Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.



3.5 2
Director: John Singleton, Jon Voight, Ving Rhames, Don Cheadle

Cast: John Singleton, Jon Voight, Ving Rhames, Don Cheadle


See All Formats & Editions

Rosewood is the true story of an almost unknown incident in a small Florida town, (fictionalized, but faithful to the known facts, as documented in a 1994 report by the Florida Legislature). The town was inhabited almost entirely by quiet, "middle-class" African- Americans (most of them home and land owners and better off than average at the time.) On New


Rosewood is the true story of an almost unknown incident in a small Florida town, (fictionalized, but faithful to the known facts, as documented in a 1994 report by the Florida Legislature). The town was inhabited almost entirely by quiet, "middle-class" African- Americans (most of them home and land owners and better off than average at the time.) On New Year's day, 1923, the town was wiped off the face of the earth by angry whites from a neighboring community. Based on palpably false testimony by a single white woman against one "Black" stranger, many of the men of Rosewood were hunted down and lynched, or shot, or burned. The rest of the town's residents fled into the swamps and never returned. At the time, official reports stated that two to six people from the black community were slain. Neither the perpetrators nor the victims spoke of the incident again, which was promptly forgotten until 1983 when a reporter stumbled across the old story and began investigating. Interviews with surviving victims indicated that the previous reports were wrong; in reality, between 70 and 250 people were killed in Rosewood during the four-day attack. The film is a human story, about human envy, greed and lust, about the totally insane psychology of a mob, but also about the courage and decency of common folks facing an unbelievable onslaught of evil. The courage of the black residents is self evident, and the decency on the part of a few white neighbors is reluctant, until they realize that they can't live with themselves if they don't help the woman and children to escape. The most notable black heroes are Sylvester (Don Cheadle) -- a music teacher and the best-educated man in town -- and Mann (Ving Rhames) -- a stranger on horseback with Samson-like strength who becomes the focus of white hatred and black resistance. The penny-pinching, adulterous town grocer John Wright (John Voight), one of the few white residents, also plays a key role in saving lives, but before he does, he must resolve painful racial issues and make a difficult personal choice. Eventually, though, he sees enough of the mob's evil to know what he must do, and with the help of the reluctant owner-operators of the Gainesville railway, he does it. John Singleton's powerful epic film does not present a "comfortable" view of the circumstances of this grim, little-known page from American history.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Karl Williams
The best effort from filmmaker John Singleton since his debut Boyz 'N the Hood (1991), this high-quality drama ably re-creates a shocking true incident from Florida history but falters in its troubling insistence on creating a fictional, iconic protagonist around whom much of the action is centered. In its sprawling narrative, its assured evocation of its early 20th century time period, its terrific performances, and its exploration of core racial, political, and class issues, Singleton's film strongly resembles John Sayles' classic Matewan (1987). That's high praise and the film certainly earns it, but the insertion of the nearly mythic character Mann (Ving Rhames) dilutes the powerfully compelling story unfolding here. Mann at times resembles a little too closely the sort of no-name action heroes assayed by Clint Eastwood, making his presence distracting as well as condescending. It seems that either the production company or the filmmakers didn't trust their audience to understand that the real hero of the piece is Sylvester Carrier (Don Cheadle), the music teacher who swallows his grief and outrage, doing what he must to survive. Maybe that wasn't heroic enough for Hollywood movie producers but Rosewood (1997) is based on a true story and Carrier's real-life brand of courage should have been more than enough to avoid the use of such a ham-handed cliché.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
[Full Frame, Wide Screen]
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Commentary by director John Singleton; Production notes; Theatrical trailer; Languages: English & Español; Subtitles: English, Français & Español; (feature film only)

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jon Voight John Wright
Ving Rhames Mann
Don Cheadle Sylvester Carrier
Bruce McGill Duke
Loren Dean James Taylor
Esther Rolle Sarah Carrier
Michael Rooker Sheriff Walker
Catherine Kellner Fanny Taylor
Elise Neal Scrappie
Akosua Busia Jewel
Paul Benjamin James Carrier
Kevin Jackson Sam Carter
Mark Boone Poly
Muse Watson Henry Andrews
Badja Djola John Bradley
Kathryn Meisle Mary Wright
Jaimz Woolvett Deputy Earl

