Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song

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75%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 20

48%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,414
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Movie Info

Sweet Sweetback (Melvin Van Peebles) is a black orphan who, having grown up in a brothel, now works there as part of a sex show. When the police need a patsy for a murder in the black community, Sweetback's employer gives him up to two white cops, whom Sweetback ends up killing. Suddenly the target of a massive manhunt, he decides to flee to Mexico. As he makes his way there, he is captured by, and escapes from, both the cops and a chapter of the Hell's Angels.

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Critic Reviews for Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (15) | Rotten (5)

  • The first black director to break into commercial cinema, Van Peebles obviously feels deeply about black oppression. But he has chosen, paradoxically, to make the kinds of unrealistic films for which blacks have justly criticized white film-makers.

    January 18, 2013 | Full Review…
  • Most of the many vignettes are absorbing in themselves, notably an encounter with a white motorcycle gang.

    March 26, 2009 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • A shrewd and powerful mix of commercial ingredients and ideological intent.

    March 13, 2007 | Full Review…
  • Totally uncompromising and grindingly repetitive, the film nevertheless accumulates a kind of hallucinatory groove, with unexpected shafts of bizarre humour and vigorous, experimental new wave direction.

    June 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Instead of dramatizing injustice, Van Peebles merchandizes it.

    May 21, 2003 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • [It] brazenly kicked the door open for everything from direct imitators like Shaft, Superfly, and Dolemite to modern filmmakers like Tyler Perry and Ice Cube.

    July 31, 2018 | Rating: 10/10 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song

  • Jun 14, 2010
    Let's see: is this a good movie? Well, it's definitely an important film. As far as being "good" though, well...yeah, but it's really rough around the edges, and overall, it's a big mess. But I do applaud the effort, this film's impact, it's influence, and I do find it entertaining. When I say it's a mess though, I'm not kidding. Some of this is hard to watch, and at times, I had no idea what the hell was going on. I appreciate the techniques being used though, as they add to the tension and the experience of being chased, but I think that they could have done a better job of editing, and toned down the experimental stuff. This is a landmark film, and for a lot of reasons. It is often cited as the first Blaxploitation film, and, along with Shaft, and Super Fly, remains one of the highlights of that genre. It's also an important film for African American in general (and African American films and filmaking specifically), and is also a fine example of super low-budget independent guerrilla filmmaking. It's not without it's controversies (and for good reasons), but it's an important film that needs to be seen regardless, especially for those interested in film history and blaxploitation films. This is a wild, rough, and crazy mess, but it's also very interesting, entertaining, and just something where it's better to see it than to be talked to about.
    Chris W Super Reviewer
  • Nov 28, 2009
    A necessary film; not quite necessary viewing. That is, unless you're a blaxploitation film buff, in which case you should look no further. Perhaps more interesting is the story that surrounds it, both in its making and in its reception. For instance, he performed all his own stunts so, for one scene, he jumped off a bridge a total of 9 times. He also performed numerous sex scenes himself, contracting gonorrhea, applying for worker's comp, and using the money to help him complete the funding of the film. This was one of the most important films that inspired the later films of the blaxploitation era. Incredibly innovative and creative for its time. It has some of the obvious drawbacks of a film made on a half a million dollar budget but much less than you'd expect for such low-budget film. All the more so, considering Melvin van Peebles himself wrote, scored, directed, edited, and starred in the film.
    Daniel J D Super Reviewer
  • Oct 16, 2009
    This is a landmark film for many reasons, and although it is rough around the edges, I urge everyone to at least watch it once, and then watch the story of the making of this film, Baadasssss! (A.K.A. How to Get the Man's Foot Outta Your Ass), made by the directors son, Mario Van Peebles. It is very easy for a modern audience to perhaps overlook this film as one of the slew of 'Blaxpliotation' films produced in the 70s, however this stands out firstly as virtually the originator of that mode of films, and as a crusade for a young, talented black artist and director to make a film that is both honest and challenging about the representation of black people in cinema. If nothing else you must respect Melvin Van Peebles for the Guerrilla film making techniques that created this movie. This film is a great argument for the importance to minority groups within any society to gain access to and control of media production in order to challenge dominant ideologies and representations put forward in mainstream media. It is also virtually impossible to view Baadasssss! without a tear coming to your eyes, so difficult and harrowing was Melvin Van Peebles journey to get this film made.
    Cassandra M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 02, 2009
    Wow, I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I don't think it was this. A landmark of cinema, this film doesn't pull any punches, from the first memorable scene where young Sweetback gets his name, via a bunch of violence, sex and racism, through to the second half which mostly involves running a lot. An Earth Wind and Fire soundtrack, but you won't be hearing any of their hits. One of a kind. .
    Lesley N Super Reviewer

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