Imperial Dreams

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Imperial Dreams
Official poster
Directed byMalik Vitthal
Produced byJonathan Schwartz
Andrea Sperling
Katherine Fairfax Wright
Written byMalik Vitthal
Ismet Prcic
StarringJohn Boyega
Rotimi Akinosho
Keke Palmer
Glenn Plummer
De'Aundre Bonds
Music byFlying Lotus
CinematographyMonika Lenczewska
Edited bySuzanne Spangler
Super Crispy Entertainment
Distributed byNetflix
Release date
  • January 20, 2014 (2014-01-20) (Sundance)
  • February 3, 2017 (2017-02-03) (Netflix)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States

Imperial Dreams is an American drama film written and directed by Malik Vitthal.[1][2] The film had its world premiere at 2014 Sundance Film Festival on January 20, 2014.[3][4] It won the Audience Award at the festival.[5][6] The film was released as a Netflix original film on February 3, 2017.


A 21-year-old reformed gangster Bambi's devotion to his family, particularly his son Daytone, and his family's future are put to the test when he is released from prison and returns to his violent old stomping grounds in Watts, Los Angeles. Themes include mass incarceration, the importance of education, racial profiling by police, and the many obstacles present in the system that prevent those interested in rehabilitation to survive when placed back in society. The title Imperial Dreams references a point in the movie where the nature of emperors of the projects is expounded upon. It's also a reference to the housing projects where the movie takes place, Imperial Courts, in Watts.



The film won the Audience Award: Best of NEXT at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

Imperial Dreams received positive reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 91% of 11 film critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 7.3 out of 10.[7]

Geoffrey Berkshire of Variety, in his review called the film "Bighearted yet surprisingly nuanced."[8] Justin Lowe by his review for The Hollywood Reporter praised the film in calling it "An assured debut that stands to connect with a diverse audience."[9] Chase Whale of Indiewire graded the film B+ by saying that "John Boyega first wowed audiences with his dynamite performance in Attack the Block. Once again playing the anti-hero, Imperial Dreams is another victory lap for this young actor, who's going to go on to do big, big things."[10]


  1. ^ "Sundance 2014: South Central L.A. is the Wild West in 'Imperial Dreams' -- EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS". Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  2. ^ "Sundance Reveals New Talent John Boyega in 'Imperial Dreams'". Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  3. ^ "Sundance 2014: The Next <=> Lineup". Retrieved January 18, 2014.
  4. ^ "Interview with Imperial Dreams Producer Katherine Fairfax Wright". Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  5. ^ "Sundance: 'Whiplash' & 'Rich Hill' Win Grand Jury Awards; Dramatic Directing Goes To Cutter Hodierne For 'Fishing Without Nets'". Retrieved January 26, 2014.
  6. ^ "'Whiplash' Owns the 2014 Sundance Film Festival Awards Netting Two Top Prizes". Retrieved January 26, 2014.
  7. ^ "Imperial Dreams (2014)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
  8. ^ "Sundance Film Review: 'Imperial Dreams'". Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  9. ^ "Imperial Dreams: Sundance Review". Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  10. ^ "Sundance Review: 'Imperial Dreams' Features A Knockout Performance From 'Attack the Block' Star John Boyega". Retrieved May 7, 2014.

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