The Black Panthers

The Black Panthers

Vanguard of the Revolution

DVD - 2016 | Theatrical version
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"The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution is the first feature length documentary to explore the Black Panther Party, its significance to the broader American culture, its cultural and political awakening for black people, and the painful lessons wrought when a movement derails. Master documentarian Stanley Nelson goes straight to the source, weaving a treasure trove of rare archival footage with the voices of the people who were there: police, FBI informants, journalists, white supporters and detractors, and Black Panthers who remained loyal to the party and those who left it. Featuring Kathleen Cleaver, Elaine Brown, Emory Douglas, Jamal Joseph, and many others, it's an essential history and a vibrant chronicle of this pivotal movement that birthed a new revolutionary culture in America."--Container.
Publisher: [Arlington, Virginia] : PBS Distribution, [2016]
Edition: Theatrical version
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9781627895453
Branch Call Number: DVD 322.42 BLACK
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (approximately 120 min.) : sound, color with black and white sequences ; 4 3/4 in
4 3/4 in
video file
DVD video
region 1


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Jun 17, 2019

Also see "The Black Power Mixtape."

Jan 24, 2018

Excellent documentary on the Black Panther Party. A revolutionary movement in the late 1960s that advocated the liberation of black people during a culturally changing / evolving time period. The movement attracted individuals long repressed by white culture and society, but the party suffered from internal differences, perceptions and understanding. This documentary did an excellent job of interviewing former members, contemporary historians and identifying and exposing governmental interaction which exasperated, encouraged, damaged and destroyed the Black Panther movement. I thought it was interesting to hear from individuals who were active in the party identifying its strength and weaknesses and attractions for the black population. Also interesting to hear their contempt for some of the party leaders - Bobby Seale was insane! states one party member. I went to a speaking engagement at the University of Washington when I was a student in the early 1980s. The speaker was Elridge Cleaver, a Black Panther leader, who spent years in exile for criminal charges. When I heard him speak he was by then a born-again Christian and had joined the Mormon faith. Some of the audience members were rather hostile towards him because he was no longer the political activist. Just proved to me that times change and people change. The Black Panthers advocated violence to achieve their goals, but this seemed to be part of their undoing. They wanted an overthrow of the American government which attracted the police and the FBI and what seemed to become a personal obsession of J. Edgar Hoover (head of the FBI at the time). The FBI recruited Black Panther party members to spy on the organization and report back to the FBI. The FBI in return, provided arms to the Black Panther party through their spies basically armed the Panthers which led to several high profile violent acts. Abetting terrorism or creating terrorism? Sometimes the ideal, passion, purpose of a movement can get overwhelmed by greed, lust for power and fame by its creators/organizers. Great documentary, worth watching (2 hours long).

This documentary is the best thing I have seen on the Black Panther Party. Good for the expert as well as the beginner, after viewing you will come away with solid understanding of the movement. Going in I thought that since it was produced by PBS it would go easy on COINTELPRO. It didn't. No punches are pulled. For me, a revelation was the role of Bobby Seale's 1972 Oakland mayoral campaign in pulling the party back from its grassroots organization in numerous cities across the country.

ArapahoeHanna Dec 13, 2016

This documentary is absorbing and an interesting look into how the Black Panthers rose up and became a symbol- of hope to some and of danger to other- and was systematically stifled, crushed and assassinated until they no longer existed. The most interesting part is seeing how the Panthers was a counter culture movement that became political and how they were received by those in power. Because even though the Black Panthers were part of the civil rights movement they were counter to even the movement in the south led by of course Martin Luther King Jr.

Apr 13, 2016

An absorbing documentary from start to finish.

Mar 22, 2016

Actually there was another feature-length documentary about the Black Panther Party that came out in 1996 by Lee Lew Lee called All Power To The People: The Black Panther Party and Beyond. It just didn't get the same backing and promotion. It never was released on DVD (only VHS), but it is available on youtube now.


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