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Malcolm X (1992)

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Biographical epic of the controversial and influential Black Nationalist leader, from his early life and career as a small-time gangster, to his ministry as a member of the Nation of Islam.

Director:

Spike Lee

Writers:

Alex Haley (book), Malcolm X (book) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
2,191 ( 4)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 18 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Denzel Washington ... Malcolm X
Angela Bassett ... Dr. Betty Shabazz
Albert Hall ... Baines
Al Freeman Jr. ... Elijah Muhammad
Delroy Lindo ... West Indian Archie
Spike Lee ... Shorty
Theresa Randle ... Laura
Kate Vernon ... Sophia
Lonette McKee ... Louise Little
Tommy Hollis Tommy Hollis ... Earl Little
James McDaniel ... Brother Earl
Ernest Thomas ... Sidney
Jean-Claude La Marre Jean-Claude La Marre ... Benjamin 2X (as Jean LaMarre)
O.L. Duke ... Pete
Larry McCoy Larry McCoy ... Sammy
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Storyline

Biograpical epic of Malcolm X, the legendary African American leader. Born Malcolm Little, his father (a Garveyite Baptist minister) was killed by the Ku Klux Klan. Malcolm became a gangster, and while in jail discovered the Nation of Islam writings of Elijah Muhammad. He preaches the teachings when let out of jail, but later on goes on a pilgrimage to the city of Mecca, there he converts to the original Islamic religion and becomes a Sunni Muslim and changes his name to El-Hajj Malik Al-Shabazz. He is assassinated on February 21, 1965 and dies a Muslim martyr. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for a scene of violence, and for drugs and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Japan

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 November 1992 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

X See more »

Filming Locations:

USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$33,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,871,125, 22 November 1992

Gross USA:

$48,169,908
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital (35 mm prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

X Brand Potato chips, kosher processed and endorsed by a non-profit organization, were distributed after the release and success of Malcolm X (1992). See more »

Goofs

Malcolm X was assassinated on Feb. 21, 1965. Street scenes depicting individuals/pedestrians reacting to the sad news, however, reveal several background American automobiles that were not produced until later in that decade. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Announcer: In the name of Allah the merciful, all praises due to Allah, Lord of all the worlds. The one God to whom praise is due forever. The one who came to us in the person of Master Fard Muhammad and raised up the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Amen.
[pause]
Announcer: Asalaam-alaikum!
Crowd: Alaikum-salaam!
Announcer: How do you feel?
Crowd: Good!
Announcer: Who do we want to hear?
Crowd: Malcolm X!
Announcer: Are we gonna bring him on? Yes, we gonna bring him on. Well let us hear from our minister, Minister Malcolm X. Let us bring him on with a round of ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits feature many prominent African-American entertainers (Bill Cosby and Janet Jackson among others) wearing X-Caps and using their arms to make the "X" symbol. See more »

Connections

Featured in The 79th Annual Academy Awards (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Beans and Cornbread
Written by F. Clark and F. Moore
Performed by Louis Jordan
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
An important film
12 October 2005 | by itamarscomixSee all my reviews

Malcolm X cannot truthfully be said to be one of Spike Lee's best films, but it was an important step for him, perhaps the most important one of his career. This biopic, and Spike's fifth full-length feature, makes only partial sense as a follow-up to his greatest classics, Do The Right Thing, Mo' Better Blues and Jungle Fever, the three films in which he created and developed his unique voice and made a name for himself as one of the most prominent independent filmmakers in the US; Spike's own voice can barely be heard in Malcolm X, and his usually immediately recognizable trademarks are tough to point out. The reason is that for the first time in his career Spike Lee took a step back, and he is not the dominant personality in the film; the dominant personality is Malcolm X himself, and Spike let Malcolm's voice be heard throughout the film louder than anything else.

So Malcolm X is less a work of art and more a statement than Spike's previous films. It's scope is immensely larger than anything he did before – it does, after all, span 200 minutes – and is therefore, naturally, not as tight and focused as Do The Right Thing or Jungle Fever; but in Malcolm X Spike tackles head on the very subjects he treated with symbolism and subtlety in those films, and it was therefore a natural and important progression for him, and a logical continuation of those movies, and in it he proved that he has more than one voice. In a biopic, and for that matter, in any docu-drama, the most important factor is for the director to care about the subject, and I'm yet to see a director who's more passionate about his subject than Mr. Lee.

Malcolm X boasts a huge ensemble casts, with wonderful performances by Delroy Lindo, Angela Bassette, Al Freeman Jr. (in a harrowing performance as Muslim extremist Elijah Muhammad) and Spike Lee himself – but the movie is still entirely Malcolm X's, and therefore Denzel Washington's. Spike's protégé gave a lifetime performance in Mo' Better Blues two years earlier, but he surpassed it with his gut-wrenching portrayal of Malcolm X, which earned him an Oscar nomination (unfortunately lost to Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman) and based him as one of the best actors of his generation.

Although Malcolm X is not Spike Lee's best film, it's an important film that needed to be made, and it's a good thing that Spike was the one to do it. More than it's an impressive, moving, beautiful movie – and it is - Malcolm X's story is a story that must be heard, and this biopic is a film that, truly, every cultured and intelligent person needs to watch.


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