Killer of Sheep

  • Release Date:
Killer of Sheep Image
Metascore
94

Universal acclaim - based on 21 Critics What's this?

User Score
6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 38 Ratings

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  • Summary: Killer of Sheep examines the black Los Angeles ghetto of Watts in the mid-1970s through the eyes of Stan, a sensitive dreamer who is growing detached and numb from the psychic toll of working at a slaughterhouse. The film offers no solutions; it merely presents life -- sometimes hauntinglyKiller of Sheep examines the black Los Angeles ghetto of Watts in the mid-1970s through the eyes of Stan, a sensitive dreamer who is growing detached and numb from the psychic toll of working at a slaughterhouse. The film offers no solutions; it merely presents life -- sometimes hauntingly bleak, sometimes filled with transcendent joy and gentle humor. (Milestone Film & Video) Expand

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 21
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 21
  3. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. Burnett's documentarian empathy, coupled with his easygoing skill as a dramatic essayist, result in a film that doesn't look, feel or breathe like any American work of its generation.
  2. 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.
  3. 100
    A milestone of eloquent understatement that captures the daily life of have-nots as few American movies have.
  4. A lyrical, yet intensely rooted, tragic vision.
  5. Way ahead of its time 30 years ago, and just as stunning today, Killer of Sheep is one of those marvels of original moviemaking that keeps hope of artistic independence alive.
  6. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    90
    A delicately poetic, essentially plotless vision, unblinking but not unhopeful, of life in Watts, where little but the ghetto's name recognition had changed a decade after the riots.
  7. There isn't really an overall arc present in Killer of Sheep, and that's the point. There's really nothing meant to be expressed in Killer of Sheep but the experience of poverty, and the inevitability of crime in the face of poverty.

See all 21 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 16
  2. Negative: 8 out of 16
  1. 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, 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 Collapse
  2. 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.
  3. Feb 24, 2016
    9
    Killer of Sheep is lovable and a legendary film of 2007. This movie is standing just right where we would normally have one of the best filmsKiller of Sheep is lovable and a legendary film of 2007. This movie is standing just right where we would normally have one of the best films of the year. Expand
  4. ElecE.
    Mar 14, 2008
    2
    This movie goes no where. there is no sense of plot. Nothing happens. Feels like a student movie that a bunch of film students decided to This movie goes no where. there is no sense of plot. Nothing happens. Feels like a student movie that a bunch of film students decided to hold in high acclaim b/c when & how cheaply it was made. i felt nothing. Expand
  5. JoseF.R.
    Nov 9, 2009
    1
    I only made it through about 15 to 20 minutes of this film. The dialogue is difficult to understand and next to nothing happens. I have read I only made it through about 15 to 20 minutes of this film. The dialogue is difficult to understand and next to nothing happens. I have read reviews that call this movie art - I can accept that. But DO NOT call this movie entertaining, because it is not. Expand
  6. Heather
    Mar 22, 2008
    0
    I dont get all the fuss about this one- and i do enjoy quirky, indie movies.i fast-forwarded through a good bit of it. just nothing happening.I dont get all the fuss about this one- and i do enjoy quirky, indie movies.i fast-forwarded through a good bit of it. just nothing happening. yes, its about poverty, but what was the point of all of it except watching poor people living their lives? as another reviewer said "i felt nothing". i kept asking myself "what is the point of this?" i was certainly hoping for much, much more! so then i thought "well maybe the shorts on the dvd are the gems"... uh... no-im sorry but i really felt the whole thing (shorts included) were stupid. and i kind of feel bad saying that b/c i know this guy was a student at the time and maybe im missing something? no. i dont think i missed anything. wasnt anything there worth seeing. Expand
  7. dustinc
    Jan 18, 2010
    0
    Look at all those critics getting off on the importance of this movie. did they forget the point of movies themselves? this was garbage, from Look at all those critics getting off on the importance of this movie. did they forget the point of movies themselves? this was garbage, from start to finish. pure garbage. Expand

See all 16 User Reviews

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