Melvin Van Peebles - Rotten Tomatoes

Melvin Van Peebles

Lowest Rated:   0% Jaws: The Revenge (1987)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   Not Available
The son of a black Chicago tailor, Melvin Van Peebles attended West Virginia State College, then earned a BA from Ohio Wesleyan. Van Peebles served three years in the Air Force as a navigator/bombardier. Out of uniform, Van Peebles pursued a painting career, made a handful of amateur films, and held down jobs as a postal worker and San Francisco cable-car grip. Refusing ever to allow grass to grow under his feet, he spent some time in Mexico, attended graduate school in Holland and picked up spare change (and a few overnight jail terms) as an unlicensed street entertainer in Paris. Still a relatively young man, he remained in Paris to write five novels (all in English, because he never bothered to learn any French); one of these was La Permission, the story of a star-crossed interracial romance. On the strength of his book, Van Peebles became eligible for admission to the French Cinema Center as a director. Unexpectedly receiving a grant of $70,000, he converted La Permission into his first feature film, The Story of a Three-Day Pass (1968). On the strength of this film, Van Peebles was courted by several Hollywood studios, who had no idea he was African American and assumed he was a French auteur. While few studios in 1968 were willing to take a chance on a black director (couldn't offend any bigots, you know), Columbia Pictures gave Van Peebles carte blanche to direct a satirical comedy-fantasy on the topic of black-white stereotyping, Watermelon Man (1970). He kept the costs low on this project so that he could invest his salary into a privately financed labor of love, Sweet Sweetback's Baadassss Song (1970). Crude and offensive by "establishment" standards, this tale of a black fugitive's one-man vendetta against Whitey proved to be an enormous hit with African American audiences. It also proved that Hollywood had itself a genuine "renaissance man" in Van Peebles; he not only produced, directed, wrote and starred in Sweet Sweetback, but also edited and scored the film. Having briefly satiated his filmmaking aspirations, Van Peebles turned to Broadway, writing and scoring the 1971 musical Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death. His next theatrical project was 1972's Don't Play Us Cheap, which won first prize at the Belgian Film Festival when a hastily produced movie version was offered in competition. Since that time, VanPeebles has developed a TV-movie pilot, Just an Old Sweet Song (1977), and has written and acted in a number of movie and TV projects, frequently in collaboration with his actor/director son Mario Van Peebles. As of this writing, Melvin Van Peebles' only movie directorial effort of the past two decades has been the hit-and-miss fantasy Identity Crisis (1990).

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Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
37% Peeples
  • Grandpa Peeples
$9.2M 2013
28% We the Party
  • Original Baadasssss
2012
No Score Yet Bring Your 'A' Game
  • Actor
2012
91% The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975
  • Actor
$0.2M 2011
27% Confessionsofa Ex-Doofus-ItchyFooted Mutha
  • Actor
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
  • Producer
2008
No Score Yet Blackout
  • George
2007
No Score Yet Classified X
  • Actor
2007
No Score Yet American Stag
  • Actor
2006
92% How to Eat Your Watermelon in White Company (And Enjoy It)
  • Actor
2005
52% The Hebrew Hammer
  • Sweetback
2003
No Score Yet Fuehrer Ex (Führer Ex)
  • Director
2003
57% Jim Brown: All-American
  • Actor
2002
No Score Yet Baadasssss Cinema
  • Actor
2001
No Score Yet Bellyful
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
2000
No Score Yet Love Kills
  • Abel
1999
No Score Yet Classified X
  • Narrator
  • Screenwriter
  • Executive Producer
1998
No Score Yet Riot
  • Vernon
1997
No Score Yet Gang in Blue
  • Andre Speier
  • Director
  • Producer
1996
No Score Yet Calm at Sunset
  • Bucket
1996
27% Panther
  • Cynical Jail Bird
  • Producer
  • Screenwriter
1995
No Score Yet Fist of the North Star
  • Asher
1995
17% Terminal Velocity
  • Noble
1994
60% Tales of Erotica
  • Director
  • Producer
  • Screenwriter
1994
31% Posse
  • Papa Joe
1993
40% Boomerang
  • Editor
1992
43% True Identity
  • Taxi Driver
1991
No Score Yet Satchmo: Louis Armstrong
  • Louis Armstrong
1990
No Score Yet Identity Crisis
  • Director
  • Producer
1989
No Score Yet O.C. and Stiggs
  • Wino Bob
1987
0% Jaws: The Revenge
  • Mr. Witherspoon
1987
No Score Yet America
  • Actor
1986
No Score Yet The Sophisticated Gents
  • Producer
  • Actor
1981
No Score Yet Greased Lightning
  • Screenwriter
1977
No Score Yet Just an Old Sweet Song
  • Screenwriter
1976
No Score Yet Don't Play Us Cheap
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
1973
71% Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song
  • Sweetback
  • Screenwriter
1971
No Score Yet Watermelon Man
  • Director
1970
No Score Yet The Story of a Three-Day Pass
  • Director
1968

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet Homicide: Life on the Street
1993-1999
  • Bennett Jackson
  • 1997
60% The Shining
1997
  • Actor
  • 1997
No Score Yet American Masters
2001
  • Voice

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