Panther (film)

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Panther1995 movie poster.JPG
The movie poster for Panther.
Directed by Mario Van Peebles
Produced by Preston L. Holmes
Mario Van Peebles
Melvin Van Peebles
Screenplay by Melvin Van Peebles
Based on Panther by Melvin Van Peebles
Starring Kadeem Hardison
Bokeem Woodbine
Joe Don Baker
Courtney B. Vance
Marcus Chong
Tyrin Turner
James Russo
M. Emmet Walsh
Roberto Luis Santana
Music by Stanley Clarke
Cinematography Edward J. Pei
Edited by Earl Watson
Distributed by Gramercy Pictures
Release dates
  • May 3, 1995 (1995-05-03)
Running time
123 minutes
Language English
Box office $6,834,525

Panther is a 1995 film directed by Mario Van Peebles, from a screenplay adapted by his father, Melvin Van Peebles, from his novel of the same name. The film portrays the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, tracing the organization from its founding through its decline in a compressed timeframe. Creative license is taken but the general trajectory of the Party and its experiences is factual.

The film is notable for its strong cast: including US actors Angela Bassett, Chris Tucker, Bobby Brown and Chris Rock, who later became prominent in film and TV. Critics noted the strong resemblance of Marcus Chong to the historical figure, Huey P. Newton, whom he played.

Plot summary[edit]

The film focuses on the rise and decline of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, known as the Black Panthers, during the era of Black Power and disenchantment with passive resistance as a tool in the civil rights movement. It explores the FBI's COINTELPRO program, which was a farflung effort to track and disrupt African-American political movements.

The drama alleges that various Mob networks cooperated directly with U.S. intelligence (FBI/CIA) agency representatives to "flood" inner-city ghettos, which contained majority black populations, with hard drugs such as heroin and cocaine. The ending's structure and concluding voice-over alleges that The Mob (possibly Italian) in the United States agreed to produce and distribute quantities of these types of drugs on an unprecedentedly large scale. Purportedly, only agreed-upon "problem areas" of Black Panthers' potential support would be targeted, so as to "pacify" those populations.

The movies further suggests that the huge quantities of drugs quickly spilled out of the "problem areas" and became the drug epidemic in the U.S. of the 1980s and 1990s. The final lines shown in the film's closing note that in the 1970s, there were hundreds of thousands of hard-drug addicts, a number that had increased to the "3 million" of "yesterday". It is dedicated to the Black Panther Party's main figures, the communities that supported them, and those who might continue the struggle today.


Numerous actors who appear in the film later became prominent in the industry. Angela Bassett had gained praise for her portrayal a few years earlier as Betty Shabazz in Spike Lee's film, Malcolm X.


Main article: Panther (soundtrack)
Soundtrack album by Various artists
Released May 2, 1995
Recorded 1994-1995
Genre Hip hop, R&B
Length 77:23
Label Mercury
Producer Dallas Austin, Diamond D, Teddy Riley, Easy Mo Bee, Jermaine Dupri, Brian McKnight, QD III, Rodney Jerkins, Tony! Toni! Toné!,
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars link

A soundtrack containing R&B and hip hop music was released on May 2, 1995, by Mercury Records. It peaked at number 37 on the Billboard 200 and number 5 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and was certified gold on July 25, 1995. Featured on the soundtrack was the single "Freedom (Theme from Panther)", a collaboration among more than 60 female R&B singers and rappers that peaked at 45 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Three singles made it to the Billboard charts, "Head Nod" by Hodge, "The Points", a collaboration between 12 of hip-hop's most popular artists and groups, and "Freedom (Theme from Panther)", a collaboration between over 60 female R&B singers and rappers.

  1. "Freedom (Theme from Panther)" - 4:47
    Aaliyah, Felicia Adams, May May Ali, Amel Larrieux, Az-Iz, Blackgirl, Mary J. Blige, Tanya Blount, Brownstone, Casserine, Changing Faces, Coko, Tyler Collins, N'Dea Davenport, E.V.E., Emage, En Vogue, Eshe & Laurneá (of Arrested Development), Female, For Real, Penny Ford, Lalah Hathaway, Jade, Jamecia, Jazzyfatnastees, Queen Latifah, Billy Lawrence, Joi, Brigette McWilliams, Milira, Miss Jones, Cindy Mizelle, Monica, Me’Shell NdegéOcello, Natasha, Pebbles, Pure Soul, Raja-Nee, Brenda Russell, SWV, Chantay Savage, Sonja Marie, Tracie Spencer, Sweet Sable, TLC, Terri & Monica, Vybe, Crystal Waters, Caron Wheeler, Karyn White, Vanessa Williams, Xscape, Y?N-Vee, Zhané
  2. "Express Yourself" - 3:48 (Joe)
  3. "We'll Meet Again" - 4:43 (Blackstreet)
  4. "Black People" - 4:11 (George Clinton, Belita Woods & Funkadelic)
  5. "Let's Straighten It Out" - 4:05 (Usher & Monica)
  6. "The Points" - 4:54
    Big Mike, Biggie Smalls, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Buckshot, Busta Rhymes, Coolio, Digable Planets, Heltah Skeltah, Ill Al Skratch, Jamal, Menace Clan & Redman
  7. "Slick Partner" - 2:46 (Bobby Brown)
  8. "Stand (You Got To)" - 4:35 (Aaron Hall)
  9. "The World Is a Ghetto" - 4:32 (Da Lench Mob)
  10. "If I Were Your Woman" (Shanice & Female)
  11. "We Shall Not Be Moved" - 4:49 (Sounds of Blackness & Black Sheep)
  12. "A Natural Woman (You Make Me Feel Like)" - 3:48 (Female)
  13. "Freedom" (Dirty Dozen remix) - 4:49
    MC Lyte, Meshell Ndegeocello, Nefertiti, Patra, Queen Latifah, Salt-n-Pepa, Left Eye of TLC, Da 5 Footaz, & Yo-Yo
  14. "Head Nod" - 3:33 (Hodge)
  15. "Stand!" - 4:28 (Tony! Toni! Toné!)
  16. "Don't Give Me No Broccoli and Tell Me It's Green's" - 6:17 (The Last Poets)
  17. "The Star-Spangled Banner" - 3:12 (Brian McKnight, The Boys Choir of Harlem & Slash)
  18. "The Ultimate Sacrifice" - 3:15 (Stanley Clarke)


Home media[edit]

Panther was released on VHS and DVD but is currently out of stock.


External links[edit]