Sun Ra: Space Is the Place

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.



Total Count: 7


Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,031
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Sun Ra: Space Is the Place Photos

Movie Info

It may not come as much of a surprise to learn that avant-jazzman Sun Ra comes from outer space. In this comedy/concert film, he lands his spaceship in Oakland to show black people the "alter-destiny" he offers. He wants them to come back with him, and if he doesn't get enough volunteers, he threatens to chain them up and drag them along, "like they did ... in Africa." Like a scene from an Afro-Bergman film, Sun Ra plays cards with the evil Overseer (Ray Johnson) and wins the right to play a concert for his people all over the world! After the impressive show is over, he escapes back into space, with the Overseer and his agents hot on his heels. He saves his people and they watch the Earth explode from a distance.


Critic Reviews for Sun Ra: Space Is the Place

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (5) | Rotten (2)

  • It's standard blaxploitation settings and elements -- crime fighters and criminals, pimps and hookers, a pool hall and a brothel -- but the presence of the Outer Space Employment Agency makes it extraordinary.

    Apr 8, 2008 | Full Review…

    Phil Gallo

    Top Critic
  • Space Is the Place has more than a few hokey moments, but it also illuminates Ra's work. For him, outer space wasn't just a gimmick or a convenient source of song titles. It was a zone where racism was inoperative.

    Jul 7, 2005 | Full Review…
  • Its lighthearted surrealist high jinks, dressed up with SF trappings and black-power rhetoric, make for pleasant enough viewing, but the music seems strictly incidental.

    Jul 7, 2005 | Full Review…
  • There could have been more music, but this version of Space Is the Place is 20 minutes longer than the one issued in the early '90s on VHS and includes home movie footage of Sun Ra's 1972 Egyptian concert in the shadow of the pyramids.

    Nov 4, 2003
  • Not that it's a bad film, but perhaps only true Sun Ra devotees, and those hoping to learn more about the artist would only really appreciate it.

    Jul 7, 2005 | Full Review…
  • Space is the Place has the requisite style and sexuality of blaxploitation cinema, and spares the violence and generic title score.

    Oct 15, 2003 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Sun Ra: Space Is the Place

  • Sep 05, 2010
    An interesting "black power", psychedelic, funky, space movie. I didn't know what to think of it.
    Aj V Super Reviewer
  • Oct 16, 2009
    A true underground classic. Witness: not-of-this-earth music, the funky righteousness of Ra, cinematic excellence and be prepared to alter your destiny. I'd heard good (and bad) things about this film, so my curiosity was peaked. Usually when very strong reactions are evoked of such diametric opposition, it can only mean one thing: Great Art. This movie is truly mind blowing. I can think of nowhere else, where one can obtain: Sci-Fi, Blaxplotation, Philosophy, Space Jazz, and dynamite costumes in one easy-to-swallow capsule. I highly recommend this to Sun Ra fans and those with an interest in fine Avant Garde films. Sun Ra is truly an enigma, and in excellent form in this movie. See him battle the devil across many dimensions and get ready for transmolecularization and isotope teleportation...
    Cassandra M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 11, 2006
    filmed in oakland california.
    steve c Super Reviewer

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