Get on the Bus (1996) - Rotten Tomatoes

Get on the Bus (1996)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Released one year to the day after the 1995 Million Man March, in which a million African-American men marched peacefully in Washington, D.C. in a bid for greater unity and understanding, Spike Lee's Get On the Bus follows a group of black men who take a charter bus from Los Angeles to the rally in the nation's capital and watches as they interact and air their personal issues and concerns. George (Charles S. Dutton) is the organizer of the trip and de facto leader of the group. Evan Thomas (Thomas Jefferson Byrd) is a truck driver who travels to the march with his son (De'Aundre Bonds) chained to his belt by court order after the boy was arrested for petty theft. Kyle (Isaiah Washington) and Randall (Harry Lennix) are gay lovers who take no small amount of abuse from their fellow passengers. Gary (Roger Guenveur Smith) is the product of a mixed-race marriage who could pass for white but sees himself as black; he's also a cop, which does little to endear him to his peers. Flip (Andre Braugher) is an actor who seems more concerned with getting his next film role than the larger issues of the march. Jamal (Gabriel Casseus) is a good-natured young Muslim trying to lead a righteous life to make up for his violent past as a gang member. A film student (Hill Harper) is capturing the trip on videotape, and Jeremiah (Ossie Davis) sits in the back, reflecting on the struggles of African-Americans in the past and present. Financed by a private group of 15 black American men (among them Will Smith and Wesley Snipes), Get On the Bus speaks less of a single political goal than of the need for black men to set aside their differences to work for their common good. While the film falls short of openly criticizing Million Man March organizer Louis Farrakhan, it does present debate about Farrakhan's ideals and statements, ultimately coming to the conclusion that whoever brought this group together is less important than the fact that they came together in peace and brotherhood.more
Rating: R (adult situations/language, violence)
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Reginald Blythewood, Reggie Rock Bythewood
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 30, 2001
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment


Ossie Davis
as Jeremiah
Thomas Jefferson Byr...
as Evan Thomas Sr.
Harry Lennix
as Randall
Joie Lee
as Jindal
Frank Clem
as Jefferson
Bob Orwig
as Rodney
William Barillaro
as Officer Mike
Susan Batson
as Dr. Cook
Guy Margo
as Khalid
Randy Quaid
as Tennessee State Troo...
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Get on the Bus

Critic Reviews for Get on the Bus

All Critics (43) | Top Critics (14)

It's a simple, appealing premise and filmmaker Spike Lee uses it to full comic advantage.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
Washington Post
Top Critic

A vital regeneration of a filmmaker's talent as well as a bracing and often very funny dramatization of urgent sociopolitical themes...

Full Review… | September 24, 2008
Top Critic

Though Lee's deft expertise keeps things pacy and (mostly) plausible, the material can't avoid a certain predictability and, in the end, a preachy sentimentality.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

While the film assembles a full array of black male stereotypes and conines them to what is essentially a talky one-set play, Mr. Lee stylistically jump-starts this small, earnest film in every way he can.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

It's two hours of men sitting on a bus talking, but the talk is alive. Lee keeps the scenes short, so that nothing ever resolves completely.

Full Review… | June 18, 2002
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

It's successful at holding our interest -- at making us care, and believe.

Full Review… | February 14, 2001
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Get on the Bus

A cross-section of African-American men travel cross-country by bus to the Million Man March.
There are films that rise above their politics, films that promote a particular political ideology but also tell an intimate, human story. In literature, I think of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle as a representative example. This is not one of those films. Spike Lee's Get on the Bus is so pat and obvious in its politics that it doesn't get a chance to breathe on its own and its characters never rise above the types they represent. Lee's talent keeps the film afloat, and his camera tricks give the film an energy that we've come to expect from a "Spike Lee Joint," but the real problem remains in the script. This is not Lee or writer Reggie Rock Bythewood debating with himself; if you're confused about the film's politics, Charles S. Dutton lays it all out at the end for you.
Overall, I don't have a lot of opinions about the political statements themselves, but I can say that the film is confined by its message.

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer


A very interesting Drama story ^_^

EightThirty .

Super Reviewer


Preachy Spike Lee rather than stylish Spike Lee spoils an otherwise decent film.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

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