced episode, the viewer is left with disgust at the conduct of the LAPD and the breakdown of the American judicial system that was apparent long before "the trial of the century." One also wonders why prosecutor Marcia Clark could not have presented the facts about Simpson's long-standing pattern of domestic abuse as effectively as the makers of this documentary film.
11 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A stunning and insightful doco
eddie_baggins4 July 2017
As a child of the early 90's, growing up I was aware of OJ Simpson and the trial of the century, in as much as you learn to vividly recall seeing images of a glove that doesn't fit but what I most surely wasn't aware of was the backstory behind what made Orenthal James "Juice" Simpson the figure he was and the landscape in America that was surrounding him at the time of his trial for the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and unfortunate bystander Ron Goldman.

An exhaustive 7 hour documentary commissioned by ESPN films and the winner of this year's Best Documentary Feature at the Academy Awards, Ezra Edelman's layered and insightful examination of OJ Simpson from his rise to a football god to a washed up party animal that is now still serving time for armed robbery and kidnapping, is all anyone would ever need to get a fully-fledged rundown of the history behind one of America's greatest icon's spectacular fall from grace.

While the story of OJ from a sporting star and a culture crossing media sensation right through to his days suited up in court would be enough to cover countless hours of fascinating viewing, one of the most impressive feats of Edelman's documentary is the way in which he incorporates various other components into his film to give context to what was laying behind the scenes of OJ's superstardom and the time when he was under the watchful eye of America and the world, as his trial made its way into people's lounge rooms across the globe.

Its truly fascinating getting glimpses into OJ's early life as he transcended race to become a favourite of American's, both white and black and Edelman's carefully constructed examination of the racial tension and history behind animosity between the police force in the USA (within Los Angeles in particular) and the black community ended up influencing and increasing the publics fierce following of the OJ trial.

It's likely there will never be a sporting star like Simpson or a celebrity that had such universal pulling power over a huge collection of fans and races and it's surely safe to say that there would never be a case like the Simpson case, which makes looking back on it all these years on as intense as it ever was. These facts make Edelman's documentary (really a mini-series) a must watch for those both new to the case like me or for those that remember not only the Juice as an on field deity, but a man brought down from the highest highs to the lowest of lows.

Final Say –

O.J: Made in America is an absolute must watch. You need not be either a sports fan or an OJ acolyte to be pulled in and captivated by Edelman's extensively researched and carefully put together product, that acts as not only an essential look at OJ's life and trial but also a heartbreaking look at how the mighty can fall from great heights with a resounding crash.

5 Heisman Trophy's out of 5
7 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Outstanding Documentary. In Memory of Nicole and Ron.
FabledGentleman15 July 2016
This is one of the best documentaries i have ever seen. After recently watching the "not as good" "The People vs OJ Simpson" with John Travolta and Cuba Gooding Jr. This documentary was definitely a breath of fresh air.

The depth of it, the attention to all the details, the interviews, the massive amount of research that has gone into it. It is massive, to make this documentary is a tremendous undertaking, and is nothing but outstanding. It manages to keep you nailed to your seat for almost 8 hours, you sit and watch as you shake your head in disbelief. This documentary is nothing short of a masterpiece.

Even though most of us have heard about this story time and time again, and made up our minds years ago, the documentary gives you a new fresh look at things, you start from the very beginning. We follow OJ all the way back to when he started to become noticed as a good football player, and we follow him all the way to his fall from the top of the mountain.

The documentary does not take sides, which would be a terrible decision for any director to pursue, so after you have seen it, you have the ability to make up your own mind. Did OJ do it? Or did he not? I was never in doubt he was guilty of killing his wife and her friend, and this documentary didn't strengthen my opinion or weaken it, but it made me feel so sorry for Nicole Simpson and what she had been through, it is truly heartbreaking. I sit her and feel i wish i could go back in time and save her.

All the beatings, the abuse and the terror she had to endure through the years, she was the mother of his children, and was slaughtered as a pig, left to bleed out alongside her friend who were also bleeding out. And the guy who did it, got away free with murder. Horrible, just horrible.

The documentary does not filter this by censuring crime scene photos, no it shows them in close ups. To see what rage a person must have felt the moment he slices a woman's throat right in to her neck while she is still alive.

Now this is graphic, it is, but i think the documentary does it right by showing this to us. This is about the trial of the century, where a famous man faces the most famous justice system in the world. Will this justice system judge him based on the evidence?. Well most of us already know the outcome.

But why did this end the way it did?. There are details we have never seen or heard before, there are people that has not been able to speak out properly, this documentary has gathered key people from OJ's life all the way back to his childhood, and it builds an image of him, detailed, slowly, but never boring, it shows us who OJ really was, and how he became that way.

All the years after the murder of his wife, and OJ did nothing to find "the real killer". He was laughing and dancing, he had custody of his children, he lived a good life in a very nice house, and lived the dream as most others can't even dream of.

Watching all these clips of him, doing all this, and celebrating life as it was himself that was the god of it all, made me feel deeply sad for Nicole. If only someone had prevented this, if only someone could have done something.

I can never get those images of Nicole and Ron's crime scene photos out of my head. But i had to see them to feel how i do now.

Amazing documentary, highly recommended, both for those who know about the case and followed it, and for those who know nothing about it. See it, learn from it, and take in that this can actually happen.

My verdict is : 10/10
59 out of 81 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
In detail view of an American tragedy
minister_of_silly_walks6 February 2019
A detailed view of the life of the infamous O.J. Simpson starting with his NFL carrier and his rise to an American icon to his downfall caused by one night in 1994. An excellent documentary series executed to perfection.
5 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Engrossing Recreation of a Terrible Moment in American Culture
evanston_dad25 March 2017
A blistering and engrossing documentary about the O.J. Simpson murder trial that explores how the sensational event became a symbol for the racial tension that was just waiting to boil over in Los Angeles in particular and the United States in general.

I was in college when the O.J. story happened, and I only half paid attention to it at the time, so it was fascinating for me to watch this film that seemed like a new version of an old story. The film makes no attempt to hide the filmmakers' opinion that the innocent verdict in the case was a gross miscarriage of justice, but I have to admit that, though I've always believed O.J. was guilty too, I would probably have acquitted him myself as a juror based on the dismal way the prosecution handled the case.

