• Wattstax (1973)


Release Date: 1973

R |1 hr 38 min

Plot Summary

In 1972 at the Los Angeles Coliseum, director Mel Stuart captures the performances of the Watts Summer Festival. Organized by Stax Records, the festival is a gathering of musicians and entertainers from the black community, brought together to remember the Watts Riots from seven years prior. Key performances include those of comedian Richard Pryor, and singers Isaac Hayes and Luther Ingram. Stuart also presents shots of the Watts streets and community along with the festival footage.

Cast: James Alexander, Raymond Allen, Isaac Hayes, Luther Ingram, Jesse Jackson, Albert King, Ted Lange, Little Milton

Director: Mel Stuart

Genres: Documentary , Music

Production Co: Stax Records, Wolper Productions

Keywords: Amusing, Emotional, 1970s

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Ratings & Reviews

  • 75
    Wesley MorrisBoston Globe

    Wattstax is a disorienting and ironic moviegoing experience. It's a film about the curative powers of rhythm-and-blues music that sets out to frustrate your sense of rhythm in its insistence on the blues. show more

  • 70
    TV Guide Magazine

    The film is saved by the raw power of the performances, and especially, Richard Pryor's bitterly funny observations. show more

  • 100
    Seattle Post-Intelligencer

    Commentary from shockingly outspoken Watts residents on topics ranging from revolution to infidelity are a vital part of the documentary. show more

See all critic reviews on metacritic.com

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Nominated Documentary