Jim Brown: All-American (2002)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Jim Brown: All-American Photos

Movie Info

Spike Lee's documentary on the football star, movie actor, and social activist is a no-frills examination of a man who has rarely been out of the public spotlight for over 45 years. Jim Brown talks about the various phases of his life, from his boyhood in the all-black community of St. Simons Island, GA; to his adolescence on Long Island, where he became a multi-sport star athlete; to his college days at Syracuse University; to his nine-year career as the NFL's leading running back with the Cleveland Browns; to his days as an action star in Hollywood films; to his work with various social programs, many designed to help inner city youth. Among the many interview subjects are Art Modell, the onetime owner of the Browns; former Cleveland Brown teammates Dick Schafrath, John Wooten, Bobby Mitchell, Paul Warfield, and Walter Beach; filmmaking colleagues Fred Williamson and Bernie Casey (both football players turned actors), Raquel Welch, Oliver Stone, James Toback, Melvin Van Peebles, and Stella Stevens; Kim Brown and James Brown Jr., two of Brown's children from his first marriage; and Rockhead Johnson, a former Los Angeles gang leader and officer of Brown's Amer-I-Can organization. Lee does address Brown's ongoing legal problems over various assault charges, many of them involving women, and he tracks down a onetime Brown lover who in the mid-'60s wound up in the hospital after an incident at his Los Angeles home. Brown appeared in a supporting role in Lee's film He Got Game. This film, co-produced by HBO's sports division, was released theatrically for a limited run; a version running 114 minutes premiered on HBO several months later.
Documentary , Drama , Sports & Fitness
Directed By:
In Theaters:
40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks


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Critic Reviews for Jim Brown: All-American

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (5)

Only an epic documentary could get it all down, and Spike Lee's Jim Brown: All American at long last gives its subject a movie worthy of his talents.

March 22, 2002
Top Critic

As the movie traces Mr. Brown's athletic exploits, it is impossible not to be awed by the power and grace of one of the greatest natural sportsmen of modern times.

March 22, 2002
New York Times
Top Critic

Overly long and worshipful bio-doc.

March 22, 2002
New York Post
Top Critic

Lee's achievement extends to his supple understanding of the role that Brown played in American culture as an athlete, a movie star, and an image of black indomitability.

March 21, 2002
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Since Lee is a sentimentalist, the film is more worshipful than your random E! True Hollywood Story.

March 19, 2002
Village Voice
Top Critic

Treating the [controversial] incidents with kid gloves allows Jim Brown: All-American to fit into the encomium template, but a more forthright approach is demanded.

Full Review… | April 14, 2005
Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema

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