Category Archives: Slavery

Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1987)

110m; U.S.

Director: Stan Lathan

Cast: Avery Brooks, Kate Burton, Bruce Dern, Samuel L. Jackson

Synopsis: Film version of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s abolitionist novel.

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Posted by on June 13, 2012 in Blacks, Drama, Slavery


Spartacus (1960)

184m; U.S.

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Cast: Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier and Jean Simmons

Synopsis: This sweeping epic, set in the 1st Century B.C., stars Kirk Douglas. An enslaved army deserter and gladiator, he escapes and recruits 120,000 followers who defeat several Roman legions before finally losing. Stellar cast includes Laurence Olivier, Tony Curtis, Jean Simmons, Charles Laughton and Peter Ustinov. Screenplay by blacklisted Dalton Trumbo, from also black-listed Howard Fast’s novel. ‘Who is Spartacus?’ ‘I am Spartacus!’ (Rochester Labor Film Series)

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Posted by on May 7, 2012 in Drama, Slavery, War


Tamango (1958)

98m; France

Director: John Berry

Cast: Dorothy Dandridge, Curt Jürgens and Jean Servais

Synopsis (IMDB): A Dutch slave captain, on a voyage to Cuba, faces a revolt fomented by a newly captured African slave, Tamango. The slaves capture the captain’s mistress, forcing a showdown.

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Posted by on May 7, 2012 in Drama, Slavery


Quilombo (1986)

119; Brazil

Director: Carlos Diegues

Cast:  Jonas BlochZózimo Bulbul and Emmanuel Cavalcanti

Synopsis (IMDB): Palmares is a 17th-century quilombo, a settlement of escaped slaves in northeast Brazil. In 1650, plantation slaves revolt and head for the mountains where they find others led by the aged seer, Acotirene. She anoints one who becomes Ganga Zumba, a legendary king. For years, his warriors hold off Portuguese raiders; then he agrees to leave the mountains in exchange for reservation land and peace. It’s a mistake. Zumbi, a warrior whose mother was killed by Portuguese and who spent 15 years with the Whites, stays in the mountains to lead Palmares. In 1694, the Portuguese import a ruthless captain from São Paulo to lead an assault on the free Blacks. Can Zumbi keep Palmares free?

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Posted by on April 26, 2012 in Blacks, Drama, Labor History, Slavery


Half Slave, Half Free (1984)

113m; U.S.

Director: Gordon Parks, Sr.

Synopsis (WorldCat): Based on the true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man living in New York, who was kidnapped and sold into slavery.

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Posted by on March 1, 2012 in Blacks, Drama, Slavery


Burn! (1969)

132m; Italy

Director: Gillo Pontecorvo

Cast: Marlon Brando, Evaristo Márquez and Norman Hill

Synopsis: Pontecorvo’s follow-up to The Battle of Algiers tells a story of imperial intrigue on a fictional Portuguese “sugar and slaves” colony in the Caribbean in the 1840s.  Marlon Brando plays a British agent who helps convince Jose Dolores, one of the island’s many African slaves, to lead a revolt – which temporarily aligns with the local elite and wins independence.  However, the African slaves’ economic and social position remains virtually the same under the new regime.  Years later, Brando’s character must return as the Africans are now revolting against their new masters.   Pontecorvo uses the story as a metaphor less for any one particular historical incident, but as a left-wing commentary on the full history of slavery, empire, neo-colonialism and resistance for the past two centuries.

Opening Title

Full Film (in 12 Parts)


Angel City (1980)

Director: Philip LeacockAngelCity
Cast: Ralph WaitePaul WinfieldJennifer WarrenJennifer Jason Leigh

Ralph Waite stars as the head of a rural mountain family that journeys to south Florida as migrant workers only to find themselves trapped in a squalid labor camp controlled by money-hungry Mitchell Ryan and his two henchmen.