But the grossest outrage about the whole event -- I felt it at the time and I felt it again watching the movie -- is that the murders that made the whole trial necessary in the first place were forgotten amid the racial baiting and the defense's willingness to capitalize on the emotions of an angry and disenfranchised black community.

A seven-hour documentary may sound daunting at the beginning, but I challenge you not to binge watch it.

Winner of the 2016 Oscar for Best Documentary Feature, a complete no brainer of a win.

Grade: A
5 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Great American Crime Saga
RussHog16 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
This documentary explores the murder trial of O.J. Simpson - but it focuses not only on the lives of the people involved - but also the socio-political backdrop of Los Angeles. A city where the police acted as a militarized force against the black communities at a disparaging rate - and the courts seemed to protect the police and persecute the blacks. At the same time - to be rich in Los Angeles - was to be able to literally - get away with cold blooded murder.

From out of this landscape - came the crime of the century. Where the beloved and wealthy O.J Simpson - a college football star, professional player, move star, and celebrity, was accused of a horrific homicide - taking a knife and butchering his wife and her friend. He would then lead the police on bizarre chase that was watched by millions of Americans. He was even cheered on by thousands of people who waited on the road to watch him pass by.

After his arrest came the trial of the century - a tale that not even Shakespeare could have written. The trial would be broadcast live and watched by millions of people around the world. It was one of the biggest events in history. The defense was made up of a team of specialists who were paid fifty thousand dollars a day to poke holes in the prosecutors case - and boy did they ever! Racist cops. Allegedly planted evidence. Murder gloves that do not fit.

But what makes this more interesting - is that despite the defense theories - the evidence against O.J Simpson was overwhelming. He was home at the time of the murders. He had a history of severe domestic abuse. Stalking. He had cuts on his hands from a knife that he could not explain. There was simply no one else with the means, motive, and opportunity to murder these people. Yet - the jury acquitted him after only three hours of deliberation!

The jurors were made up of nine black women. The DA had decided to keep the trial in downtown Los Angeles so it would seem to be a more balanced prosecution. But the jury would later admit that O.J Simpson was acquitted because they wanted revenge on the city of Los Angeles for the mistreatment of the black community at the hands of the police department. After the footage the documentary shows - it is difficult not to sympathize with the jurors plight. Their community was under siege. They retaliated.

Even more astonishing - was that OJ Simpson had never been a defender of the black community. In fact, he had distanced himself from the black community almost all of his life. Yet they protected him - and to the black community it was a sign of progress for a black person who be acquitted in a court of law - even if they were guilty. Perhaps that is a racial quagmire that I - and all other white people - should fathom - before we pass judgment?

OJ Simpson would be found not guilty, but his crimes would haunt him for the rest of his days. His friends distanced themselves. He lost much of his fortune. He was even found liable in a civil trial of the murders. His life imploded into drugs, alcohol, and buffoonery. He ran with a crew of misfits and losers and scumbags and con artists. Finally - he would commit a stupid armed robbery to get some of his old memorabilia back and he would at last be sentenced to decades in prison.

One cannot help but notice that all of America is on trial in this documentary - and that in a sense - justice was indeed done. The city of Los Angeles was punished for their crimes. O.J. Simpson was finally punished for his crimes. Perhaps there is no way to make sense out of all of this - except to learn from this story - and try not to repeat history?

I should ad - this documentary is simply far more complex than any written review can explain. It had tremendous interviews with the colorful cast of characters involved. Footage of heartbreaking loss. Intense struggle. And even the heroic actions of the family of the murder victims - whose pursuit of justice would not go unanswered.
14 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The In Depth Story That Needed To Be Told
buddhalou13 June 2016
I have been very impressed with the scope and quality of this much anticipated documentary. While I enjoyed the inaugural season of American Crime Story with O.J. Simpson as its subject, it was a) a dramatization, and b) solely focused on the infamous murder case. This documentary, on the other hand takes us back to OJ's junior college days and examines, as its title suggests, what made O.J. Simpson the man he became. Seeing the rise of Simpson's football stardom put in context of the turbulent times during his days at USC was eye- opening. Using a bounty of old footage and interviews, we are shown the single-mindedness and sense of purpose that drove O.J. from the earliest days of his career and his complete disconnect from the racial tensions and the equal rights movement going on around him - perhaps, tellingly so. The filmmakers also do an amazing job of examining the people, the events and circumstances in the Los Angeles community which led an atmosphere in the city that undeniably had an impact on the investigation, the trial and the verdict in what has rightly been called the trial of the century.
39 out of 58 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
One of the Best Documentaries Ever
Z3Six4 August 2016
Warning: Spoilers
When you board this fast moving train of a documentary, just remember....its an express. You can't get off until it arrives at its final destination. It takes you through O.J.'s birth in 1947 to current day O.J.. Masterfully edited and pieced together as if it were some kind of gigantic puzzle, then released to us in the form of a spectacular documentary that shall go down as one of the best (including Ken Burns work), if not the best, ever made. You cannot stop watching it once you start, so brace yourself for over seven hours of totally engrossing and fascinating film. Not even the best fiction writers could dream up anything better than this....and this is nothing but pure, unadulterated reality....true life with real deaths. The details, some very grisly, are in the film. This is a Jekyll and Hyde film that actually happened, and continues today as O.J. continues his miserable existence as a prison inmate. -30-
11 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
America on Trial
jadepietro19 June 2016
(RATING: ☆☆☆☆½ out of 5)


IN BRIEF: A compelling documentary that focuses on a city on fire and the "Trial of the Century".


SYNOPSIS: The O.J. Simpson trial and the many factors influencing the verdict and its aftermath.

JIM'S REVIEW: There is a fascinating 7½ hour documentary that premiered on ABC and ESPN television stations this past week and is currently streaming which is worth your attention. O.J.: Made in America may be overly long and in some need of judicious editing in parts, but it is a fascinating in-depth look back at the "Trial of the Century" and its repercussions that are relevant today.

