4 Movies You Should See & Know About Before You See Django that deal w/ Rebellion

There’s been a lot of chatter about the movie Django and how it touches upon slavery and the resistance to it..Lots of debates have sparked off talking about what’s accurate, what’s fantasy etc etc.. I say use this excitement around Django and the hype machine that director Quentin Tarantino has around him to turn folks onto other projects they may have overlooked, forgotten about or not seen at all..It doesn’t have to be an either or thing.. See ‘m all.. Contrast, compare and build..

SankofaOne film that is frequently mentioned is Sankofa by Haile Gerima  It’s a film that he said took more than 10 years to complete. Hollywood wasn’t interested in financing a movie about;

A self-absorbed Black American fashion model on a photo shoot in Africa is spiritually transported back to a plantation in the West Indies where she experiences first-hand the physical and psychic horrors of chattel slavery, and eventually the redemptive power of community and rebellion as she becomes a member of a freedom-seeking Maroon colony

There have been some who upon seeing the release of Django and its popularity have referenced Sankofa and asked why we didn’t support the painstaking efforts of film makers like Gerima who tried to give the Black community serious information about an institution that is constantly being written out or sanitized in our history books..

If you can’t rent the film here’s one of several copies on line..


Another film which is often mentioned is Spook Who Sat By the Door..by Sam Greenlee. It’s a landmark film that came out in the early 70s and was based upon a book with the same titled which was released in 1969.  Although this film isn’t about slavery, it’s about rebellion and fighting oppression which is whats attracting many to Django.

spook who satThe plot of Spook Who Sat by the Door goes as follows.. The CIA because of politics needs to recruit African-Americans to the agency. It’s supposed to be dog and pony show. In other words have Blacks try out for the agency, make it public, but have them fail. However, there was one guy, named Dan Freeman who played the role of an ‘Uncle Tom’ when in real life he was a Black nationalist.. He gets into the CIA, soaks up all their game and then leads an armed rebellion..This fim was so controversial, that it was banned from movie theaters and was hard to get up until recently..

According to Greenlee almost everyone involved in that film from the director Ivan Dixon on down to lead actor Lawrence Cook found themselves outcasted in many Hollywood circles. Cook wouldn’t appear in a major film for almost 20 years after Spook Who sat by the Door.

You can peep the movie here…


Soul of nigger charleyAnother flick building on the Slave revolt theme is the Legend of Nigger Charley and Soul of Nigger Charley featuring Fred Williamson. It focuses on a trio of escaped slaves who are down to fight and win against white oppressors.. Believe it or not when these films came out there were posters all over subways in NYC advertising the film. The N word was not covered or changed.. It was very much in your face.. Legend of Nigger Charley went on to be Paramount pictures highest grossing film in 1972 when it was released.







  1. wow, what a resource. thanks for linking these other films.

  2. wow didn’t know about these! thanks for the info! -seeme

  3. MIght i add Putney Swope by Robert Downey Sr., Sweet Sweetbnack’s Bad Assed Song By Melvin Van Pebbles, Bad Assed by Mario Van Peebles…since we talkin’ ’bout movies…

  4. Perhaps Emperor Jones starring the late Great Paul Robenson (1933) would also be a good one.

  5. Please forgive my earlier misspelling.

  6. What I miss, that on ya list is no German post-production of ‘Bitchlers willing executioners’??


  7. I like this. Shared immediately!

  8. i remember when The Spook came out – it was out for about 3 days, then it was snatched back and not ever seen again in the public domain. And then Sam Greenlee was hounded forever by the FBI. Interesting to list Putney Swope, and Sweet Sweetback’s Bad Assed Song as movies to be remembered as well.

  9. Quilombo and Burn! Not about the US but Black folks triumph!

  10. WOW!! that’s wassup..good info—pink

  11. I don´t quite get Tarantino. His over usage of the N word is pretty blatant…

  12. Yikesss! Great info -talkn

  13. Reblogged this on Habari Gani, America! and commented:
    Then make sure you see, “Django Unchained”

  14. great info (black)

  15. For an international perspective on slave rebellion, try to get your hands on the great movie, Quilombo, directed by Carlos Dieques. It’s about the Brazilian 17th century slave settlement, Palmares.

  16. Do not forget “City Of God” either…

  17. Art Campbell says:

    I was looking for the movie, “The Spook Who Sat by the Door” for ever,, I seen Sankofa. Thanks brotha I will look at the others.

  18. great info!! cobalt.

  19. Felicia Gustin says:

    There are also a number of Cuban films about rebellions including The Last Supper and Cimaron.

  20. interesting – yellow

  21. These are all good examples. Django is a very good movie. Well written and well acted. If people say they are not going to see it because of some hyperbolic rhetoric from folks with an axe to grind, they are making a mistake.

  22. I read some months ago that tarentino was also inspired by the movie “Mandingo” which is linked to Blaxploitation like “The Spook…” or “The Soul of Nigger Charley”

  23. Thanks for posting and giving a heads up on some of these movies that were made back in the 1970’s that dealt with Black Rebellion and touched upon the institution of slavery.
    It is rather interesting that a movie called “The Legend of Nigger Charley,” released in 1972, followed by “The Soul of Nigger Charley,” released in 1973, were movies done in the early seventies, yet so many people were in such an uproar when some HipHop artist began to use the word “nigger” (or “nigga”) in there songs years later, as if the word “nigger” had never been used before in art or entertainment.

  24. Before you see Django, you should watch Chappelle Show. Real Talk. Think about “Calvin”

  25. dcmacadmin says:

    Excellent post! Please support Haile Gerima’s work, I spoke with him just a few weeks ago and he is HOT about Sankofa on youtube. You can purchase this important film from sankofa.com.

  26. Please add “Buck and the Preacher.”

  27. Sankofa sounds like an interesting film … think I’m going to try and find that one and watch. Isn’t “Sankofa” a bird in an African legend that filies forward, but looks backwards, to see where it came from. Sounds like an appropriate title for the film.


  1. […] And lastly, let’s be clear.  This film is a big budget Hollywood fantasy about Slavery written by a White man.  So, in the words of Davey D, “I say use this excitement around Django and the hype machine that director Quentin Tarantino has around him to turn folks onto other projects they may have overlooked, forgotten about, or not seen at all.”  So yes, please go see the movies that he recommends in his post “4 Movies You Should See and Know About Before You See Django That Deal w/ Rebellion.” […]

  2. […] of slavery than I can ever remember reading in a high school textbook, Mandingo fighting aside. But don’t stop there! Also check out films written and produced by people of color, including those based on slave […]