Mandingo - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Mandingo Reviews

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January 2, 2016
She's gonna be my bed wench.

Hammond is the son of a wealthy slave owner in southern America. They reside on a plantation and Hammond has recently become married. He believes in treating slaves better than his father and he falls in love with one of his bed wenches. He also purchases a big slave that his father trains to become a bare-knuckle fighter. Hammond doesn't love the idea of training the slave and the wife becomes jealous of Hammond's bed wench and seeks revenge. Hammond's home is about to be flipped upside down.

"It just popped out like a seed out of a peach."

Richard Fleisher, director of Red Sonja, Amityville 3-D, Conan the Destroyer, Mr. Majestyk, See No Evil, Tora! Tora! Tora!, Doctor Dolittle (1967), and The Big Gamble, delivers Mandingo. The storyline for this picture is very compelling and well told. I loved the characters, settings, and felt the content was delivered appropriately intensely. The acting was solid and the cast includes Peter King, Susan George, James Mason, Ken Norton, Ben Masters, and Paul Benedict.

"Ain't you ever craved a white lady before?"

I was excited to find this on Netflix not too long ago and had to add it to my wish list. This is a well done period piece that is a bit underrated due to its intense content at times; however, I would say there is a step down in intensity from Django. Overall, this is a worthwhile picture that deserves a viewing.

"After you hang me, kiss my ass."

Grade: B+/A-
October 4, 2015
I saw it on Netflix and liked the movie. I would say it was true about what happened back then. Very sad in the end.
February 22, 2015
What a great movie. Captures the spirit of the book. A little strange, but good.
July 3, 2014
Once I sat down and watched the film, I thought it was very interesting. But, the film turned out to be racist garbage, and now I have no sympathy for it anymore.
½ May 22, 2014
"Mandingo" is a southern-fried stinkbomb that is almost gleeful in its shamelessness. A film that's so hilarious and hysterically offensive that it's a wonder that African-Americans nationwide didn't storm Paramount studios and slaughter the executives who green-lighted it.
½ January 1, 2014
It's actually OK movie, pretty complex layered plot behind all that lurid stuff. I like it.
November 3, 2013
must see again five star
½ May 27, 2013
It gets right into it and pulls no punches--it must easily be one of the best, most truthful films about American slavery (which is probably why it's been so ignored/suppressed). A portrait of a society as a farm, as a family, ruled by bourgeois-aristocrats. But is contemporary capitalist life really that much different? Watch it instead of (or at least with) Django Unchained (and instead of or with Gone with the Wind!).
½ April 20, 2013
Horrible, brutal, violent, disgusting.
½ February 17, 2013
Mandingo and Drum are such underrated films! Both have great historical elements without being a stiff lesson about the antebellum South. It's not great , but is really entertaining at times and shocking at others.
January 24, 2013
lol That scene when the son finds out that his wife's baby is black.: HILARIOUS!
½ January 7, 2013
Beautifully photographed and with some horribly campy moments, but ultimately kind of boring.
cosmo313
Super Reviewer
½ January 5, 2013
Released near the end of the blaxploitation era, this is one of the few exploitation films of that time that, instead of being a crime drama set in a (then) contemporary urban area, is a lurid melodrama set in the Antebellum Deep South. It's also kinda significant to note that it is a full on exploitation film with a decent budget and full backing from a major studio.

The story concerns the owner of a run down plantation and his son who struggle to keep their enterprise going, and, in the case of the son, also have to deal with romantic feelings. The main theme of this film, besides racism, is that of miscegnation, aka interracial relationships. The material is good stuff for a history-based film, and could make for compelling viewing, but in this film's case, it's a mess.

The film does have a few good moments, and it is great at provoking thoughts, and makes for good discussion and debate material, but the way it is handled is just awful. Rarely do films make me feel scuzzy, but this one did. It's awkward, uncomfortable, and hard to watch, but since it is trying to both be artsy and exploitative, that makes it worse. Had this been a lower budget, and not tried to have merit, I think I could deal with it better. It's one of the early examples (that I'm aware of) of a film addressing the issue of slavery instead of glossing over it like Gone With the Wind, but it doesn't really DEAL with it, instead using the material as backdrop for hollow scenes of shock and awe that have no real weight. There's maybe a few scenes such as a direct camera address that work and have substance, but they're few and far between.

The music is handled by Maurice Jarre with a bit of assistance from Muddy Waters, and, while this helps some, the music still feels a bit out of place and overly dramatic. It's hard to really take it seriously. The acting like most of the rest of the film, is a real mess as well. James Mason is really slumming here, and I feel embarrassed for him. Susan George, my word, is she always this terrible and hysterical? It's almost making me rethink my thoughts on Straw Dogs. Ken Norton actually is okay here, even though the material only gives him so much to work with. Still, he deals with it the best he can.

All in all, I've seen worse, but the film at least tries to be both important and a seedy exploitation flick. Unfortunately, the way things are handled keeps the two parts from really mixing all that well, and it's the over the top exploitative stuff that shines through, and that's probably more detrimental than beneficial. Still though, I'm giving it some credit because I really never found it boring, and, like all films it does have potential. It's actually a rather fascinating film, even though it is pretty awful and trashy. If it were fun, like other black centric exploitation films of the era, then I might have enjoyed it far more. As it stands, I will defend it as something worth discussing, but the more time that passes before I watch this again (if ever), the better.
May 23, 2012
this a great film, cant even feel the length. its extemely controversial!!! lots of racism but with taste and gusto. BY FAR ONE OF MY ALL TIME FAVORITE FILMS
May 12, 2012
A much more intruiging story than I thought it would be. Roots it is not, but this was quite a decent film.
May 7, 2012
Slavery as it was raw and uncensored, if you can take watching the whole thing then you need help. Though you don't want to miss the slave boil at the end.
½ April 10, 2012
35 years later this film still resonates. Well worth watching. The director captured each actors nuances and Dino was and still is an outstanding producer.
February 3, 2012
Better than Gone With the Wind? Yes. Why? Well, for one, it doesn't romanticize feudal, slave owning plantation owners. You know, 'cause those southern gentlemen know how to treat a lady', or whatever. A "cure" for rhuematism, according to James Mason, is having a small black child curl up around your feet. Many scenes of the film has this child underneath Mason's feet. Hilarious? Yes. Disturbing? Yes. Those last two lines sum up the film, hilarious and disturbing. The boxing match might be the most brutal fight I've ever seen filmed.
October 24, 2011
Rather macabre, sensationalist Blaxploitation melodrama set in the Deep South during the slavery era. Not surprisingly, the Southern plantation owners are portrayed in the worst light and James Mason is fantastic as the patriarch. Yet the movie is entertaining and interesting and unintentionally very amusing as long as you don't take it too seriously.
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