The brutal murder of Simpson's ex-wife, Nicole Brown and her friend, Ron Goldman, on June 12, 1994 immediately made headlines and spawned a media circus, showing the incompetent handling of the case by the LAPD and District Attorney's office, and the unethical maneuverings of the prosecuting team, led by Robert Shapiro and Johnnie Cochran, to free their client and exploit the legal system.

Documentarian Ezra Edelman culled over hours of archival footage, news segments, and interviews (both then and now) to create a timely chronicle of the O.J. Simpson trial and the political unrest of a racially-divided city. He delves into the numerous 911 calls prior to the murder and Nicole's personal diary with many passages about the physical abused she suffered in her marriage to this volatile celebrity. Mr. Edelman astutely assembles new interviews with many of the people involved with the case which brings us access to observe a broken judicial system in retrospect.

The documentary shares a balanced look at the man and equally at the era. It begins with a before-and-after approach, first showing this famous incarcerated man and providing flashbacks depicting an up-and-coming young college athlete beginning his exulted career. The effect is startling. Seeing O.J. in his prime sheds new light of the man and his later fall from grace. We learn about his homophobia toward his gay estranged father, his gift for talking himself out of situations at an early age (which may have given him a false sense of security throughout his life), his lack of involvement with Civil Right issues, his innate kindness to his teammates, and the tragic death of his daughter which ended his first marriage, events that were unknown to this reviewer. We also hear of O.J's constant womanizing, his insatiable ego, his life cavorting with the rich and famous of Brentwood, his sexist and privileged attitude, and his intense jealousy and violence toward his second wife that went unheeded. Fame and wealth brought him the good life and finally corrupted the man.

But the other character in this multi-faceted tragedy is L.A. itself and the racism and injustice by the police force. Mr. Edelman's need to parallel these two tangents with the murder trial itself to make his film more complete is noteworthy, but it also gives his documentary too much latitude into this area. The film meanders into the prejudice and hate that was so rampant at the time, with the Watts riots, the Rodney King beating, and the senseless murders of African- Americans in the hands of the LAPD as the backdrop to the subsequent trial. Perhaps too much time is spent on this topic (and the famous Bronco chase) which is overstated but essential filler. Here is an accused man who erased race from his own life only to rely on it later for his freedom. That is just one irony among many. (Another is Simpson's ability to pay for his legal defense via selling autographed sports memorabilia when still being incarcerated for these murders.)

The numerous interviews and comments with former friends and colleagues are enlightening and seeing the actual cast of characters that played their parts in the trial is riveting. Particularly memorable are the words of attorney Marcia Clark, a still grieving Fred Goldman, former head D.A. Gil Garcetti, prosecuting lawyer Carl Douglas, detectives Tom Lange and Mark Fuhrman, and former friends Robin Greer, Ron Shipp, and Joe Bell. Their personal knowledge adds important details to this complicated story.

Probably the most interesting aspect about the film is the mixed emotions and personal biases felt by the jurors. (Deliberations of the verdict lasted a few hours with one member, a former Black Panther, saluting the plaintiff upon exiting the jury box.) That, and the questionable decisions handed down by the judge, Lance Ito, throughout the trial helped the prosecution play their successful "race card". Unable to see certain evidence (O.J. prior violent activities, the 911 calls, the graphic blood scene photos, the direct DNA blood connection), and falling for the grandstanding antics of that bloodied glove and a pre-staged jury's visit to Simpson's home completely changed for maximum African-American emphasis, the outcome seemed like a sure acquittal from the start. (That latter stunt by the prosecution team alone would have created a mistrial today.) O.J. may have been found not guilty, (no spoiler here), but the LAPD and their botched investigation were the ones really on trial.

O.J.: Made in America is a powerful documentary and one of the year's best films. (One would hope that it would qualify for Academy Award consideration next year, although it eluded any theatrical release as yet.) The film depicts an America filled with racial hate and anger. It shines a spotlight on domestic abuse issues. It highlights our fascination with celebrity worship and a willingness to give free rein to the lifestyle of the rich and famous while two innocent people receive no sign of justice. Mr. Edelman's epic achievement may give these victims their dues and finally a bit of justice as well.
36 out of 59 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
in-depth examination
SnoopyStyle21 June 2016
ESPN tackles the subject of O.J. Simpson in an in-depth documentary start from his football career to his L.A. life to the trial and finally his conviction in a different case. After the compelling American Crime Story, this is a great way to provide the context. This is not simply a sports doc or a doc about the trial. This digs into the pervasive racism in the LAPD and the history of race conflicts in the area. It's also very in-depth in its examination of O.J.'s personality. This doc lays it all out very well. The trial itself is less in-depth but it's interesting in a couple of ways. There are two of the jurors as well as a harrowing explanation and pictures of the crime scene. They really bring out more reality out of the trial. This fills out everything surrounding the case. The ACS is a fun pseudo-reality drama. This doc is great at filling out the actual reality.
19 out of 29 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A Great Start
Michael_Elliott17 June 2016
O.J.: Made in America Part 1 (2016)

**** (out of 4)

The first part of the five part series takes a look at the early days of O.J. Simpson as he became a star at USC before heading to the NFL where he would struggle at first before eventually going for 2,000 yards in one season. While all of this is going on on the field, off he's becoming more and more popular through various ads where he becomes a spokesman who can target both white and black America.

There have been countless documentaries done on O.J. Simpson and I think many wondered what the point of another one was. I've seen most of the films out there on Simpson and I too wondered if a seven plus hour documentary was needed. Well, this first part was somewhat of a revelation because it really makes you remember what O.J. was like before those 1994 events. The first part of this documentary is really remarkable because of how many great details are packed into the running time and it perfectly captures the mood of the country as well as what made O.J. so special that he could take it over.

Not only is the college and NFL career of O.J. covered but so are his Hollywood days where he really made an impact even when most were probably betting against him. The film also covers the Civil Rights movement where athletes like Jim Brown and Ali were willing to risk their career and money to take a stand while O.J. seemed to either not care or just didn't want to bother because he cared more about himself.

By the time this first episode is over you certainly have your brain re-charged on who O.J. was and you really can't wait to dig into the future episodes.
10 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
One of The Best Documentaries Ever Made
85122222 October 2017
Greetings from Lithuania.

