The Legend of Nigger Charley

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The Legend of Nigger Charley
Directed by Martin Goldman
Produced by Larry Spangler
Written by James Warner Bellah (story),
Martin Goldman,
Larry Spangler
Starring Fred Williamson,
D'Urville Martin,
Don Pedro Colley,
Gertrude Jeanette,
Marcia McBroom,
Alan Gifford
Music by John Bennings
Cinematography Peter Eco
Edited by Howard Kuperman
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • March 17, 1972 (1972-03-17)
Running time
98 min
Country United States
Language English

The Legend of Nigger Charley is a 1972 blaxploitation western film directed by Martin Goldman. The story of a trio of escaped slaves, it was released during the heyday of blaxploitation films.

The film stars Fred Williamson as Nigger Charley. The film is rated PG in the United States. It was followed by two sequels, The Soul of Nigger Charley and Boss Nigger.

The film was renamed The Legend of Black Charley for broadcast television.[1]


An aging and dying plantation owner is deep in debt. Another man of the nature of Simon Legre is in the process of taking control of the estate and selling off the slaves to other plantation owners. The dying owner, however has freed Charley, giving him a paper that frees him. The Simon equivalent takes his paper and tears it up, beating Charlie, tying him up, intent on selling him despite his having been freed. The white man is drunk and goes to where Charlie is presumed to still be tied up, awaiting sale. Charlie is free of his bonds however and when attacked he defends himself and kills the white man. Two other slaves had already prepared to escape and were waiting for Charlie with three horses when the fight occurred and they flee together, pursued a few hours later by a group of vigilantes led by a man with a reputation as a slave hunter/killer.

The three fugitives are repeatedly denigrated when they engage in everyday activities. For instance, when Charley asks a bartender for three beers, he is asked, "Don't you know your place, nigger?" In response, Charley beats a patron and forces the bartender to flee. He then tells his friends, "I ain't never gonna be a slave again for no man ... I ain't taking no shit from no white man again. I'm a free man, and that's the way I'm gonna die."

The three seek their freedom in the Old West. But they are chased by a gang of white men on horseback, who vow not to let them go free. Throughout their journey, the escaped slaves meet villains and violence. They stop at a town deciding not to run any more and the posse arrives. The sheriff is trying to intercede peacefully and he is murdered preemptively by the leader of the posse. A gun battle ensues in the saloon with Black Charlie and his companions successfully eliminating the posse. They are joined by another black man who lived in the town and who claimed to be quite handy with a pistol - which he proves during the shoot out.

Charlie and company decide to move on, now being four instead of three. Very soon after leaving they encounter an older man from the town who is waiting for them having set up a camp for them, making their group now 5 in number.

Having initially turned them down, Charlie decides he is going to return to defend a couple who asked him for assistance, the wife being half Cherokee, and a so-called reverend who comes around and collects "tithes". During a previous visit his group had murdered the brother of the husband when he refused to give over their money. They are visited first by a trio warning of the reverends impending arrival. The reverend arrives the next day and he and his group are run off by our quintet and the husband. The next day they return again. The first loss on their side is one of them who has been using a single shot breach-loader and is shot while trying to reload. Two more of their group are lost to stupidity, leaving Charlie and Toby the sole survivor of the quintet. The film ends with Charley and his friend, Toby, surviving an intense shootout and riding off. Toby asks "Where shall we go now, Charley?" Charley responds "Don't matter. Wherever we go, there's trouble waiting for us."

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Internet Movie Database. "The Legend of Nigger Charley". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2007-01-22. 

External links[edit]