The Klansman - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Klansman Reviews

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December 13, 2013
I really don't know why The Klansman isn't more widely recognized. It is an action film with just enough social commentary. It kind of gets me that movies like Inglorious Basterds and American History X get academy award talk while balls-filled movies like The Klansman are forgotten. It starts slow, survives decent sound with adequate acting, great locations and striking costumes. Then it ends with SPOILER ALERT: Lee Marvin, O.J. Simpson and others in a post-sunset fully automatic shootout with the local Klavern.
½ November 16, 2013
The civil rights movement is spreading, including Atoka County, Alabama and a lot of the white residents don't like it and are prepared to commit felonious assault, rape, or murder to get their point across. In the middle of this powder keg are two men on either side of a very dangerous line -- County Sheriff "Big Track" Bascomb (Lee Marvin) and Mayor Hardy (David Huddleston). Each man is playing both ends against the middle in the impending race war -- Bascomb wants to keep the peace as best he can, blocking the local klavern of the Ku Klux Klan from their worst excesses and making sure that the Klan's business and the county's business remain separate; Hardy, who also owns the lumber company that employs most of the county and the bank on which most of the residents depend, wants a good environment for business, which includes keeping enough poor blacks around to do the most menial work for the miserable pay he's willing to fork over; this, in turn, requires that they be too scared to ask for too much, including better treatment, but not so scared that they leave the county altogether, which would wipe out his business. Between them is Breck Stancill (Richard Burton), an eighth-generation resident with lots of land but little money and even fewer friends; a wounded war veteran and loner, he still resents the lynching of his grandfather and no longer respects what the white south purports to stand for -- he's even allowed dispossessed blacks to live for free on his property, angering the poor whites around him even more. Bascomb would like Stancill to be a little less high profile, while Hardy would like him to sell out and disappear, and wouldn't mind it if the local Klan helped that process along by trying to kill him. Bascomb's balancing act fails because of two events -- Nancy Poteet (Linda Evans) is raped one night, apparently by a black man, which precipitates the murder of a black teenager and her being violently ostracized by the white community; and a civil rights rally is planned for the town, bringing in lots of "outside agitators" and getting the local klavern eager to act against them. The prime mover in all of this is Big Track's deputy, Butt Cut Bates (Cameron Mitchell), a hardcore klansman who won't be reined in by Hardy and who is not above raping a black woman prisoner (Lola Falana) that he's arrested illegally, or trying to kill Stancill; directly opposed to him is Garth (O.J. Simpson), a young black man who witnessed a Klan murder and, in response, gets a rifle and starts meting out justice on his own. Before it's over, a major part of the county is at war and the bodies are falling everywhere...

"The Klansman" was made for tv as far as I have understood and it had its fair share of problems. Co-writer Samuel Fuller submitted a screenplay that was almost completely different from what was filmed. Among other things, the Lee Marvin character was not a sheriff, but a KKK leader whose racist viewpoint is completely changed around. However, Paramount got nervous about the provocative nature of the screenplay and ordered it rewritten, infuriating Fuller (who left the project because of this) and Marvin (who wanted out but had already signed a contract.) Richard Burton and Lee Marvin were both drinking heavily during filming. At one point Burton confided to Marvin that he would like to play a cop in a film set in New York, but couldn't trust himself to do a convincing American accent. (His accent in this film was widely ridiculed, particularly since it wavered throughout the movie). Marvin replied, "But Richard, you're a great actor. You can learn." Burton apparently treasured the compliment for the rest of his life. The plot is so scattered you´re not fully sure what´s going on with the different layers, it almost feels that they edited out several parts of the movie. Both Richard Burton and Lee Marvin seems to be on autopilot and not wanting to be there, hence the heavy drinking. The topic is of course horrifying but handled strangely. The soundtrack becomes a joke as it feels like it belongs to something out of "The Dukes Of Hazzard", with other words it makes no sense what ever. "The Klansman" is a scattered piece of film handled in a strange way that implies severe production problems.
September 10, 2013
I heard and read different places online about this movie, that pretty much all the older actors in this were totally drunk during the filming of this turd. When O.J simpson is your hero character...somethings terribly fucking wrong here. Lee Marvin and Richard Burton were just getting a check here and it probably went to more booze just to forget they were in this.
May 28, 2013
lol if you can imagine a movie called the klansman being quirky, well this is it. Good only to laugh at OJ
½ January 12, 2013
Not as bad as you've heard but pure trash.
November 27, 2011
Annetaan nyt oikean elokuvan asteikolla yksi tähti. Törky/niin huono että on hyvä -asteikolla täydet! Itse leffasta en paljasta muuta kuin että tässä on mm. O.J. Simpson teurastamassa valkoihoisia. Ei tosin puukolla. Historiallisena nippelitietona lisättäköön myös se että Richard Burton oli huhujen mukaan leffaa tehdessä kolmen vodka-pullon päivävauhdissa eikä Marvinilla ollut vaikeuksia pysyä vauhdissa mukana. Erona se että Burtonista humalatila näkyy itse leffassa. Burton sopertaa repliikkejään pitkin leffaa on/off tyyppisellä etelän aksentilla. Marvinin roolityössä on enemmän tolkkua vaikka ei ilmeisesti leffaa olisi halunnut loppuen lopuksi tehdäkään. Sopimus velvoitti.
½ October 13, 2011
After watching Rich Halls doc on Southern Movies and Hollywood ,i thought i would seek out this film and see what it was like.