"O.J.: Made in America" (2016) was without a doubt one of the very best documentaries I've ever seen, maybe even actually the best one - and i saw a few to say the least.

Although i do not live in America, i knew about some of these events before seen "O.J.: Made in America" (2016). It did not surprise me that at the end of this amazing documentary i end up almost seemingly seen a chapter from America's history, because it took for this series almost 8 hours to do it. What i was surprised about is that i couldn't imagine at the beginning that it was going to be done so convincingly great and crystal clear.

"O.J.: Made in America" features 5 episodes that all runs for almost 8 hours. But let this not scare you if kinda thinking to see it - i can't remember when the last time i was so absorb when watching a documentary.

"O.J" himself is shown here at center of events. Basically it is a biopic about his life, but at the same time if features events in Los Angeles that were surrounding him before and at the time of his (in)famous case. And all of this was shown in a very crystal clear fashion - i literally couldn't put this series down until its final frame.

Overall, "O.J.: Made in America" is magnificent look at the America's history. At the center of the event is "O.J." himself and its a fascinating look at the true American tragedy as one person puts it. Definitely one of the very, very best documentaries ever made.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An ambitious, ground-breaking production that pays off marvellously
davideo-230 July 2017
STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning ** Sunday Night * Monday Morning

O.J. Simpson had it all: fame, fortune and adoration by millions of fans, a sporting icon on a par with Muhammed Ali or Joe Frazier. He had travelled from the ghetto to the open arms of Los Angeles, where his prowess on the football field amazed everyone, playing a big part in winning the UCLA 1967 football tournament. He broke through the racial divide of the time, and was accepted into the predominantly white society, taking him away from the troubles and upheavals that the majority of African Americans were caught up in in America at the time. Whilst Ali took a stand by refusing to fight in Vietnam, and two black American athletes were sent home for making a black power gesture, he soaked up the celebrity lifestyle, detaching himself completely. As his football career drew to a close, he began a relationship with white waitress Nicole Brown, after his first marriage had collapsed, which got everyone talking, but masked a volatile and destructive home life, which would result in a double homicide.

And so began the 'trial of the century', with a massive sports icon on trial. But the very thing that O.J. had ignored on his way up, would be the very thing that saved him on his way down. In the late 80s and early 90s, L.A. was once again in the grip of a massive race war, with the African American community getting caught up in various episodes of excessive force from the police and instances of individual injustice, culminating in the acquittal of several white police officers in the heavy beating of Rodney King. With a heavy blow, the predominantly black jury swung their revenge, and O.J. was set free. But afterwards, his life descended into a tawdry, degrading mess, where he ended up finding himself caught up in a robbery at gunpoint in a Las Vegas hotel room that did result in his incarceration.

I still feel too young to be having distant memories, but the trial of O.J. Simpson is one thing I do remember from far back during the summer of 1995, while I was on holiday in Florida as an eleven year old kid, to his earth shattering acquittal when I was back on these shores. Even at such a young age, I, like many others, was astonished at his getting freed when all the evidence quite clearly pointed to his guilt, but this served to highlight the mind blowing power of money and celebrity, and the incredulous fortunes it can afford you. With such a dark cloud hanging over his head, Simpson has never been allowed to fade into the background, popping up here and there as a point of interest. Filmmaker Ezra Edelman has produced this ultra thorough, in-depth dissection of the man, through his calculated rise to the top as a member of an oppressed community, through to the false image of a devoted husband despite the turbulent home life, and his worrying lack of emotion after Nicole's death.

Even in the days when epic, large scale productions were the norm, seven and a half hours would have been a massive ask for anyone, so it's best if you prepare yourself in advance and strap yourself in for the course, but luckily it's all broken into three parts, and the payoff is an absorbing, thoroughly engrossing production, that leaves absolutely no stone unturned and leaves you feeling as though you've been on a journey in film like absolutely nothing else you've seen before. *****
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
a movie about OJ, but a movie also about all of us, in the 90's and in 2016
Quinoa198410 December 2016
Why make a documentary like this that's in five parts and totals out to 7 1/2 hours? I suspect that in a way seeing the film now at the end of 2016 this takes on another tone altogether and is still painfully relevant in a lot of ways. But to say it first, here is an absolutely unexpected and surprisingly deep question to ponder, which I think 'Made in America' does especially: is there any empathy, let alone sympathy, for Simpson? Empathy may be the tougher one to call, at least for me (frankly as a white guy who hasn't done s*** in his life relatively to the man once called 'Juice' with total love). What this does accomplish, however, is to put Simpson into such a grand context of this *entire nation*, what it means to be black in America but also, more maybe more especially, to be something of a GOD to people. In other words, what transcends getting your ass beaten by the cops ala Rodney King?

This is a very long series but nearly ever moment is worth it for the question about how to reconcile the fact that so many, many African Americans were so happy when Simpson was acquitted of murder. This isn't even the central question though, at least as far as I can tell. If there is one it's this: what do people truly *see* in another person, as far as an issue or a moment in the media goes? Simpson had many moments as a star athlete in college at USC and then as a player for the Buffalo Bills. But I think if his career had ended there, if he had only been *OK* as a football player, America overall, the media and the public around the circus created, wouldn't have paid as much attention. OJ, through his own dogged perseverance and (certainly for the time) likability, got into commercials and acting jobs. He loved playing golf and being of the upper class community of Brentwood with its mansions and pools and god knows what else. An image was created and, in a sense, this image carried him into white America (and while black America surely loved him still, I'm saying pre-murders, it was the white America that counted actually, and which he sought out more, i.e. his coveted picture with J Edgar Hoover).

Meanwhile, director Ezra Edelman is building in the first two segments of this doc, for nearly three hours, the story of racial tensions in Los Angeles especially - the Watts riots and Rodney King and the 92 riots, of course, but also little heard stories like a woman who's house was practically destroyed by rabid (white) cops, and then a teenage girl shot by a Korean shopkeeper who got a slap on the wrist - contrasted with OJ's rise and then his shocking marriage to Nicole Brown. I think it's important that, not unlike the Murphy FX series, Edelman surely shows and acknowledges what people still think - hey, here's a BLACK man with a WHITE woman - but it's deeper than that, and about what it means to be an abusive man to a woman, any woman (Simpson's first wife/kids is mostly put to the wayside, I may have wanted to know more but maybe there's still only so much to get to in all this time), and this issue of male dominance and Simpson basically creating a Lifetime movie of his own making is contrasted with what was really going on with black America and the dreaded LAPD.

