Mandingo (1975)

R   |    |  Drama, History, Romance

Mandingo (1975) Poster

An 1840s slaveowner trains one of his slaves to be a bare-knuckle fighter.


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28 August 2015 | Vartiainen
Good movie about the darkness of slavery
Quentin Tarantino has called Mandingo one of the few big budget exploitation films Hollywood has ever produced, and you can definitely see a lot of this film in his Django Unchained. I'm not sure I'd go as far as calling this an exploitation film, but it's certainly startling at times and deals with the subject of slavery without backtalk or ambiguity.

The movie takes place in Deep South prior to the American Civil War. Slavery is at its highest bloom and it's just as bad as you've probably heard. First night rights are freely exercised, slaves are just one step above animals, sold like cattle and while they're not beaten daily – they still need to work, and it's not like you beat your cows daily, either – it doesn't take much for them to incur the wrath of their masters.

The movie is also notable in that it uses the term 'mandingo' somewhat correctly. The term referred to any slave of the highest quality and not just to those who fought against one another. Though even that fighting might be a myth. The movie tells the tale of one particular manor, its owners and the pair of mandingo slave that were brought there, one of them to be trained as a fighter.

It's a tough movie to sit through if you're squeamish and while it's not overly gluttonous in its depictions of violence, like Django Unchained is, it doesn't shy away from them either or pull its punches. A very good movie to check out if you liked Django and/or are looking for a darker historical piece.

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