• Release Date: Mar 30, 2007
User Score
6.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 32 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 32
  2. Negative: 10 out of 32
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  1. Aug 27, 2010
    8
    Just as "The Velvet Underground & Nico" spurred wannabe musicians to actually go forth with their dreams, "Killer of Sheep" opened up the door to independent filmmaking to anyone with a camera and the vision. As a film, the 'story' relies on a series of episodic scenes (accompanied by an incredible soundtrack) to depict poverty in the Watts ghetto. This is both the film's greatest strengthJust as "The Velvet Underground & Nico" spurred wannabe musicians to actually go forth with their dreams, "Killer of Sheep" opened up the door to independent filmmaking to anyone with a camera and the vision. As a film, the 'story' relies on a series of episodic scenes (accompanied by an incredible soundtrack) to depict poverty in the Watts ghetto. This is both the film's greatest strength and weakness, because even though the neorealist style forces the viewer to experience the hardships with authentic intimacy, the lack of character development or plot makes the impression somewhat empty, (though not without a profound effect) Expand
  2. AndresZ.
    Apr 24, 2007
    10
    Around the seventies, when films like Annie Hall, Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Saturday Night Fever ruled the age, Charles Burnett silently crafted Killer of Sheep, his thesis film for UCLA. Thirty years it has eluded us
  3. GinoM.
    Apr 7, 2007
    10
    I was fortunate enough to catch wind of this unexpectedly provocative tale of Arfican-American life in late 70's Watts at the Nuart Theater in Los Angeles. This movie, as cast member Charles Bracy put it, is a true independent in that it really has no plot. This is a pure street movie aimed at telling the harrowing reality of African-American life on a minute-by-minute basis through I was fortunate enough to catch wind of this unexpectedly provocative tale of Arfican-American life in late 70's Watts at the Nuart Theater in Los Angeles. This movie, as cast member Charles Bracy put it, is a true independent in that it really has no plot. This is a pure street movie aimed at telling the harrowing reality of African-American life on a minute-by-minute basis through the back alleys and residential avenues of Watts, California. In the same vein of Dark Days, the viewer is turned on to more than he could ever imagine, cast into a whirlwind of emotions concerning the, often overlooked, subjects of the movie. A joy to watch. Expand
  4. SeanU.
    Mar 26, 2007
    10
    A beautiful film - I loved it when I saw it for the first time 10 years ago. Please, do yourself a favor and see this on the big screen. It's really amazing, comparable to early Jamusch's work. Also good is To Sleep With Anger, Burnett's major motion picture starring Danny Glover.
  5. Leiris
    Mar 28, 2007
    10
    Glad to see that this great film is getting a proper release. I cannot wait to replace my old copy. Hopefully more Burnett releases will soon follow.
Metascore
94

Universal acclaim - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 21
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 21
  3. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. Shot on a year's worth of weekends on a minuscule budget (less than $20,000), this remarkable work--conceivably the best single feature about ghetto life that we have--was selected for preservation by the National Film Registry as one of the key works of the American cinema, an ironic and belated form of recognition for a film that has had virtually no distribution. It shouldn't be missed.
  2. 80
    Burnett used many kinds of African-American music on the soundtrack, and the movie itself has the bedraggled eloquence of an old blues record. The amateur actors, who occasionally burst into fury, combined with the black-and-white cinematography, bring the poverty of Watts closer to us emotionally.
  3. 100
    Killer of Sheep is an urban pastoral--an episodic series of scenes that are sweet, sardonic, deeply sad, and very funny.