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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 11.84%
Average: 5.26%
Pretty Bad: 3.95%
Total Crap: 6.58%

3 reviews, 58 user ratings

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Malcolm X
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by PyThomas

"See this film by any means necessary!"
5 stars

This film did its intended job: to enlighten me about the notorious African-American icon of the sixties.

You see, Malcolm X, a.k.a. Malcolm Little, a.k.a. El-Hajj Malik al-Shabazz (and in this film, Denzel Washington), was more than just a militant Muslim hell-bent on empowering the oppressed African-American society of the mid-20th century. He was an intellectual and a father as well. He wasn't always like this, though. In his youthful days as Bostonian Malcolm Little, he slicked his hair back like the popular style of the time, he was a party animal, he was on the wild side. Eventually it got him into serious trouble and was hauled off to prison. He then spent his time behind bars reading, learning, and gradually converting to Islam.

Trouble is, the brand of Islam he converted to, the Nation of Islam, was a rogue sect of the actual global Islamic faith. This particular sect believed that all white people were "devils" and nothing could be done to save their souls. Once out of prison, he changes his last name to "X" (in honor of the Lost Tribe of Shabazz) and dedicates himself to the cause of the Nation of Islam, tirelessly pounding the pavement preaching to his black brothers and sisters the message of hope and empowerment under the guidance of Elijah Muhammad (Al Freeman Jr.).

At this point, he meets an avid supporter of the NOI, Betty (Angela Bassett). They marry and raise a family as Malcolm gains more power in the organization through organizing demonstrations against the police and "The Man" in general. This leads to bickering within the sect, ultimately casting Malcolm out.

Shaken in faith, Malcolm decides to do what any good Muslim does at some point in his life: travel to Saudi Arabia for a pilgrimage to Mecca. There his eyes are opened, as he sees people of all colors and races united to give praise to Allah. Back in America, he changes his name to the El-Hajj etc. version and starts to preach a more enlightened, more unified message of empowerment and faith. This ultimately rubs Elijah and his supporters the wrong way and sets the stage for Malcolm's final fate.

Spike Lee, in his first epic-scale directing effort, does a magnificent job in chronicling the charismatic leader's life, as well as displaying his influence on modern society. Denzel embodies Malcolm X flawlessly, right down to his gestures and manner of speech.

If you're one of those who believes Malcolm X was nothing but a hateful troublemaker, you should see this film. You'll see how the real Malik Shabazz ultimately evolved, and regret his abrupt demise, thinking about what could have become of him had he lived on and spread his new message even further.

I know my view of the man changed after watching this movie. Spike Lee's wonderful film may improve on your opinion of Malcolm X as well.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 09/16/98 01:38:58
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User Comments

