Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971)
August 10, 2022 7:09 AM - Subscribe

After saving a Black Panther from some racist cops, a black male prostitute (Melvin Van Peebles, who also wrote, scored, edited, co-produced, and directed) goes on the run from the man with the help of the ghetto community and some disillusioned Hells Angels.

Van Peebles began to develop the film after being offered a three-picture contract for Columbia Pictures. No studio would finance the film, so Van Peebles funded it himself, shooting it independently over 19 days, performing all of his own stunts and appearing in several sex scenes, some reportedly unsimulated.

The musical score of was performed by Earth, Wind & Fire. Van Peebles did not have money for traditional advertising methods, so he released the soundtrack album prior to the film's release in order to generate publicity.

The film's fast-paced montages and jump-cuts were unique features in American cinema at the time. The picture was censored in some markets, and received mixed reviews. However, it has left a lasting impression on American cinema.

Initially, the film was screened in only two theaters in the United States (in Atlanta and Detroit). It went on to gross $15.2 million at the box office.

In 2020, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

74% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Currently streaming in the US on Criterion and available for digital rental via Alamo on Demand. JustWatch listing.
posted by DirtyOldTown (1 comment total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This is much more experimental and unconventional than the "first blaxploitation film" tag that hangs on it would suggest. Mario has a cameo playing young Sweet back.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:46 AM on August 10, 2022

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