Well if you want to waste nearly two hours of your life then go right ahead but dont say i didnt warn you.

Richard Burton tries to do a Southern accent but its all over the place a bit like the film and OJ Simpson gets in some murder practice by killing KKK memebers all over the show.

Marvin looks bored and does try to act but the story goes that Burton and Marvin were so loaded they forgot they even appeared in the film and my reaction would be you would have to be drunk to gain any enjoyment from the film.

Terence Young doesnt direct he bludgens every point in ther script home by the time the film finishes we have had two rapes (badlly handled) blokes running around with sheets on their head and a shoot out which wipes out half the cast.

The dialogue is risible and one wonders who greenlit this whole sorry affair the equivalent of celluloid dung avoid at all costs
½ October 6, 2011
The Klansman takes place in Atoka County, Alabama right during the peak of the civil rights movement. Lee Marvin plays the Sheriff Track Bascomb a good man who is caught in the middle of a racial tension. The film escalates early on when a white woman is raped by a black man which turns the small town into a full out race war. Written by Samuel Fuller, this is a raw script script which essentially features O.J Simpson gunning down racists to avenge the death of his friend and Lee Marvin doing whatever it takes to keep the peace in the town. Richard Burton is also plays a resident of the town, who is one of the few whites who agrees with the civil rights movement and has many of the townsfolk view him with disdain. To be honest, this is not Burton's best work. The Klansman examines how a small town in Alabama deals with the oncoming civil rights movement which is moving from the big cities into the smaller towns across america.
June 6, 2011
Ă-msom tv-film ömsom grisigt, Cameron Mitchell är ett svin, Lee Marvin är nykter, O.J. är arg och Richard Burton är snäll och halt.
September 16, 2009
they definately don't make movies like this anymore!
August 12, 2009
The perfect film when you are looking for racism.
June 30, 2009
lol if you can imagine a movie called the klansman being quirky, well this is it. Good only to laugh at OJ
½ June 6, 2009
Just cuz Marvin and (especially) Burton were drunk during the filming, this is a good movie. Marvin actually did a good job, but Burton just didn't do shit right. O.J. was great in this, too. I need to see the uncensored version sometime.
March 17, 2009
One of many 1970s movies that makes you say: "How in the world could they get away with that!"
Super Reviewer
September 1, 2008
refreshing to see a film about racism that isn't so in your face morally and actually has characters as apposed to a load of walking moral messages. lee marvin is very able but i enjoyed watching O.J. the most doing his thing... taking action rather than mouthing words
July 6, 2008
I expected bad but I was hoping for "campy bad," not "bad bad." All of OJ Simpson's scenes are hilarious but he's barely in it for 5 minutes. Mostly it's just boring, with Richard Burton so awful that it's just jaw-dropping that he was ever good at all. All the action is in the end but by then I was too bored to care.
½ January 26, 2008
this reminded me so much of a typical Grind house feature. the lame dialog, the quintessential corny music. further more i bought the dvd which was printed in 2008. and the quality of the sound and picture were really low and reminded me of a tired old vhs. enjoyable enough to be mildly entertained, but nothing more.
½ January 25, 2008
I got this movie for Christmas as a joke (I think), but Lee Marvin and OJ Simpson killing racists is pretty great.
January 4, 2008
Richard Burton, Lee Marvin, and O.J. Simpson performing a script by Sam Fuller! Yes, yes, and yes! And it's just as jaw-dropping as it sounds!
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