- "Making Of" by Melvin Van Peebles
- Original Theatrical Trailer
- Rated: R
- Run Time: 1 hours, 30 minutes
- Video: Color
- Released: January 14, 2003
- Originally Released: 1971
- Label: Xenon
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Packaging: Keep Case
- Aspect Ratio: Full Frame - 1.33
- Dolby Digital 5.1 - English
- Additional Release Material:
- Featurette: Making of Documentary: "The Real Deal (What It Is)
- Trailers: Original Theatrical Trailer
- Interactive Features:
- Interactive Menus
- Scene Access
- Text/Photo Galleries:
Performers, Cast and Crew:
USA Today - 02/16/1989
"...This is still endlessly fascinating, thanks to its circuit busting level of rage..."
Uncut - 01/01/2006
"[The film] inspired the genre....[Van Peebles] wrote, directed, produced, cast, financed, edited and starred, as well as decorating the sets and composing the soundtrack."
Sight and Sound - 03/01/2006
"[T]he film's political fury is complemented by a loose, funky soundtrack from Earth Wind & Fire, and a ragged, mercurial visual aesthetic..."
Description by OLDIES.com:
Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song is the story of a young hustler (Van Peebles) whose aimless pleasure seeking turns to radicalism after witnessing the beating a black revolutionary by two white cops. Sweetback, driven to a state of blind rage, takes brutal revenge on the cops, forcing him into a desperate life on the run.
Putting black cinema on the map and ushering in the legendary Blaxploitation genre of the 1970s, Melvin Van Peebles's SWEET SWEETBACK'S BAADASSSSS SONG is a thrilling work of entertainment as well as a historically and ideologically significant essay on the issue of race. The film tells the story of Sweetback (Van Peebles), an apolitical black sex performer who becomes a reluctant picaresque hero when he kills the two white policemen who brutalized a young prisoner for racist reasons. On the run to Mexico, Sweetback encounters all manner of provocatively stereotypical characters, including a shower-capped ghetto thug who won't help him, a hypocritical Baptist preacher, and, of course, a host of women who can't get enough of his supercharged sexuality.
Working overtime as producer, editor, and co-composer (along with Earth, Wind and Fire), Van Peebles delivers a work that is the true definition of an independent film. Incorporating striking cinematic techniques into his production--including split screens, freeze-frames, and use of film negatives--he single-handedly created a new cinematic genre, proving that true innovation comes from individual human spirit, not assembly-line studio efforts.
In Melvin Van Peebles's SWEET SWEETBACK'S BAADASSSSS SONG, a black sex performer becomes a reluctant hero when he kills the two white cops who brutalized a young prisoner for racist reasons. Heading south of the border, he runs into plenty of quirky 1970s stock characters.
Essential Cinema |
Race Relations |
Theatrical Release |
- Theatrical release: April 23, 1971
- Melvin's son Mario makes a ubiquitous screen debut as the young Sweetback. Mario would go on to direct 2003's BAADASSSSS!, in which he recreated the event's surrounding SWEETBACK's production and stepped into the shoes of his legendary father.
- When Van Peebles realized that no studio would support his controversial vision, he turned to several notable black celebrities to help him finance the picture (including Bill Cosby).
- The film is dedicated to "Brothers and sisters who have had enough of the Man."