Technical Credits
John Singleton Director
Jerry Ballew Asst. Director
Tracy Barone Executive Producer
Veda Campbell Sound/Sound Designer
Bruce Cannon Editor
Ruth E. Carter Costumes/Costume Designer
Marion Dougherty Casting
Penelope L. Foster Co-producer
Mark Garner Set Decoration/Design
Chris Gorak Art Director
Johnny E. Jensen Cinematographer
Russ Kavanaugh Associate Producer
Daniel May Set Decoration/Design
Jon Peters Producer
Gary Pilkinton Special Effects
Gregory Poirier Screenwriter
Peter A. Ramsey Associate Producer
Paul Sylbert Production Designer
John Williams [composer] Score Composer

Scene Index

Disc #1, Side A -- Rosewood: Featuree Film
1. Rosewood Morning [4:54]
2. Sumner Morning [3:37]
3. Unhurried Stranger [5:35]
4. Talk With Mr. Andrews [4:03]
5. Heaven on Earth? [6:17]
6. War Stories [4:12]
7. Fanny's Assault [2:53]
8. Look for Rosewood [3:25]
9. The Auction [1:12]
10. Start of a Lie [3:09]
11. Welcome to Levy [2:09]
12. Out Loud [2:04]
13. The Mob Sets Out [1:41]
14. We Gotta Deliver! [3:11]
15. First Casualty [6:42]
16. No Praying Mood [4:06]
17. See Who Stops You [1:36]
18. Keepsakes [2:47]
19. Under Control [1:39]
20. Another Word.... [1:55]
21. A Fool Stays Put [3:30]
Disc #1, Side B -- Rosewood - Additional Features
1. Ain't Got Piano [1:31]
2. Birthday Cut Short [2:26]
3. Sarah's Plea [1:36]
4. Under Attack [2:55]
5. Into the Woods [2:01]
6. Dreams in Ashes [6:12]
7. Sunday Worst [4:16]
8. Hesitant Samaritan [1:51]
9. The County Line [1:55]
10. A Rescuer [2:33]
11. Now a Man [2:47]
12. House Divided [3:09]
13. Brought up Short [5:51]
14. Bargain for Life [3:43]
15. Desperate Moon [2:46]
16. Way the World Is [1:29]
17. Close Calls [2:57]
18. At Rope's End [4:44]
19. All Aboard [2:54]
20. In the Trenches [2:57]
21. Booker T's Rider [1:45]
22. Next Morning [1:18]
23. Liar Legacy/No Man [2:29]
24. Coda [4:48]


Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Rosewood 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Director John Singleton, of "Boyz N the Hood" fame, does a top-notch job throughout this two and a half hour film of conveying the building and inevitable terror of what is to come, and of then sustaining that terror. Visually, he's a master storyteller. The trigger was a white woman, beaten black and blue by her lover. To explain the bruises to her husband, she claims that a black intruder worked her over. Never mind that her housekeepers saw perfectly well who did it. And that he wasn't black. Forget due process. In short order, strange fruit was hanging high and blood lust for more was in the air. When one of the housekeepers finally stepped forward to try to quell the tide of violence by telling what she saw, well, suffice to say that no good deed goes unpunished. Ultimately, Rosewood was reduced to ashes. I consider this film one of those that you might not necessarily want to see, but you need to. Because it's that necessary harsh kind of art, another example of which that readily leaps to mind is Alice Walker's book, Possessing the Secret of Joy. Based on a true story, this is Singleton's intrepid of the destruction of Rosewood, an all-black town in Florida. The incident occurred in 1923 and the film gets kudos all the way around. First of all, the script by Poirier is dead-on, giving you characters that have significant depth to them. Singleton directs the material well, helping to make you care about these people before the insanity begins. And the good news is that the cast is superb and definitely up to the challenge. Rhames, always an SDI favorite, shows that he can carry a leading role as the enigmatic Mann, a veteran who shows up just in time to try to facilitate some of Rosewood's citizens surviving the onslaught. Voight is in fine form as well as a store owner in Rosewood who is uncertain where his loyalties lie when the bullets start flying. Cheadle gets points as well as the proud Sylvester who knows when it's time to stop talking. The strength of this film is that it's brutally honest about the intrepid that it's providing. The inhumanity is not glamorized or backed away from, it's put in front of you with the understanding that you're there to witness it and learn. It also provides an important lesson in racism, and how the belief system functions, by being passed down from generation to generation. Excellent filmmaking on the part of Singleton and unfortunately lost once Oscar-time rolled around.