Leadbelly (film)

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Wide move poster for Leadbelly
Directed by Gordon Parks
Produced by Marc Merson
David Paradine
(aka, David Frost)
Written by Ernest Kinoy
Starring Roger E. Mosley
Music by Fred Karlin
Cinematography Bruce Surtees
Edited by Harry Howard
Thomas Penick
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
May 28, 1976
Running time
126 mins.
Country United States
Language English

Leadbelly is a 1976 film chronicling the life of folk singer Huddie William Ledbetter (better known as "Lead Belly"). The film was directed by Gordon Parks, and starred Roger E. Mosley in the title role.[1] The film focuses on the troubles of Lead Belly's youth in the segregated South including his time in prison, and his efforts to use his music to gain release.


The story follows Leadbelly during the early years when he worked to be a far famed singer/composer. In flashbacks, it follows his first marriage, his going to different places including a brothel, and recounts the many times he got into trouble with the law, including landing in jail for an accidental murder he never meant to commit.


External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Kevles, Barbara. "The Marketing of Leadbelly." Cineaste Fall 2003: 34-35.
  • Boyd,III, L. Roi. "Exploring Gordon Parks' "Leadbelly": Thirty Years Later" BTNews Vol.16, No.1 Winter/Spring 2006: 15-20.