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Malcolm X marked a milestone in the filmmaker's Spike Lee's artistic maturity. It seemed everything Lee had done up to that point was to prepare him for this epic biography of America's fiery civil-rights leader, who is superbly played by Oscar-nominated Denzel Washington, from his early days as a zoot-suited hustler known as "Detroit Red" to his spiritual maturity after his pilgrimage to Mecca, as a Black Muslim by the name of El Hajj Malik El Shabazz. Do the Right Thing climaxed with the photographic images of Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King engulfed by flames of rage; Malcolm X explores the genesis and evolution of that rage over Malcolm's lifetime, and how these two great figures--held up to the public as polar-opposites within the African American human rights movement (King for nonviolent civil disobedience, Malcolm for achieving equality "by any means necessary")--were each essential to the agenda of the other. Warner Home Video (DVD Release Date: January 18, 2000), Directors: Spike Lee, Actors: Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, Al Freeman Jr., Sonny Jim Gaines, Albert Hall, English, Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested), Run Time: 202 minutes.
Lee careens from the hedonistic ebullience of Malcolm's early days to the stark despair of prison, from his life-changing conversion to Islam to his emergence as a dynamic political leader--all with an epic sweep and vitality that illuminates personal details as well as political ideology. Angela Bassett is also terrific as Malcolm's wife, Betty Shabazz. --Jim Emerson
Commentary by Spike Lee, cinematographer Ernest Dickerson, editor Barry Alexander Brown and costume designer Ruth Carter
All new documentary By Any Means Necessary: The Making of Malcolm X
10 additional scenes with on-camera introduction by Spike Lee
Oscar-nominated 1972 documentary Malcolm X