The meat of the series is of course parts 3 and 4 which focus on the trial (one thing I appreciated by the way that this did that Murphy's show oddly left out was showing Simpson as being really a part of his defense, cunning actually, in what he showed and didn't on camera and what he conspired with his attorneys to do). But these first two parts are crucial and significant to setting up what comes after: how the public saw OJ; how the people actually killed, Ron and Nicole, were almost put by the wayside once the race card kicked in; how the prosecution, led by a tough-as-nails Marcia Clark went in thinking she had a fairly simple case, only for this to be knocked down by a) a jury that might not be the smartest (regardless of race) or able to discern BS when presented, and b) a defense team unassuaged at presenting BS (or seizing on slip-ups like the glove) at any given point. What is meant to be something that anyone with critical thinking skills could grasp is taken and distorted before your very eyes and then... the WTF (for half of the country) decision is reached. Oh, and the rich guy fools everyone and gets away with it. ... sound familiar?

The point is, I think that why Made in America is so striking is because, frankly and sadly, America hasn't gotten over the race issues that plagued us before (how many blacks have been killed by cops over the past several years with the cops walking away, visa-vi King), nor its obsession with fame (the Kardashians and the start of their reality show is a nice ironic/coincidence moment). And the filmmaker tells all of this with such a deft grasp of what interviews to use and gets so deep into parts unexpected (i.e. Mark Furman). It's a staggering document of the American experience, of what happens when perhaps the commandment we're told about is broken not with murder or adultery, but of worshiping false idols. Simpson was genuine for a short time, certainly about himself ("I'm not black, I'm OJ!" was his common refrain), but ultimately he worshipped himself, and paid the price.
7 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Fascinating story plays like a Shakespearean Tragedy
cherold4 July 2016
At the time, I didn't understand the fascination with the O.J. Simpson trial. I remember the weird slow-speed police chase of the bronco, which was so peculiar that I couldn't stop watching, but after that I never watched the trial, or read news of the trial, because I barely new who Simpson was and I thought of it as just some salacious celebrity murder case. I had no doubt Simpson was guilty - I mean, he'd gone on the run and been chased down by the cops! - but I didn't have any interest in the process of his being convicted, didn't care about Kato Kaelin or Judge Ito, or any of that.

Then he got off, and it turned out that the case was a huge one about the shocking difference in how white and black America saw U.S. justice.

This documentary puts that trial in context. First, it explains why Simpson was so beloved, portraying his phenomenal sports success and his subsequent celebrity career. It also puts the trial in the context both of the Rodney King beating and of a case I'd never heard of where an Asian woman got no jail time for shooting a black girl in the back of the head.

For white people like me, this was a simple case of a celebrity who savagely murdered his ex. But viewed through the lens of a justice system that seemed built entirely for white people, the trial was something else entirely, and Simpson's pricey lawyers took advantage of that.

The full story of Simpson, from his glory days to his final fall, is like a Shakespeare tragedy, with a shining hero undone by his own darkness. It can also be seen as the story of a cold-stone psychopath who was given a pass for continually beating his wife simply because he was a celebrity with a winning smile.

An excellent documentary, and also a perfect companion piece for the recent TV miniseries, The People vs. O.J. Simpson: An American Crime Story. Between the two, I have now learned a great deal about a case I had no interest in while it was happening.
18 out of 32 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The "Trial of the Century" May Have Said More About US Race Relations than The Juice
classicalsteve17 June 2016
A little less than a century ago as of this writing, "The Crime of the Century" was the Lindbergh Kidnapping case, beginning with the kidnapping and eventually slaying of aviator Charles Lindbergh's son Charles Lindbergh Jr. in 1932 and ending with a conviction of a German immigrant in 1935. Similar to the O.J. Simpson case of 70 years later, the Lindbergh Kidnapping trial had the same kind of sensationalism: celebrity, murder, and public obsession. Reporters and newspapers were constantly offering up-to-date coverage to a public who couldn't get enough about the case. However, there is one huge difference between the two cases. While the Lindbergh case did reveal American distrust of immigrants in certain circumstances, it did not have the biting racial hostility which erupted into public view as with the O.J. Simpson case and the Rodney King case which occurred only three years earlier. What began as a case about the guilt or innocence of O.J. Simpson, famous American Football player and movie star, became a referendum about race.

The present documentary "O.J.: Made in America" is more than a chronological account of the events leading up to the murder of O.J. Simpson's ex-wife, Nicole Brown-Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, and the eventual indictment and acquittal of O.J. Simpson. It's really both a history of O.J. Simpson and the historical context of race relations in the United States in the mid-to-late 20th century, particularly in Los Angeles. Other athletes who fought the injustice of racial segregation and prejudice are briefly profiled, such as the late Mohammed Ali (formerly Cassius Clay) and track stars Tommie Smith and John Carlos who famously raised their fists to signify "Black Power" at the 1968 Olympics held in Mexico City. During much of this tumultuous time, O.J. Simpson is strangely absent from the conflict even though he played football for USC and then eventually for the Buffalo Bills from the late 1960's and throughout the 1970's. (He ended his football career with the San Francisco 49ers at the end of the decade.)

Probably the most revealing aspect of the documentary which chronicles O.J.'s life is how disassociated he was from the African-American community and their struggles for racial equality. Yes, certainly he had African-American friends, but according to interviews in the documentary, he ingratiated himself into the upper-crust of the White community. At certain times in his career he is asked to participate in the cause of racial justice, but he declines, sometimes saying he's not an African-American, but instead saying "I'm O.J." For a time O.J. Simpson was quite possibly the most recognizable athlete in the United States, but he declined to use his status to assist in the cause of racial integration and judicial equality. While at face value there is nothing inherently wrong with his attitudes, it becomes a strange set-up for the events which follow. He divorced his African-American wife of nearly 12 years, Marguerite L. Whitley, and married white aspiring model and photographer Nicole Brown.

