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This article is about the film. For other uses, see Bamboozle.
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Spike Lee
Produced by Jon Kilik
Spike Lee
Written by Spike Lee
Starring Damon Wayans
Savion Glover
Jada Pinkett Smith
Tommy Davidson
Michael Rapaport
Music by Terence Blanchard
Cinematography Ellen Kuras
Edited by Sam Pollard
Distributed by New Line Cinema
Release dates
  • October 6, 2000 (2000-10-06)
Running time
135 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $10 million
Box office $2,463,650[1]

Bamboozled is a 2000 satirical film written and directed by Spike Lee about a modern televised minstrel show featuring black actors donning blackface makeup and the violent fall-out from the show's success. The film was given a limited release by New Line Cinema during the fall of 2000, and was released on DVD the following year.


Pierre Delacroix (whose real name is Peerless Dothan), (Damon Wayans) is an uptight, Harvard University-educated black man, working for a television network known as CNS (for "Continental Network System"). At work, he has to endure torment from his boss Thomas Dunwitty (Michael Rapaport), a tactless, boorish white man. Not only does Dunwitty talk like an urban black man, and use the word "nigger" repeatedly in conversations, he also proudly proclaims that he is more black than Delacroix and that he can use nigger since he is married to a black woman and has two mixed- race children. Dunwitty frequently rejects Delacroix's scripts for television series that portray black people in positive, intelligent scenarios, dismissing them as "Cosby clones".

Facing the necessity of either coming up with a hit black-centric show or being fired, Delacroix decides to aim for the latter. Delacroix would be in violation of his contract if he resigned, but getting fired would release him from it and allow him to seek work at another network. With help from his personal assistant Sloane Hopkins (Jada Pinkett Smith), Delacroix decides to pitch a minstrel show. Mantan: The New Millennium Minstrel Show is complete with black actors in blackface, extremely racist jokes and puns, and even offensively stereotyped CGI-animated cartoons that caricature the leading stars of the new show.

Delacroix develops the program believing that the network would reject such over-the-top racism and fire him immediately. Delacroix and Hopkins decide to recruit two impoverished street performers, Manray (Savion Glover, named after American artist Man Ray) and Womack (Tommy Davidson) -- homeless squatters who regularly perform outside CNS' headquarters building to star in the show. While Womack is horrified when Delacroix tells him details about the show, Manray willfully agrees to star in the show, seeing it as his big chance to become rich and famous for his tap-dancing skills.

The police quickly catch The Mau Maus, shooting them down in a hail of bullets. The camera lingers on their corpses, especially female rapper Smooth Blak's (Charli Baltimore) corpse. They leave only one survivor, a white member known as "One-Sixteenth Black" (MC Serch), who tearfully proclaims that he is "black" and demands to die with the rest of his group instead of being arrested.

Furious, Hopkins confronts Delacroix at gunpoint with her brother's revolver and demands that he watch the tape she prepared for him. Delacroix, after watching the tape, tries to get the gun, but is shot in the stomach.



Most of the film was shot on Mini DV digital video using the Sony VX 1000 camera, and later converted to film format.[2] This kept the budget to US$10 million, and allowed the use of multiple cameras to capture masters, two-shots, and close-ups at the same time to save time.[2] The Mantan: New Millenium Minstrel Show sequences, and their sponsor ads, were shot on Super 16 film stock.[2]


The soundtrack album for the film was released September 26, 2000 by Motown Records. The album consisted of hip hop and contemporary R&B, and was India.Arie's first time on an album, with six singles.


Bamboozled received mixed reviews;[3][4][5] it currently holds a 48% 'rotten' rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with the consensus "Bamboozled is too over the top in its satire and comes across as more messy and overwrought than biting."[6]

Box office[edit]

The movie was a bomb at the box office, earning only $2,463,650 on a $10 million budget.[1][7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Bamboozled (2000)". Box Office Mojo. 2002-08-28. Retrieved 2012-10-02. 
  2. ^ a b c Lee, Spike (2001). Audio commentary for Bamboozled. New Line Home Entertainment.
  3. ^ " - Entertainment - 'Bamboozled' offers unblinking look at race, perceptions - October 4, 2000". Retrieved 2012-10-02. 
  4. ^ KENNETH TURAN (2000-10-06). "Satire, Rage Add Up to Audacious 'Bamboozled' - Los Angeles Times". Retrieved 2012-10-02. 
  5. ^ Holden, Stephen (2000-10-06). "Movie Review - Bamboozled - FILM REVIEW; Trying On Blackface in a Flirtation With Fire -". Retrieved 2012-10-02. 
  6. ^ Bamboozled at Rotten Tomatoes
  7. ^ ROBERT F. MOSS (1987-06-07). "Was Al Jolson 'Bamboozled'? - Los Angeles Times". Retrieved 2012-10-02. 

External links[edit]