Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    Sep 29, 2011
    It's an imperfect but ambitious film willing to confront an enormous, complex period in this country.
  2. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Sep 5, 2011
    A tangy raw stew of history, even if it never begins to confront the contradictions that bedeviled black militancy.
  3. Reviewed by: J. Hoberman
    Sep 6, 2011
    Black nationalism lives and breathes in this remarkably fresh documentary - a standout in last spring's New Directors/New Films - assembled by Göran Hugo Olsson.
  4. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Sep 6, 2011
    The pieces here are wonderful, even if the documentary fails to make any kind of overall analytical point.
  5. Reviewed by: Marc Savlov
    Oct 19, 2011
    It plays very much like it advertises itself: a mixtape – Fear of a Black Planet, then and now.
  6. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Oct 27, 2011
    It may not add up to a narrative, but it's a fascinating compilation -- a mixtape you may want to hear more than once.
  7. Reviewed by: David Lewis
    Sep 22, 2011
    Sometimes the film, even if it's a "mixtape," bites off more than it can chew, delving into the Attica Prison uprising, heroin addiction and the Vietnam War. But all in all, this film will give you a new perspective on the past - and the present.
  8. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Sep 7, 2011
    Illustrates how the rhetoric of civil rights changed after the breakthroughs of Martin Luther King. With the world's media finally paying attention, critical thinkers like Carmichael, Davis, and Malcolm X were able to push back against the fretful questions about violence, and redefine the story of blacks in America over the centuries as one defined by violence.
  9. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Sep 22, 2011
    Black Power Mixtape's contemporary audio, though it tries hard to involve us, can't hold a candle to this kind of footage. But if having these current voices on board helped get the luminous glimpses of the past back on the screen, we owe them a vote of thanks.
  10. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Sep 8, 2011
    The fact that the speakers' faces are never seen produces a feeling of estrangement that is crucial to the film's effectiveness. You become acutely aware of gaps and discontinuities: between slogans and realities, between political ideals and stubborn social problems, between then and now.
  11. Reviewed by: James Greenberg
    Sep 5, 2011
    This is a film that should be seen by anyone who wants to learn where we've come from as a nation.
  12. Reviewed by: Andrew Barker
    Sep 5, 2011
    Like any mixtape, it offers some truly transcendent moments alongside a smattering of filler, and never quite assembles its pieces into a cohesive whole.
  13. Reviewed by: Liz Beardsworth
    Oct 17, 2011
    While it assumes a fair bit of knowledge of the social changes exploding in sixties America, there's a wealth of fascinating material and punchy insights into an earth shaking movement.
  14. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Sep 9, 2011
    Lengthy clips of leaders including Angela Davis and Stokely Carmichael bring us back to emotional moments in this country's history.
  15. Reviewed by: Lauren Wissot
    Sep 4, 2011
    Simply put, the documentary is full of cool talking heads pontificating rather than taking physical action.

Awards & Rankings

User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 6 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Sep 27, 2011
    It's fascinating to see such historic figures in the Struggle from the Swedish perspective. Most importantly, it's just great to see newIt's fascinating to see such historic figures in the Struggle from the Swedish perspective. Most importantly, it's just great to see new footage of folks like Stokely Charmichael and Angela Davis - both of whom are so charismatic and inspirational. The film flags a bit toward the end as the focus shifts to the ravages of drug abuse and the infighting and assassinations within the Nation of Islam. For someone who hasn't been exposed to much modern African American history in school or elsewhere, this would be fairly informative, though a bit disjointed. Full Review »