He had become, according to his closest associates, the "whitest" African-American in the United States. Even his first commercials with Hertz rental car have subtle undertones of racism. Certainly not overt but subtle. As one interviewee pointed out, when Simpson runs through the airport, he is only acknowledged by Whites. No other African-Americans appear in the advertisement. He is an African-American acknowledged by Whites but that doesn't mean there is a now a categorical acceptance of Blacks among White America. He is the exception rather than the rule.

When O.J.'s former wife Nicole Brown-Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman were found slain, and O.J. became the prime suspect, now the tide of White "acceptance" had turned. As long as he was a successful football player, played in modestly successful films, and stayed out of trouble, which may have included the civil rights struggles, the White public embraced him. Now the White community turned on him as they felt betrayed, and the racial divides came under public scrutiny. (It was speculated that if he had been accused of murdering a black woman, the public would not have been nearly as obsessed with the case.) Certainly other celebrities have faced similar scrutiny and public anger, such as the attack on ice skater Nancy Kerrigan which was eventually pinned to her rival Tonya Harding. But none had ever broken down on such clearly racial divides. And when detective Mark Fuhrman, who claimed he found a bloody glove at the Simpson estate, was found to use racially explosive language, the racial tensions of Los Angeles were again displayed nationally. The trial was all but over. Some have speculated it was pay-back for the acquittals of the police officers in the Rodney King case.

This is a fascinating documentary whose subject matter transcends just the guilt or innocence of O.J. Simpson. This story demonstrates how race does and continues to permeate aspects of American life. Interestingly, many Whites have claimed that defense attorney Johnny Cochran went "out of bounds" by playing the so-called "race card". While I respect those people's points of view, there are too many instances of injustice in which the race card wasn't played, such as in the brutal killing of adolescent Emmett Till in 1955. In no way do I wish to minimize the brutality of the slaying of Nicole Brown-Simpson and Ronald Goldman, but only to say that acts of similar violence and injustice have been perpetrated upon African-Americans and other racial minorities for going on several centuries. The idea that the Simpson acquittal was the grossest miscarriage of justice in the history of United States Jurisprudence is no less than ridiculous. Jim Crowe laws in the south affected thousands if not millions of African-Americans for many decades, some allowing the unjustifiable lynching of many innocent people. Maybe if anything, the case shows that when injustice does happen it is excruciating, no matter which race was victimized.
13 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Not only a detailed look at events leading up to the trial, but a primer for abuse victims.
karolinehere8 October 2016
While I could praise many aspects of this film, what I like best about what the filmmaker did, by devoting a full 10 hours to this story, was that we finally got to "meet" Nicole Brown Simpson.

The woman is dead and her children had to grow up without her, but in all the many years of hype, hustle, and hoopla over her murderer and his spectacular life, she got lost. In some of the news and media coverage I've seen over the years it's as if she never existed at all; as if she was yet another blond, L.A. bimbo who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and so she died. But she got to be very rich before she was murdered, so we needn't spend too much time crying over just another L.A. blond bimbo.

This is a review and a warning. If you watch this and see any aspects of O.J.'s behavior in your relationship: his charm, his manipulations, his fierce jealousy, his desire to control Nicole and monitor what she could or couldn't do with her life, and his many lies, you need to get out now.

Make an escape plan. Get authorities involved in your relationship, whether that's going to a competent therapist (and they are hard to find) to discuss why he treats you like offal and why you stay, or whether it's calling the police the next time he even threatens you, you must get some kind of authorities involved and plan an escape. The reason you need to have authorities involved is so that you have witnesses and unbiased supporters who are outside of your abuser's sphere of influence. You may not always be able to depend on your friends or family to be the supporters who can help you find safety because the same cons and lies your abuser used to get you into a relationship, and to keep you there in spite of how he treats you, are the same manipulations he will use on your friends and family.

It is especially interesting to see this happen in the film. Why didn't officers do a better job of protecting and advocating for Nicole when she called police after the fights? Partly because O.J. conned them, too. He is frighteningly charming. He manipulated the entire Los Angeles legal system. Don't believe for a moment he's the only abuser who has done that, or will.

There is much information for domestic violence survivors online. If you watch this film and think, "Oh my God, that's what my spouse/lover does/says", then don't ever believe this behavior will stop magically in time, or that it will stop if you just try to become the person the abuser says you should be. It won't. You must leave. The abuser might be willing to work on things. Fine. But first you must be safe. So get out and then go to counseling with your partner if they are willing. But only if they are willing. Or don't. You're not doing anything wrong by leaving, no matter what the abuser says. (O.J. did that to Nicole too. He argued that she should stay with him in spite of how he beat her up and flaunted his affairs with other women.) I'm glad someone made this film. It's pretty horrible that it took so long to get made and that O.J. is still the "star" of this story - not his victims or his kids. He got what he wanted out of life, didn't he? He got to be known.
9 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Learned so much with this brilliant documentary
constance2227 August 2016
I lived through the years of this brilliant documentary but I learned so much through it that I never could've known from general news broadcasts.

There is so much in this that is current, which upsets me a lot. I wish that we could all get along as Rodney King said.

There was so much in the trial that seemed unscrupulous, with the Furhman detour and the glove. Marcia Clark, Hodgman and Darden seemed to really put their hearts into their prosecution. The "dream team" are the kind of people only lots of money can buy, and they seemed more like a nightmare to me.

Justice never seems to occur legally but maybe it does morally. I am left wiser from this viewing and also sadder too. I pray for O.J.'s family. I hope they are doing okay and visit him in prison. I feel much sympathy for the Browns and the Goldmans, of course.

Incredible documentary. Academy Award worthy to me.
9 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Prismark1021 May 2017
This Oscar winning documentary is a gargantuan effort to watch clocking in at nearly 8 hours in length. I am not sure it should had been eligible for an Oscar given it really is a television documentary series albeit a comprehensive one.

OJ Simpson was a black man in a poor neighbourhood who grew up to become a prominent footballer. He left behind his black roots to live a comfortable life in LA. Once his career finished he became a sports commentator and an actor. He also became wealthy. He then achieved notoriety when his ex wife and her boyfriend were found murdered and he stood trial for their murders and later acquitted.

