Baadasssss!

2003

Baadasssss!

Critics Consensus

An entertaining and intriguing tribute to a father from his son.

91%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 109

84%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 4,955
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Movie Info

In 1971, filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles released his third film, Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, which he wrote, directed, and scored. Despite boasting an all-black cast, an X rating, a low budget, and a decidedly non-Hollywood approach to moviemaking, the ground-breaking independent film went on to gross over ten million dollars while inspiring countless other films of the genre that would come to be called blaxploitation. Mario Van Peebles, the director's son, was 13 at the time and got his first taste of show business with a small role in the film. Over three decades later, the younger Van Peebles directed and co-wrote this film, in which he stars as his father. BAADASSSSS! chronicles the director's struggles to get the film made by highlighting the social roadblocks and production pitfalls Van Peebles faced, as well as the personal sacrifices he was forced to make. Also starring T.K. Carter, Ossie Davis, and Nia Long, BAADASSSSS! premiered at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. ~ Matthew Tobey, Rovi

Cast

Mario Van Peebles
as Melvin Van Peebles
Joy Bryant
as Priscilla
T.K. Carter
as Bill Cosby
Ossie Davis
as Granddad
Nia Long
as Sandra
Paul Rodriguez
as Jose Garcia
Saul Rubinek
as Howie Kaufman
Rainn Wilson
as Bill Harris
Len Lesser
as Manny & Mort Goldberg
Jazsmin Lewis
as Working Girl
Ralph P. Martin
as Tommy David
Robert Peters
as Bob Maxwell
Glenn Plummer
as Angry Brother
Khalil Kain
as Maurice
Joseph Culp
as Attorney
John Singleton
as Detroit J
Joan Blair
as Brenda
E.J. Callahan
as Bartender
Keith Diamond
as Large Brother
Don Dowe
as Officer
Robin McLiam Wilson
as Excited Lady
Robin Wilson
as Excited Lady
Paul Roach
as Pimpy Paul
Bridget Avildsen
as Trick-or-Treater
Marley Van Peebles
as Trick or Treater
Craig Jones
as Trick-or-Treater
Maya Van Peebles
as Trick or Treater
Thomas Longo
as Camera Assistant
Robert Yosses
as Script Supervisor
Danny Hebert
as Crew Member
Michele Hill
as Biker Girl
Bob Primes
as Union Thug
Buzzxsassy
as Union Thug
Robert Primes
as Union Thug
Rey Diogo
as Union Thug
View All

News & Interviews for Baadasssss!

Critic Reviews for Baadasssss!

All Critics (109) | Top Critics (33) | Fresh (99) | Rotten (10)

Audience Reviews for Baadasssss!

  • Apr 14, 2010
    This is a great film, a film I would have definetly want to make about learning how to make and finance an independent picture while risking everything on the line. I see it as almost a dead end tale where people will find ways of stoping one's passion yet still fighting to get the job done. It's a film that touches home with me dead on. Mario Van Peebles, Melvin's son, directs an honest and revealing portrait of his pioneering father. Mario now tells the story of the making of Melvin Van Peebles' landmark 1971 film, "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song," including Melvin's struggles to raise money to fund the film under the guise of creating a black porno film. Melvin had ducked creditors, the unions and had to bail out his camera crew after they were arrested. Despite death threats and temporarily losing sight in one eye, Melvin somehow managed to whip into shape a rag-tag, multi-racial crew and finish the film that would give birth to birth of a new era which was about to explode: Independent Black Cinema.
    Brian R Super Reviewer
  • Oct 16, 2009
    Ever wonder what it would be like to make your own film without a studio to support you and no money in the bank to fund it. Well, thankfully Mario Van Peebles' father forged ahead in the 70s with a dream and passion like no other. While Hollywood was content with making pictures that negatively depicted African Americans, Melvin Van Peebles decided to break this cultural norm and change the face of cinema. With no budget, money from friends and drug dealers, and a non-union crew, Melvin created the impossible. He grabbed a hold of an idea and let nothing get in the way from accomplishing it. Melvin had a dream of making an African American the center of the film, one that took no sass from anyone and criticized the modern white Government. While big studios backed away from this project, Melvin jumped forward made Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song. There were trial and tribulations to get it done, but thanks to a very surprising source the film became a success. It was the first independent film to become the number one film in America. Similar to the passion seen in Melvin's eyes when he is making his low-budget film, Mario portrays that exact same involvement when making this low-budget film. What I loved about this film is that there is so much raw, unbridled emotion behind Mario's eyes that you can tell that he 1) loves his Dad and 2) wanted to show America the truth behind this innovator's life. This is Mario's past, and he superbly reenacts it on screen. He carries this film, showing us the many facets of his father. He shows the angry American, the independent talent, the powerful leader, and even the emotional parent. Through all of this Mario continues to keep this film focused and interesting. We cannot keep our eyes off his portrayal of his father. I would not be surprised if he is nominated for an Oscar this year. Finally, this is a very powerful film that speaks about a side of Hollywood that is less known. It shows how the boundaries of racism can be broken with imagination and persistence. It shows that 'all men are created equal' and that if you have a dream you should pursue it. If you are in the process of making your own film and need a movie that will inspire and motivate, this would be the film to watch. From the moment I put this film in my DVD player, I was glued. What a powerful story coupled with interesting actors (Adam West and Sally Struthers) and told with a very realistic voice. I highly recommend this film.
    Cassandra M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 03, 2009
    Not so much a documentary (though its filmed like one) but a drama showing how Melvin Van Peebles' "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song." got made, despite the lack of money, support, technical expertise, social climate, etc etc. Directed by and staring his son Mario Van Peebles, who does an amazing job of conveying the complexity, charm and take-no-prisoners attitude of his dad, and a feeling of what it was like to be there in that time in that place. And Mario should know, since he was hauled in act in the most controversal scene in the entire film. Before watching this, I though it was going to be heavy viewing, but instead it turned out to be thoroughly entertaining, made with a light hand and an easy wit and a lot of humour in it. Go, son, go.
    Lesley N Super Reviewer
  • Jul 06, 2008
    this is a very important movie to wacth a must see....
    khalvic b Super Reviewer

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