Melvin Van Peebles

Biography: Biography from Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia:

Something more than a onepicture wonder, something less than the major filmmaker he promised to be at one time, Van Peebles has had a career that can certainly be described as broadranging. After all, he has written a Broadway musical ("Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death") as well as a guide to commodities trading!

While living in France, Van Peebles made his feature-film debut as the director, writer, and composer of The Story of a Three Day Pass (1967), which generated sufficient interest to snare him a "mainstream" directing job, on the satirical comedy Watermelon Man (1970). But it was his self-financed, self-distributed Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971), a potent slice of black street life, that cemented his reputation, and makes him to this day a figure for study in the field of African-American filmmaking. Unfortunately, his output since then has been erratic and largely undistinguished. Don't Play Us
Cheap (1973) was an adaptation of his Broadway play; Greased Lightning (1977) was a disappointing studio scriptwriting assignment. Identity Crisis (1990), a comic farce made in collaboration with his son Mario, was an outand-out embarrassment. The elder Van Peebles has also appeared as an actor in America (1982), Jaws The Revenge (1987, with his son), O.C. & Stiggs (also 1987), and Posse (1993, with Mario). In 1995, Mario directed Melvin's screenplay Panther about the Black Panther Party.

Copyright © 1994 Leonard Maltin, used by arrangement with Signet, a division of Penguin Putnam, Inc.
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Melvin Van Peebles' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average career score: 46
Highest Metascore: 75 Gettin' the Man's Foot Outta Your Baadasssss!
Lowest Metascore: 24 Tales of Erotica
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 6
  2. Negative: 1 out of 6
6 movie reviews
Title: Year: Credit: User score:
52 Peeples May 10, 2013 Grandpa Peeples 4.6
44 Redemption Road Aug 26, 2011 Elmo 7.0
44 Confessionsofa Ex-Doofus-ItchyFooted Mutha Aug 21, 2009 Director / Producer / Writer tbd
75 Gettin' the Man's Foot Outta Your Baadasssss! May 28, 2004 Book "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song: A Guerilla Filmmaking Manifesto" 8.7
41 The Hebrew Hammer Dec 19, 2003 Sweetback 7.0
24 Tales of Erotica Feb 21, 2003 Director 7.4