Black and White (1999 drama film)

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Black and White
Black and White (1999 film) poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJames Toback
Produced byDaniel Bigel
Michael Mailer
Ron Rotholz
Edward R. Pressman (Executive Producer)
Written byJames Toback
Music byAmerican Cream Team
CinematographyDavid Ferrara
Edited byMyron Kerstein
Distributed byScreen Gems (through Sony Pictures Releasing[1])
Release date
  • September 4, 1999 (1999-09-04) (Telluride)
  • April 5, 2000 (2000-04-05) (United States)
Running time
98 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$12 million
Box office$5 million[2]

Black and White is a 1999 American film directed by James Toback and starring Robert Downey Jr., Gaby Hoffmann, Allan Houston, Jared Leto, Scott Caan, Claudia Schiffer, Brooke Shields, Bijou Phillips and members of the Wu-Tang Clan (Raekwon, Method Man, Ghostface Killah, Oli "Power" Grant, Masta Killa, Bruce Lamar Mayfield "Chip Banks" and Inspectah Deck) and Onyx (Fredro Starr and Sticky Fingaz). The film also features Ben Stiller as a sleazy police detective, as well as Mike Tyson playing himself and Michael B. Jordan in his film debut. It had its first showing at the Telluride Film Festival on September 4, 1999, followed by a second screening at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 15, 1999. It had its theatrical release in the United States on April 5, 2000.


Rich Bower (Power) is a mover and shaker in the world of rap music (he's involved with a number of other licit and illicit business ventures as well), and his apartment is a favored meeting place for musicians, hangers-on, and hipsters who want to seem cool, including a gang of white kids who want to be on the inside of what they consider the coolest scene of the day. Sam (Shields), a filmmaker, is making a documentary about Rich and his circle, with the help of her husband Terry (Downey), a closeted homosexual who doesn't feel at home in this milieu.

Dean (Houston) is Rich's black friend since childhood and a skilled college basketball player. He is offered a deal by a bookmaker, Mark (Stiller) to throw a few games for a price. Dean takes the money against his better judgment, and he soon realizes how much of a mistake he made when Mark turns out to be a cop hoping to dig up dirt on Rich. Rich in turn discovers that Dean might be forced to tell what he knows to stay out of jail, and he decides that Dean has to be killed; however, rather than murder his friend himself, Rich asks one of the white kids who hangs out with him, who seems especially eager to prove himself, to do it for him. The kid, however, is actually the son of the District Attorney.



Most of the script was improvised by the cast.[citation needed] All of Claudia Schiffer's lines are completely written.

Because she had not had them done previously, Claudia Schiffer had to have her ears pierced especially for the large hoop earrings worn by her character. In addition to wearing fake dreadlocks, Brooke Shields also wore a nose ring for this film, for which she had her nose temporarily pierced.


Review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes reports that 38% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 82 reviews; the critical consensus states, "The atmosphere is affecting, and the story, at times, is compelling, but with a lean script and limp direction, Black and White doesn't add up to much."[3] On Metacritic, which assigns an average rating out of 100 based on review s from film critics, the film has a rating score of 47%, aggregating 27 reviews.[4] Roger Ebert gave the film three out of four stars.[5]

In the United States, Black and White grossed $5,241,315 in its four-week release.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Black and White (2000)". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved 15 March 2021.
  2. ^ Black and White at Box Office Mojo
  3. ^ "Black and White". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved May 21, 2021.
  4. ^ "Black and White". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  5. ^ Ebert, Roger (April 5, 2000). "Black and White". Roger Ebert. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  6. ^ "IMDB Box Office Results".

External links[edit]