The Spook Who Sat by the Door (1973) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Spook Who Sat by the Door (1973)

The Spook Who Sat by the Door (1973)

TOMATOMETER

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Spook Who Sat by the Door Photos

Movie Info

Based on a novel by Sam Greenlee, The Spook Who Sat by the Door chronicles the exploits of a CIA agent, the only black man in the agency. Tired of being treated as a human showcase for affirmative action, he quits and heads for the inner city where he begins forming an army of "freedom fighters" determined to overthrow the government and vanquish the white oppressors. To do so, they steal a bunch of high-tech weapons from the National Guard and bloody mayhem ensues.

Cast

Lawrence Cook
as Dan Freeman
Paula Kelly
as Dahomey Queen
Elaine Aiken
as Mrs. Hennington
Don Blakely
as Stud Davis
Paul Butler
as Do-Daddy Dean
David Lemieux
as Pretty Willie
Larry Cook
as Dan Freeman
Byron Morrow
as General
Jack Aaron
as Carstairs
Joseph Mascolo
as Senator Hennington
Bob Hill
as Calhoun
Martin Golar
as Perkins
Jeff Hamilton
as Policeman
Joe Mascolo
as Senator
Tom Alderman
as Security Officer
Stephen Ferry II
as Boy Guardsman
Frank Lesley
as Commentator
Audrey Stevenson
as Mrs. Duncan
Sidney Eden
as Inspector
Cora Williams
as Woman #1
Doug Johnson
as Trainee #1
Mark Williams
as Trainee #3
Robert Franklin
as Trainee #5
Jim Heard
as Trainee #7
Lenard Norris
as Trainee #2
Walter Lowe
as Trainee #4
Harold Harris
as Trainee #6
Kenneth Lee Orme
as Trainee #8
Don Greenlee
as Trainee #9
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Critic Reviews for The Spook Who Sat by the Door

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (2)

It is such a mixture of passion, humor, hindsight, prophecy, prejudice and reaction that the fact that it's not a very well-made movie, and is seldom convincing as melodrama, is almost beside the point.

Full Review… | May 9, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

Possibly the most radical of the blaxploitation films of the 70s, this movie was an overnight success when released in 1973, then was abruptly taken out of distribution for reasons still not entirely clear.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Unabashedly bigoted, stridently hateful, it wants to be incendiary and controversial, but only manages thuggish and dull.

Full Review… | April 28, 2009
TV Guide

So fiery, smart and entertaining that the lack of finesse hardly matters.

Full Review… | December 6, 2005
Film Threat

...a document of social revolt that still bristles with a timely, and timeless, impression of righteousness and intelligence.

Full Review… | November 7, 2005
ColeSmithey.com

One of the few uncompromised representations of black armed resistance in the United States.

Full Review… | November 19, 2004
PopMatters

Audience Reviews for The Spook Who Sat by the Door

½

One of the most radical blaxsplotation films I've ever seen.

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

It is such a mixture of passion, humor, hindsight, prophecy, prejudice, reaction, hate, prejudice, bigotry, and uncompromised social exploitation that the fact that it's not a very well-made movie, and is seldom convincing as melodrama, is almost beside the point. Almost.

Lee Mayo
Lee Mayo

I took the message of self determination and exploiting the exploitative system to take skills and knowledge back to ones own community. Inspiring. Using counter terrorism tactics to teach the street gangs guerrilla warfare is just an example of this but it's handled well in the movie. I like that they don't throw in a tacky ending but leave it out there. The scenes with Dan training in the CIA are confusing at first because you don't quite know where the movie is going and it did seem a little too easy for him to convince a street gang to follow him into urban revolution but that aside the sub plots like the friend who turns him in and the middle class black woman of his being scared by the revolutionary blacks make for a brilliant film.

Cassandra Maples
Cassandra Maples

Super Reviewer

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