This documentary has footage of family, friends, foes to examine every facet of his life. OJ would get into trouble at high school but as his friends mentioned, he would always get away with it because of his prowess as an athlete.

The most revealing think I learned about OJ as a youngster was that his father was bisexual/gay.

The trial bit was the least interesting thing about it even though it attempts to juxtapose US race relations of that era such as the Rodney King beatings from a few years earlier. It is just that I have seen dramas and documentaries about this before as well the real life trial scenes being covered by television networks at the time.

My own personal view of the trial was that the prosecution and the police forensics team did an inept job. Mark Fuhrman might be a racist but it seems he might had been the only competent cop on that crime scene. OJs defence team raised doubts on the forensic evidence, made the prosecution witnesses including police officers look bad and then there was the glove that was too tight to fit on Simpson. Just makes you think, if this was how poor the police and prosecution were for a high profile case, what are they like for everyday crimes?

After the trial and we get to hear from Fred Goldman himself, the father of Ron Goldman. Now it is like a cat and mouse thriller. Fred angry with the travesty of the criminal verdict launches a civil suit against Simpson and wins damages. As Fred said, all he had was a piece of paper, the court order in itself was nothing.

Fred Goldman relentlessly goes on to enforce the court order and doggedly goes after Simpson's assets to satisfy the claim for damages. It took some years but it led to Simpson being hit by a sucker punch as he broke into a Las Vegas casino hotel room to retrieve his memorabilia which landed him in jail for a very long time.

A lot has been said of the OJ story being a Shakespearean tragedy. I just think he was a vain, shallow man, not too bright but cunning who did not realise what a good life he managed to achieve. Upon the time of his arrest for the murders, he had become a worldwide name because of The Naked Gun films. Now he is just a stupid crook in jail.
5 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Payback for Rodney King and prosecution's failure to challenge ludicrous defense police conspiracy theory highlight brilliant 7 1/2 hour documentary
Turfseer29 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Seven and a half hours in length and in five parts, OJ: Made in America can best be described as "Everything you wanted to know about OJ (and race in America) but were afraid to ask." OJ: Made in America is like a giant jig-saw puzzle, and it's up to you to figure out the lessons learned (if any) among the participants in the sordid spectacle known as "The Trial of the Century."

Ezra Edelman produced and directed OJ: Made in America ("OJ:MIA") and was determined from the outset to show the connection between the OJ Trial and the history of resentment built up in the African-American community as a result of years (if not centuries) of discrimination, racism and outright violence perpetrated against it. Hence at the very time OJ came onto the scene as a star football player for the University of Southern California (USC), the Watts riots were happening right next door to the campus, depicted as a bastion of white privilege.

Ironically, the most popular man on campus at that time was OJ himself, who was determined to ingratiate himself with an all-white student body, oblivious to what was going on in the larger community right outside his doorstep. OJ was so determined to shed any connection to his black roots that you can hear him saying on the archival footage, "I'm not black, I'm OJ!"

It was no accident years later that OJ's defense team changed all the pictures in his house featuring his associations with a myriad of white friends and replaced them with pictures of his black relatives in order to give the majority black jury the impression that maybe he wasn't an Uncle Tom, as some militants had accused him of being during his years as a professional NFL player and Hertz rent-a-car pitchman.

By the time his playing days were over, OJ had basically given up most of his connections to the lower middle- class black community where he grew up, married Nicole Brown, a white woman, and moved to the gated "white" Brentwood suburb of Los Angeles. As he later admitted, he didn't pay much attention to the concerns of his fellow blacks as he was more determined to make it as a man of wealth and privilege in a white world.

Edelman spends a good deal of time chronicling the Rodney King beating incident and its aftermath in order to remind us of the injustice of the first trial and the resentment it caused in the black community not only in the Los Angeles area but across the entire country. It is within this atmosphere that the OJ jury was seated. Interviews with various community "activists" make it clear that most people in the black community saw OJ as a symbol (or cause célèbre if you will), with the verdict already pre-determined, as payback for the Rodney King trial.

This is borne out by one of two interviews with two actual jurors from the trial. Juror #9, a feisty older black woman, who asserted that 90% of the people on the jury had made up their minds from the beginning, not only as payback for Rodney King but as s he put it, "to protect our own." Juror #9 comes off in OJ:MIA as one of the most fascinating characters in the documentary. On one hand, she had little sympathy for Nicole Brown, unable to understand why domestic violence victims are unable to leave their husbands despite enduring horrendous physical abuse and constant psychological humiliation. On the other hand, Juror #9 is one of the few African Americans initially sympathetic to OJ who was willing to concede later on that he was probably guilty!

In contrast, Juror #2, a middle-aged black woman, is much more circumspect. She maintained that, because of their mistakes, the prosecution team failed to make their case. Unlike Juror #9, Juror #2 isn't willing to concede that the prosecution team was dealing with an inherently biased jury. But even barring that, the defense team still had to get around the problem of all of the victims' blood mixed in with OJ's DNA found at the scene.

Juror #2's solution is to dismiss all police testimony by basically blaming Mark Fuhrman as unreliable since she was personally offended by his use of N-word and lying about it on the stand. But the defense team argued that ALL the police (including Vanatter, the chief detective) were involved in a grand conspiracy to mix OJ's blood with the victims.

By that logic, any future defense attorney could argue that police testimony is tainted since you can't trust any of them due to inherent racism. The argument of a grand police conspiracy sounds even more ludicrous considering the victim involved. OJ was a friend of the police and even though a few had knowledge of OJ's abuse of Nicole, the police never stopped coming over to his house in friendship before the murders.

Juror #2 was probably right about the prosecution bungling the case but not for the "mistakes" she cites. Instead, it appears more obvious that the prosecution failed to challenge the ludicrousness of the defense's notion of a vast police conspiracy, accepted uncritically by an already biased jury.

OJ:MIA documents the shock many in the white community felt at what they regarded was an unjust verdict. Somehow they expected many in the African-American community to take the "high road" and look at the case objectively—instead, it was purely an "emotional" verdict based on years of resentment—the "taste of victory" was more important than really analyzing the defense's flimsy case which was principally based on massive generalizations and crude innuendo.

