Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song
Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971)

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.… More

Rated: R
Running Time:
Release Date: January 1, 1971
DVD Release Date: January 14, 2003
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Critic Score: 71% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
Michael Kerbel
Village Voice

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.

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Geoff Andrew
Time Out

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.

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TV Guide

A landmark in Black filmmaking in the U.S., this angry, extravagant, loud, belligerent movie reaches a high pitch early on and stays there.

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Variety Staff

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

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Vincent Canby
New York Times

Instead of dramatizing injustice, Van Peebles merchandizes it.

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Richard Luck

Even 30-odd years on, the picture still has more than a whiff of rebellion about it.

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Dave Kehr
Chicago Reader

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

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Edward Douglas

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

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Christian Toto
Washington Times

"Song" broke ground for minorities, not for filmmaking

Flixster Audience Score: 47% Flixster User Reviews
Chris Weber
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… More
Lesley N
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… More
Cassandra Maples
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… More
Tobias Ximénez
A truly independent vision and the cornerstone of blaxploitation cinema.
Daniel Hetteix
On one hand, a vibrant but muddled fugitive-on-the-run story... on the other, a remarkable cultural milestone. Independent, amazingly low-budget and… More
Anthony Valletta
After hearing all the hype, I was a bit let down.