The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution

Directed by Stanley Nelson

The story of the Black Panthers is often told in a scatter of repackaged parts, often depicting tragic, mythic accounts of violence and criminal activity. Master documentarian Stanley Nelson goes straight to the source, weaving a treasure of rare archival footage with the voices of the people who were there: police, FBI informants, journalists, white supporters and detractors, and Black Panthers who remained loyal to the party and those who left it. An essential history, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, is a vibrant, human, living and breathing chronicle of this pivotal movement that birthed a new revolutionary culture in America.

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  • ★★★★ review by Mark Cunliffe on Letterboxd

    After witnessing the utter trivialisation of the movement and its aims at Beyonce's half time Super Bowl show last month (an alleged serious political statement from a woman whose previous attempts at political statements have included establishing herself as a feminist by performing in front of a huge neon sign saying 'FEMINIST' at the MTV Awards, and proclaiming that feminism was "too extreme" a word, taking it upon herself to give it "a catchy new word...like bootylicious", whilst her husband repeatedly cheats on her - whoa step aside Malala, you pretender!) this film serves as a timely reminder of the history of The Black Panthers and their stance against decades of systematic oppression and racism - a status quo that is still sadly occurring today.

  • ★★★★★ review by Megan on Letterboxd

    Amazing documentary showing the rise and fall of the Black Panther Party. I enjoyed the narrative and the interviews. It's a good partner piece with Black Power Mixtape, they showcase different people and important instances in the parties history.

    Of course I'm gonna give this 5 stars. It's my favorite part of American history.

  • ★★★½ review by yanni on Letterboxd

    fun fact: i played soccer with the directors daughter when i was a kid

  • ★★★★ review by Adriana Scarpin on Letterboxd

    Filme #5 da Semana da Consciência Negra. Netflix BR.

  • ★★★★ review by Jason Alley on Letterboxd

    A very good, enlightening documentary about the rise, prominence, fracture, and eventual fall of the Black Panther party. Huey P. Newton, Eldridge Cleaver, and Fred Hampton, are of course not available for interview (and Bobby Seale must have chosen not to participate for some reason), but many, many former members of varying prominence share their recollections.

    Director Stanley Nelson does an excellent job telling a very complex and years-spanning story with confidence. He also directed the utterly terrifying documentary JONESTOWN: THE RISE AND FALL OF PEOPLES TEMPLE, which I'd also highly recommend.

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