In the end OJ did get his just desserts. He thought he was going to return to his regular routine only to discover that he was now a pariah and eventually an inmate to boot. For O.J.: what goes around, comes around!
5 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Worst of Two Worlds
cmomman198813 June 2017
Glad ESPN (my favorite channel of all time) made OJ:MIA. Goes to show you prejudice pays (black and white) and Juice was a monster from the start. A cautionary tale about manipulation, discrimination, attention, selling out, etc. I also recommend June 17, 1994 (also made by ESPN), a collage full of news coverage of Juice, archival footage, audio of Simpson during car chase, coverage of other sporting events (Arnold Palmer's final competitive game, Ken Griffey Jr's home runs, NBA Finals between Rockets and Knicks) and the use of Talking Heads "Heaven".
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Excellent documentary which shows how celebrity and reality TV drive the US
clivy6 March 2017
I wanted to watch Made in America not because of what the show said about OJ, but for what it revealed about American society and how it's changed- or hasn't changed- since the early 1990s. Made in America tells several stories, beginning with the story of how OJ rose from his upbringing in public housing in San Francisco to become a sports star. I wasn't convinced by the show's portrayal of OJ as a legend beloved by the whole country. I was in primary school when he was making his name in football, and I wasn't a sports fan. I heard about the Juice from my older brother. In the early 70s though the big event for us was the Perfect Season Miami Dolphins. I spotted the name Mercury Morris in one of the newspaper articles shown on camera, and I hit pause so I could read it.

While I grew up in Miami in the 70s and 80s the city had several riots sparked off by police officers being acquitted for shooting and killing African Americans. My parents lived in an affluent suburb and they didn't pay much attention to the race problems, except to advise me not to drive downtown when the problems were happening. I recognised the feelings of anger and frustration expressed by the African American community and the people interviewed for the film.

I don't know if it was possible for OJ to have a fair trial. I sensed that LAPD and Los Angeles city officials were terrified that a guilty verdict would result in more riots and city wide destruction. While I was watching the footage in the episode about the verdict, I was struck that as the crowds in the streets shouted in joy when they heard OJ had been found not guilty the police horses whinnied in fright and the officers riding them struggled to keep them from bolting. I was shocked to learn that one of the jurors, who raised his hand in a Black Power salute, had been a member of the Black Panthers. Why didn't the prosecution ask for a mistrial? At any rate, OJ's expensive lawyers decided to play the race card from the start. I thought it was despicable, and Made in America's revealing that Simpson had distanced himself from the Civil Rights struggles made me feel it was even more despicable.

Most of all OJ Made in America revealed the fascination that riveted the media in the US to the Simpson trial, and the fascination that the world media had as well. They weren't concerned so much about race-- the trial took place in Los Angeles, and discussed the racism of the LAPD, in the Rodney King case and many others, but above all it was all about Brentwood and Hollywood, celebrity, fame, and money. The People vs OJ Simpson showed that from the very beginning witnesses and people who claimed they they knew the truth were selling their stories to tabloid newspapers and trash TV shows. I wonder if Simpson would have had as much support from the public if he were rich- rich enough to hire big name attorneys- but not a celebrity.

It was the slow chase down the LA freeways that grabbed everybody's attention- here was a celebrity who might blow his brains out on live TV, because he had killed two people - or maybe he was being set up by LAPD because he was black and the victims were white. It was a great show. I don't understand why the prosecution didn't ban cameras from the courtroom like the civil trial did, or why, if they wanted to use cameras, they didn't make them unobtrusive so the people in the courtroom couldn't see them. The trial became the media circus of the century. The last episode, with clips from Simpson's bizarre reality TV show, shows how celebrity and notoriety drive the consciousness of American life. It's significant that Simpson's ultimate downfall took place after an armed robbery to gain control over his memorabilia, which not only has great personal meaning to him, but is worth millions of dollars.

I had to ask myself, why did I watch Made in America? I felt sorry for Nicole - she must have found it difficult to make a life for herself apart from OJ, who not only gave her fame and money, he supported most of her family. I felt sorry for Ron Goldman for being caught up in OJ's rage because he was seen a rival for Nicole's affections, and sorry for Ron's family who saw OJ walk free from a double homicide. I felt empathy for people who felt they had been denied the justice that was given to other Americans (I felt however that the film could have included how other people of other races have been treated by the white majority- there was nothing said about how the Hispanic community felt about how they were treated by the LAPD and the US government) Mostly I was appalled by how Simpson went back to a luxurious life after the trial, selling his autographs for 3 million dollars while in jail, and was still schmoozed by people who wanted a piece of his fame. It's telling that the Goldmans struck back with court orders grabbing Simpson's money, yet Simpson managed to make more sliding into sleaziness in South Miami Beach with coke addict blonde girlfriends. People wanted to keep watching him, keep collecting his signed footballs and t shirts, and keep trying to be associated with him. Made in America holds up a mirror and finds disturbing portraits: not just of OJ, and OJ's actions, but American society's obsession with wealth and fame.
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Excellent, highly recommended
room10223 July 2016
A very long (7.5 hours, split over 5 episodes) and interesting documentary about the O.J. Simpson trial, his life and all the events that surrounded the murder (Rodney King, the L.A. Riots and the attack on truck driver Reginald Denny). Race played a gigantic part in this trial and accordingly it plays a major role in this documentary.

The makers of this documentary did a very thorough and extensive work, with lots of footage from the time it happened and interviews with many of the major characters involved in the case.

The first episode tells the background story of O.J. Simpson basically from his youth. It's way too long and it's the ONLY episode that I found boring. IMHO you can skip it without losing any crucial information.

All the rest of the episodes are very interesting. BTW, it's the first time that I see photos of the victims and the brutality of the murder is shocking. The murderer cut their throats - especially Nicole's - almost decapitating her. Disgusting stuff.

It's amazing that O.J. Simpson came out as a free man from this trial. Even the Jurors interviewed have NO PROBLEM admitting that their vote wasn't for the case, but for getting revenge for racism. This is unbelievable and proves beyond doubt that the Jury system in America simply doesn't work.

The last episode tells everything that happened after the trial - and it's fascinating too.
7 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed