Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song Reviews

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May 16, 2012
This is a very important film, its quite crappy when it comes to the technical side of things but its still good entertainment.
April 16, 2012
Made, after an arduous struggle, by Melvin Van Peebles, Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song was the spark that created a blaze of 1970's blaxploitation films. The plot of this movie is about Sweetback (Van Peebles) going on the lam after he kicks the crap out of some corrupt white cops. The story, which is paced with plodding gracelessness, is told with a level of sloppy and painful-to-watch filmmaking. While it's an invaluable historical document, the story about this film's genesis is much more interesting than the movie itself. One would be better served by watching Baadasssss!, Mario Van Peeble's excellent dramatization of the tale behind the movie.
November 12, 2011
Reminded me of one of those terrible T.V shows from the 60's and 70's.
September 18, 2011
A man fights tooth and nail to avoid being devoured by the American machine.
½ June 28, 2011
I think I have to respect this film more for what it started that for what it actually is, as there's a good amount of padding and filler strewn throughout that I could honestly do without. Long stretches of LSD inspired color fiddling and jazz noodling on the soundtrack as Sweetback runs through the city isn't as compelling as I'm sure it's meant to be, but this film started a whole new trend in cinema, so I have to give it its due for that much.

Worth a look, but a rental might be advised.
½ June 17, 2011
Basically the first blaxploitation flix & although not my favorite of the genre it broke down barriers. I suggest if you are going to watch this you watch Mario Van Peebles bio flix Baadassss too (even in the same sitting). It gives this movie a new life for those who weren't around in 71 to witness the racial tension that was still plaguing the country. It also makes you appreciate the labour of love that went into this film. When I had originally seen Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song that was something that was missing for me & I just sorta chalked it up as a fair film that was technically a mess. Now I watch it as gorilla film making @ it's most pure & it includes the best soundtrax of the genre going & that's including Shaft & Trouble Man
May 1, 2011
this is a weird ass movie. kind of fun to watch. if you think you should see it, then see it.
April 28, 2011
Whoa!! What a piece craploitation!
April 19, 2011
An important film that introduced two things to the world: Earth, Wind & Fire and the concept that African American focused films could be a reality. Most view this as the first blaxploitation film, but I feel that is inaccurate. This film really plants the seeds for this genre since there is very little of the trademarks of blaxploitation. The story is a lot more serious as well. Sweetback isn't trying to make a statement, but simply running away from the law so he won't end up in jail. Why? He was agreeing to be "arrested" by the cops so it would look like they were caring about a crime committed in the black community. Sweetback was going to be held for a while, then released and no one would suspect that the cops did nothing. Apparently, Sweetback had done this dance quite a few times. On the way to the station, however, the cops stop catch a militant black youth and decide to rough him up. Sweetback decides to take a stand, beats the cops unconscious, and runs for his life. If you're looking for the familiar protagonist of blaxploitation, then Sweetback isn't exactly it. He hardly says a word throughout the film and does more running than fighting. In fact, Sweetback frequently uses sex to get out of situations. The film even goes so far to insinuate that even as a 10-year-old, Sweetback was great at sex in probably the creepiest "becoming a man" scene I've ever seen. I can't help but wonder if Melvin Van Peebles used this film as an excuse to have sex with a bunch of women "for art". The cinematography frequently uses fast-paced montages and quick jump-cuts for a unique look that was a rarity for films at the time. Unfortunately the overuse of these techniques result in an amateurish feel and mixed with the repetition of music can become quite annoying. I respect what the director was aiming for, but the film ends up a frantic yet culturally important mess. The director does everything to build Sweetback as this baad--shut yo' mouth!--guy when in reality he's just a man who stood up for someone in need and is now running for his life. Somehow...I doubt he's coming back for vengeance. That job would be left to the other heroes of the blaxploitation genre that were inspired to take up the cause.
½ April 10, 2011
I'm taking a break from film noir for a while and moving on the 70's grindhouse/exploitation. This film first opened in 71' and single-handedly started the blaxploitation genre, so figured this was a good place to start. Made on a shoestring budget, this film put the LOW in low budget! It's such a weird hodge podge of editing techniques that it is almost hallucinatory to watch. The opening credits simply says "starring the Black Community" and is dedicated to "all the Brothers and Sisters who had enough of The Man." From there, the nearly incomprehensible storyline revolves around the protaganist, Sweetback, as he takes on racist cops, white biker gangs (apparently if you win a knife fight with the leader of a biker gang then the other members bring out one of their women for you to sleep with as they cheer you on), and lots of willing women. The funk/jazz soundtrack is incredible and the dialogue legendary ("you got to hang low like a hibernatin' bear and don't goes nowhere, can you dig it?").
April 6, 2011
I'm not entirely sure why this movie worked for me but it did. Now I know where the first spark of Balxploitation cinema came from.
February 26, 2011
Not what I would call a good film. The opening is the most outrageous opening to a film ever. The movie is crazy and entertaining for 2/3 of the film. The end of the film drags a bit. Crazy movie.
½ February 19, 2011
Required viewing if u wanna be a Black Panther
January 29, 2011
I can definitely see the influence on films that followed it. Although disturbing in places (and dragging in others) it definitely leaves an impression on one's mind.
December 11, 2010
A truly original piece of cinema. Probably more important than "good."
November 22, 2010
Landmark black avant-garde film.
November 9, 2010
"The Film that THE MAN doesn't want you to see!"

"Rated X by an all white jury"

"Dedicated to all the Brothers and Sisters who have had enough of the Man"

"Sweet Sweetback will never die a natural death."

"You bled my Momma--You bled my Poppa--But you won't bleed me."

Probably more influential and controversial than good, it was groundbreaking black cinema (paving the way for the likes of Spike Lee) and considered by many to be the 1st "blaxploitation" movie. Of note, it features the films creator Melvin Van Peoples, as well as his son, Mario (who at age 13 appears nude and in a simulated sex scene) and a young John Amos (Good Times). Also has a good soundtrack featuring Earth, Wind, and Fire.

Melvin Van Peebles contracted gonorrhea from one of the actresses during filming of one of the sex scenes in the movie. He applied for compensation from the Directors Guild because he "got hurt on the job" and used the money to buy more film.
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