American Pimp

American Pimp

3.8 5
Director: Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes

Cast: Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes


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Albert and Allen Hughes, the writing and directing team of Menace II Society and Dead Presidents, turn their documentary eye to the world of street pimps in this 1999 Sundance Film Festival Documentary Competition entry. The black urban pimps interviewed here open up to reveal their world and their secrets to the camera in a film that is not about sex,…  See more details below


Albert and Allen Hughes, the writing and directing team of Menace II Society and Dead Presidents, turn their documentary eye to the world of street pimps in this 1999 Sundance Film Festival Documentary Competition entry. The black urban pimps interviewed here open up to reveal their world and their secrets to the camera in a film that is not about sex, but about power. We meet pimps named Filmore Slim, C-Note, K-Red, Gorgeous Dre, and Rosebudd as they discuss their business, including percentages, lifestyles, stealing "ho's," and the Player's Ball. These men exude charm and charisma, and boast rock-star status in their communities, with expensive clothes, cars, and bankrolls. The film works as an allegory to the film and music industries, where people are lured with glamour and money, only to be used as commodity and tossed out once they have passed their prime. The film also traces the history of the street pimp from the '20s to the present, with particular emphasis on the '70s pimp, whose lifestyle was exposed in the blaxploitation films of the '70s.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Gregory Baird
"Priests need nuns. Doctors need nurses. Ho's need pimps," explains one of the loquacious subjects of this mesmerizing and often disturbing documentary. Directed by the Hughes brothers, Albert and Allen (Menace II Society, Dead Presidents), American Pimp explores the history of the pimp archetype. The Hughes, who traveled to 15 cities and worked without a crew while conducting interviews with 30 pimps, weave together archival footage and clips from Blaxploitation films, as well as the occasional comment from a prostitute. But for the most part, the film simply allows these remarkably charismatic men -- with colorful names like Fillmore Slim, Charm, Gorgeous Dre, and Bishop Don Magic Juan -- to speak for themselves. And speak they do. America Pimp makes it clear that, above and beyond the gold chains, diamond rings, and "snakeskin down to the floor," these pimps have a way with words: they're all fast-talking, articulate, witty, and simply riveting as they explain the science and art of their trade.
All Movie Guide - Brian J. Dillard
In this era of hip-hop ubiquity and voracious recycling of the past, blaxploitation chic has so permeated music, TV, films, and fashion that pimp mythology is sometimes difficult to put aside. In their first documentary foray, however, Menace II Society filmmakers Albert Hughes and Allen Hughes use this pop-culture lens as a point of departure, contrasting their outrageous collection of interview subjects with historical footage and Hollywood clips. The result is a film as disturbing and thought-provoking as it is humorous and wildly entertaining. Like many documentaries about controversial topics, American Pimp walks a fine line between presenting its subjects unflinchingly and glorifying their sometimes despicable actions and beliefs. In fact, given the self-aggrandizing fashions and mannerisms adopted by both the media's imagined, archetypal pimps and their real-life counterparts, it would be difficult to make a film about the subject that couldn't be accused of promoting the lifestyle. Yet the contradictions in the pimps' own stories provide a subtle layer of subtext, lacing the men's breezy narratives of money, power, and respect with an undercurrent of self-delusion and at least a modicum of gender equity. One pimp ends up in prison; another marries his final whore and becomes a suburban telemarketing manager. The notion that pimping is just a mirror image of American capitalism is carried out in the men's hunger for money and their constant allusions to "the game." Some of the film's plentiful laughs are the result of ironic cross-cutting, but most come from the "I can't believe he just said that" school. When one pimp, discussing his code of ethics, declares proudly that he's never stolen anything "but a bitch's mind," the line is as likely to provoke disgust as it is laughter. Unfortunately, though, actual women are in short supply in American Pimp, and interviews with prostitutes few and far between. For a movie that raises such interesting questions about representations of black men in the American media, the film could have used a few more conversations with real-life women. As is, however, American Pimp sheds light on an aspect of our culture so pervasive yet hidden that it's worth seeing just for the chance to hear these men speak out. As with most documentaries, the film itself is only the beginning of the conversation.

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American Pimp 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Tha Huaghs Brothers aint no joke. Thiz waz a bad a** flick. I own it on DVD. I never get tired of watchin' it. No actorz, no script. Just real life pimpz talkin' about real life pimp s**t. Tha Huaghs Brothers did a hell of a job. They xxxplore tha pimp lifestyle and follow tha upz and downz of tha profession. Thiz waz by far tha best documentery I have ever seen. It did'nt xploit tha pimp lifestyle like tha movie Pimps Up Ho's Down did. A must have.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This film was very enlightening, to say the least. It shows the underworld of pimping and hoing at it's best and worst. The MEN in this film are brutaly honest about their profession, and so are the women. If you are like me, and are fascinated by people who live on the edge, take this vicarious ride thru ''the life''. The Hughes brothers must be commended on their ability to get these people to open up and talk about their lives. The language is quite uncouth, but the people are telling you the truth as they see it. Everyone knows that the main part of the game is talking, rapping per se, and when you run out of words, the game ends.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When you turn on a camera you get actors even when they tell it like it is.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Reveals "tha life" of a pimp and his "bitches," not to be sexist, but that's how they talk and that's what this tremendously honest and disturbing DVD has to show. All the pimps are very loquacious and manipulative and charming to say the least. The one criticism I have is that they didn't have enough of the prostitute's voice.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
keep your wallet in your pocket. This stinks.