Cornbread, Earl and Me
|Cornbread, Earl and Me|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Joseph Manduke|
|Produced by||Joseph Manduke|
|Written by||Ronald Fair|
|Based on||Hog Butcher|
by Ronald Fair
|Music by||Donald Byrd|
|Edited by||Aaron Stell|
|Distributed by||American International Pictures|
|May 21, 1975|
Cornbread, Earl and Me is a 1975 American blaxploitation drama film that stars Tierre Turner, Laurence Fishburne (in his film debut), and Jamaal Wilkes and directed and co-produced by Joseph Manduke, the film is loosely based on the 1966 Ronald Fair novel Hog Butcher.
The film focuses on three African-American youths living in an urban neighborhood. Nathaniel Hamilton (Jamaal Wilkes, credited as Keith Wilkes) is a star basketball player from the neighborhood, who also goes by the nickname of "Cornbread." In the movie, he epitomizes the dream of the neighborhood to be successful, as he is about to become the first from his district to enter college on an athletic scholarship. He is also a local hero to the much younger friends Earl Carter (Tierre Turner) and Wilford Robinson (Laurence Fishburne). The plot thickens after a pick-up basketball game ends because of a heavy rain, and all the kids run to the local store and hang out, waiting for the rain to end. All the kids leave, except for Cornbread, Earl and Wilford. Earl and Wilford get into a playful argument about how fast Cornbread can run home. It is decided that Cornbread should make it home in 25 seconds, so he runs off, after buying another soda for himself. Unknown to all of them, an assault suspect is in the neighborhood, and is dressed like Cornbread. The two police officers are hot on the suspect's trail, but lose him in the rain. As the police officers are coming out of an alleyway, they see Cornbread running by and mistake him for the suspect they're looking for. Subsequently, Cornbread is shot in the back, and dies in the middle of the street. Wilford screams hysterically, and a riot ensues. The coroner's inquest is hampered by severe police intimidation, and no one knows anything about the shooting, except for Wilford, who becomes a man on the witness stand by telling exactly what he saw, in graphic detail.
- Moses Gunn as Benjamin Blackwell (lawyer)
- Rosalind Cash as Sarah Robinson (mother of Wilford)
- Bernie Casey as Larry Atkins (cop)
- Madge Sinclair as Leona Hamilton (mother of Cornbread)
- Laurence Fishburne III as Wilford Robinson
- Thalmus Rasulala as Charlie (boyfriend of Sarah)
- Antonio Fargas as One Eye
- Logan Ramsey as Deputy Coroner
- Vince Martorano as John Golich (cop)
- Charles Lampkin as Fred Jenkins (store owner)
- Stefan Gierasch as Sgt. Danaher
- Stack Pierce as Sam Hamilton (father of Cornbread)
- Tierre Turner as Earl Carter (Wilford's friend)
- Jamaal Wilkes (credited as Keith Wilkes) as Nathaniel "Cornbread" Hamilton
Released on May 21, 1975, the film made $83,512 at New York City’s Penthouse Theatre in its first week of release. In its third week of release the film made $228,000 from 12 cities. In 1977, the Los Angeles Times stated that it was ultimately a box-office success.
- "Cornbread, Earl and Me (1975)". American Film Institute. Retrieved December 4, 2019.
- "Cornbread, Earl and Me". Turner Classic Movies. United States: Turner Broadcasting System. Retrieved March 5, 2018.
- Fair, Ronald (1966). Hog Butcher. San Diego: Harcourt. ISBN 978-0151417025.
- Fair, Ronald L. & Brown, Cecil (Foreword) (1966). Hog Butchers. ISBN 9780810129887.
- "Cornbread, Earl and Me". MTV Movies.
- "Cornbread, Earl and Me DVD". Movies.com. Retrieved October 19, 2014.