The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution

  • Stanley Nelson
  • United States
  • 2015
  • 114 min
  • Dutch Premiere
  • Masters
Huey Newton and Bobby Seale founded the Black Panther Party in 1966 as a response to the excessive police violence against and intimidation of African-Americans. The rise of the Black Panthers was a radical departure for the Civil Rights Movement. The powerful, militant manner in which the Panthers announced their demands and defied the police exerted an irresistible attraction. Young African-Americans, women in particular, felt inspired and joined in large numbers, and a national movement of black leather jacket-clad activists developed. After a few years, internal divisions, diverging priorities, but mainly insidious police pressure and attacks by both local authorities and the FBI caused the party to fall apart. The rapid growth and revolutionary ideology of the Panthers instilled fear in conservative white Americans. FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover called the movement the “greatest threat to the internal security of our country.” Prominent former members, allies, politicians and others look back on the tumultuous rise and fall of the Black Panthers. Their personal testimonies and anecdotes alternate with archive footage from an era that the funky soundtrack brings to life. At the same time, the protagonists emphasize how necessary their fight remains today.


  • 114 min
  • color / black and white
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: English
Stanley Nelson
Laurens Grant for Firelight Media Inc.
Antonio Rossi, Rick Butler
Aljernon Tunsil
Involved TV Channel
PBS International

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