Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.


Movie Info

Produced, directed, written, scored by, and starring Melvin Van Peebles, this landmark "blaxploitation" film was as controversial as it was popular for its then X-rated story of one African-American man's triumph over the Man. After beating a couple of white cops he witnessed brutalizing a local black revolutionary, sex show performer Sweetback (Van Peebles) has to go on the run. As he flees through decrepit South Central Los Angeles, Sweetback demonstrates his formidable potency through sex as … More

Rating: R
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Melvin Van Peebles
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 14, 2003
Runtime:
Xenon

WATCH IT NOW

Cast


as Commissioner

as Old Girl Friend
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song

Friend Ratings

No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.

Login

Critic Reviews for Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song

All Critics (17) | Top Critics (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.

Full Review… | January 18, 2013
Village Voice
Top Critic

Most of the many vignettes are absorbing in themselves, notably an encounter with a white motorcycle gang.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Variety
Top Critic

A shrewd and powerful mix of commercial ingredients and ideological intent.

Full Review… | March 13, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Instead of dramatizing injustice, Van Peebles merchandizes it.

Full Review… | May 21, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

However you slice it, the original movie just isn't very good.

Full Review… | August 4, 2007
ComingSoon.net

Audience Reviews for Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song

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.

cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

½

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.

djdemersseman
Daniel J DeMersseman

Super Reviewer

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.

matertenebraum
Cassandra Maples

Super Reviewer

Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song on our Movie forum!