Film Review: Boss Nigger (1975)

Release Date: February 26th, 1975 (USA)
Directed by: Jack Arnold
Written by: Fred Williamson
Music by: Leon Moore
Cast: Fred Williamson, D’Urville Martin, William Smith, R.G. Armstrong

Dimension Pictures, 87 Minutes

boss-niggerReview:

A controversially titled film, sure. But it was rated PG in the 1970s when people weren’t pussies.

Plus, it is fun as hell and if you love old blaxploitation flicks, this one is certainly worth your time. It stars Fred Williamson, who is perfect in everything he does, and it is a blaxploitation western, which there just aren’t enough of.

The film follows Williamson’s Boss and his sidekick Amos (D’Urville Martin) as they make themselves the law in a mostly white town in the Old West. They are bounty hunters in pursuit of an outlaw and bide their time in the small town, as they chase women and make the bigots pay for their bigotry.

The dialogue in this film is over the top and hilarious. The blatant racism is actually refreshing, as this film exists in a world where political correctness hadn’t infected the guilt-ridden, humorless minds of society. And the blatant racism isn’t just there for shits and giggles, it is a reflection of the times when this film was made and enhanced by the historic times it represents. There is a definitive purpose for its inclusion, as it is at the heart of what drove many blaxploitation films of the 1970s – not to mention regular films and television of that era. Hell, something like All In the Family or The Jeffersons would never fly today on prime time network television.

Boss Nigger capitalizes on the vibe and attitude during the height of the Black Power Movement. It shows black characters in a role of superiority and exploits the paranoia held by many whites during this time of social change. In fact, it uses the social struggles of blacks in the post-slavery era of America as a cultural bridge to the 1970s, following the changes brought about by social reform and the battle for black civil rights. The film makes the viewer identify with and cheer for the hero, who is challenged by the rules and societal norms of a racist white America.

Fred Williamson has never not been a complete bad ass and this is him at his best. D’Urville Martin is fantastic as the comedic relief and despite its over the top blaxploitation shtick, it is a good movie on par with many of the low budget spaghetti westerns of its day. It plays like a parody of the more famous Leone westerns but has its own raw and gritty style.

It is backed by a great soundtrack that employs a lot of soul and funk, which was customary with the blaxploitation genre.

If you want to have a damned good time for 87 minutes with a bit of comedy, creative social commentary and a gun-waving bad ass, then this is your movie.

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