Willie Dynamite

Overview

Willie Dynamite Roscoe Orman is a Manhattan pimp whose life and career are documented in this blaxploitation flick. Willie makes it to the top of his precarious profession, only to hit rock bottom again in record time. In her last movie role, Diana Sands plays an ex-hooker who becomes a social worker. She tries to get Willie to clean up his act before it's too late. Willie Dynamite was produced by Richard Zanuck and David Brown, who shortly afterward collaborated on a more ...
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Overview

Willie Dynamite Roscoe Orman is a Manhattan pimp whose life and career are documented in this blaxploitation flick. Willie makes it to the top of his precarious profession, only to hit rock bottom again in record time. In her last movie role, Diana Sands plays an ex-hooker who becomes a social worker. She tries to get Willie to clean up his act before it's too late. Willie Dynamite was produced by Richard Zanuck and David Brown, who shortly afterward collaborated on a more upbeat project, The Sting.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Despite its focus on the title character, Willie Dynamite is not the kind of gangsta-glorifying blaxploitation opus one might expect. In fact, it's a surprisingly serious drama that downplays sauciness and comic-book violence to focus on the moral implications of ghetto crime and prostitution. However, Willie Dynamite never quite manages to live up to the power of its convictions due to an unfortunate tendency toward melodrama. For instance, the performances frequently go over the top: Roscoe Orman's otherwise compelling and energetic work in the title role is occasionally undone by some tough-guy excesses, and the many police and pimp supporting characters are a bit too broad to be fully believable. Diana Sands delivers the finest performance as Cora, managing to bring a genuine earnestness and flawed humanity to a character that could have been another bland do-gooder. Also, the script piles on tragedy after tragedy on its title character in a way that undermines the story's believability, before capping the tale with an attempt at an uplifting ending that fails to convince. Despite these problems, Willie Dynamite remains compelling viewing for African-American film enthusiasts thanks to inspired direction by Gilbert Moses. He makes great use of convincingly gritty New York locations and creates some energetic set pieces in the process, including a memorably suspenseful chase in a set of tenements. The film also boasts some above-average production values -- the sets, costumes, and vehicles that depict the pimp lifestyle are genuinely eye-popping. In the end, Willie Dynamite lacks the consistency and dramatic strength it aspires to but remains an intriguing time capsule for 1970s cult-film fanatics.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/30/2001
  • UPC: 096898352239
  • Original Release: 1973
  • Rating:

  • Source: Universal Studios
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Roscoe Orman Willie
Diana Sands Cora
Jack Bernardi Willie's Lawyer
Juanita Brown Sola
Judy Brown Georgia
Marilyn Coleman Connie
Norma Donaldson Honey
Ted Gehring Sergeant
Albert Hall Pointer
Ron Henriques Cyrus
Wynn Irwin Bailiff
Richard Lawson Sugar
Ken Lynch
Marcia McBroom Pearl
George Murdock Celli
Thalmus Rasulala Daniels
Davis Roberts Judge
Roger Robinson Bell
Joyce Walker Pashen
Royce Wallace Willie's Mother
Mary Wilcox Scatback
Technical Credits
Gilbert Moses Director
David Brown Producer
Claire P. Brown Set Decoration/Design
Ron Cutler Screenwriter
J.J. Johnson Score Composer, Songwriter
Bernard Johnson Costumes/Costume Designer
John T. McCormack Art Director
Ronald Pierce Sound/Sound Designer
Frank Stanley Cinematographer
Aaron Stell Editor
Waldon O. Watson Sound/Sound Designer
Richard D. Zanuck Producer
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