9/16/17 morris campbell great bio-pic 5 stars
11/20/11 action movie fan slow boring film denzel is good but little else 2 stars
4/26/11 Kelseeey this movie SUCKED i HATED IT. i understood the plot, but it was just dumb. 1 stars
10/22/10 Dominique This movie is GREAT! Denzel played his part. 5 stars
11/24/09 The Truth A underrated film that will probably turn out to be one of the greatest of all time. 5 stars
8/29/09 Jeff Wilder Great bip-pic that offered a full 3-dimensional portrayal of Malcolm. 5 stars
7/30/09 Che Vai inspiring to all walks of life 5 stars
7/21/09 Livv Awesome, loved it =] 5 stars
12/05/08 Flowers It was a great piece of work! 4 stars
11/24/08 killer denzel is the man 5 stars
6/14/08 mody great movie 5 stars
5/19/08 jointz Malcolm X is simply epic. Why do bigots even bother rating movies like this? 5 stars
5/29/07 Kelly if you dont think it is amazing read the book then youll get it 5 stars
3/09/07 johnnyfog Denzel gets across his magnetic style and total assurance. Great film 5 stars
1/11/07 Sepi53 Great historical film 5 stars
1/03/07 Nicole Stop the pattern of violence. Stop letting poisons take over. 5 stars
5/16/06 bmac whoa. this shit was amazing 5 stars
10/19/05 millersxing Spike's vision achieved & Malcolm's vision honored. That "floating" shot always startles me 5 stars
10/11/05 Agent Sands Malcolm was one obstinate guy, but what a life. You can also tell what scenes Mamet wrote. 4 stars
8/11/05 ES X was no Martin Luther King jr.= too bad, but ok movie 3 stars
6/27/05 DM The film's few flaws do not detract from its powerhouse acting and vivid characterizations. 5 stars
6/14/05 Weltner A 3 hour,40 minte epic of black racism.What censorship?What racism?Badly made,of course!! 1 stars
2/06/05 Uncle Phucker Get you hand out of my pocket!!! 5 stars
11/21/04 tina johnson Malcolm was a bigot of Europeans and very anti-sematic 3 stars
10/21/04 Lennea Really shows what life was like for coloured people in the 50's and 60's. Opened my eyes! 5 stars
9/30/04 Daveman Doesn't achieve all it sets out to do, but some might say that it is a fateful triumph. 4 stars
5/17/04 rey eye opening 5 stars
5/13/04 Me BANG BANG! 1 stars
4/26/04 Lord Jiggy Agit-prop: ignored Malcolm's change of heart and repudiation of hating whitey b4 he died. 2 stars
3/24/04 Margie denzel was great. it's a glimpse into a part of history most people don't know about. 4 stars
3/19/04 tarik best film ever 5 stars
3/02/04 Michael Mungin Denzel gives possibly one of the best performances in the history of film. 5 stars
1/17/04 Agent Sands A good, passionate depiction that would hate to have any fictional twists. 4 stars
6/04/03 liz hated it 1 stars
10/09/02 Kitfo a didactic epic that is stylish and entertaining as well 5 stars
9/26/02 Adam Jones Unbelievably amazing 5 stars
5/27/02 R.W. Welch Interesting study in radicalization with effective portrayal by D.W. 4 stars
4/10/02 Bob Too damn long. Could have gotton the point across with a lot shorter film 2 stars
12/14/01 PuMa Cool 5 stars
11/30/01 sparkyfish This movie gives a good point of view into the afro-american's life 5 stars
11/01/01 Jacques Dekirmenjian "Awsome" I'v seen it x in the last month and gotten friends to watch it 5 stars
9/03/01 Butterbean a well done bio about Malcom X 4 stars
9/02/01 Axe_Murderer ................... 5 stars
8/11/01 Matt Simply a riveting chronical of the life and times of one Malcolm X. 5 stars
3/23/01 Margaret Comrie It was tottal crap... 1 stars
12/19/00 Diamond Red At first I expected shameless anti-white racism, but it ended up extraordinarily powerful 5 stars
8/10/00 Bruce Spike Lee topped himself with one, truly excellent 5 stars
3/05/00 Tony Joahnsson Fuckin Great 5 stars
10/14/99 Elisa Douglas Malcolm X was a remarkable and memorable film, which changed my life. 5 stars
10/06/99 strike Great beginning and after that it went downhill.At the end i felt like i had been in church 3 stars
7/07/99 Ben Leostein Rating: *** (out of ****) Category: "Good" 4 stars
6/15/99 Dylan Inspiring. 5 stars
11/24/98 Mr.Pink Interesting movie and well-acted, but it often felt like a lecture 3 stars
11/18/98 MinxxDaShorty One word Brillient 5 stars
11/16/98 Lord Of The Dunce A good film, but too long. Informed, didn't judge, but covered too many bases. 4 stars
10/15/98 Bluntman Powerful filmmaking 5 stars
9/15/98 MikeF Common brothers, show your suport! this movie was da shiznik 5 stars
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  18-Nov-1992 (R)
  DVD: 08-Feb-2005



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