This Day in Film: "A Rage in Harlem"

This Day in Film: "A Rage in Harlem"

"Harlem" was all the rage on the big screen 20 years ago.

Published May 3, 2011

Starring Robin Givens, Forest Whitaker, Danny Glover and Gregory Hines, A Rage in Harlem debuted in theaters exactly 20 years ago today. Based on the Chester Himes novel of the same name, the film follows the story of crime bosses in 1950s' Harlem. 

Directed by Bill Duke, the Miramax production was a hit at the 44th Cannes Film Festival and received a standing ovation. However, when released, A Rage in Harlem was met with mixed reviews and The New York Times said it had a "heedlessly incomprehensible plot."

Although based in Harlem, A Rage in Harlem was filmed in Cincinnati, Ohio. In addition, for fans of Eddie Murphy's Harlem Nights (released in 1989), A Rage in Harlem felt like a copycat. Nonetheless, the all-star cast was the major draw for the fillm and included Danny Glover, Gregory Hines and future Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker. Robin Givens beat out Vanessa Williams, Pam Grier and Jasmine Guy for the female lead.


A Rage in Harlem was a moderate hit. The flick had a budget of eight million and managed to gross more than 10 million at the box office. 

Written by Clay Cane


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