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Film / Panther

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Panther DVD cover
Panther is a 1995 American Afro-American/historical/political/drama/biopic that is based on Melvin Van Peebles's novel, Panther, which itself is based on the events of the Black Panther Party organization that came out of the Civil Rights Movement. It was co-produced by Poly Gram Filmed Entertainment, Working Title Films, Tri Be Ca Productions, and MVP Films, with Gramercy Pictures as the distributor. The all-star cast consisted of, among others, Kadeem Hardison, Anthony Griffith, Angela Bassett, Courtney B. Vance, M Emmett Walsh, Bobby Brown, Chris Rock, Jenifer Lewis, Dick Gregory, and Tyrin Turner. The director was Van Peebles's son, Mario Van Peebles, who also appeared in this. This movie has the notable distinction of being the first to revolve around the Black Panthers.

Beginning in the late 1960s, in Oakland, following a tragic incident in which a black boy is killed, a group of several American blacks decide to follow in the footsteps of civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X by forming the Black Panther Party. Fighting both for justice and for the cause of equal rights.

Panther provides examples of:

  • African-American Media: The black characters play pivotal roles in this.
  • The Aggressive Drug Dealer: Sabu becomes one of these, with help from the police department and even the Italian Cartel. He goes from a greedy conman to a drug crime boss, poisoning the Oakland community with heroin and cocaine while killing anyone who tries to stop him.
  • The Bad Guys Are Cops: The Oakland Police Department sets up False Flag Operation tactics against the BPP to arrest and even kill its members and even go out of their way to plant drug addicts to set up sting operations. They even force Judge to supply them information against his will on threat of death. Cops across the country are also shown blowing up food distribution offices and being solely shown as Rabid Cop or Cowboy Cop.
  • Biopic: This story doesn't feature just one historical figure, but several others as well.
  • Cleavage Window: Bernadette, as part of her white bra can also be seen.
  • Comedic Underwear Exposure: Bernadette, due to an updraft her skirt receives from a passing bus.
  • Creator Cameo: Mario Van Peebles, the director, appears as Stokely Carmichael, while his father Melvin, whose book the movie is based on, appears as a jailbird.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The immoral detective Brimmer who spends much of the film threatening and bullying Judge into betraying the BPP reaches his breaking point when he finds out the FBI and his superiors demand he protect the Italian Mob as they flood the Oakland Community with drugs. Essentially being reduced as a bodyguard for drug dealers destroys his sense of patriotism and he ends up demanding Judge simply leave town while he still can.
  • The Filmofthe Book: This is an adaptation of the novel of the same title by Melvin Van Peebles.
  • Government Drug Enforcement: The hoary old conspiracy theory that the U.S. government secretly invented crack and encouraged gangsters to sell drugs in the Black ghettoes to keep Blacks down is presented as fact.
  • Marilyn Maneuver: During the opening credits of the 1995 film Panther (which is a fictionalized account of the uprising of The Black Panther Party), there are scenes in which a boy riding a bicycle notices a woman in a green hat and dress named Bernadette is at a bus stop. The boy peddles toward her checking her out and sees a bus driving across the street, heading in their direction. The boy anticipates the draft from the passing bus to blow up Bernadette's dress, which evidently does, she gasps and is mortified. When her dress gets lifted, rather than holding that down, she holds on to her hat to keep that from getting blown away and raises one leg, knee bent forward, to hide part of her unmentionables, which are white panties with matching girdle (or corset). The boy enjoys the view and gets a snicker out of it.
  • The Mole: Judge, he's unwillingly and brutally forced by the police department to spy on the Panthers lest they arrest and kill his mother and feed them information while also being Huey's personal informant to feed selective information back to the police.
  • The Movie: Adaptated from the same-titled novel.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Bernadette has not only her cleavage on display, but also both frontal and rear views of her undies, following the passing bus incident.
  • Of Corsets Funny: Among the undergarments that are shown underneath Bernadette's skirt.
  • Stocking Filler: Bernadette, as revealed once her dress gets caught in the bus's draft.
  • The Whitest Black Guy: Special FBI Agent Pruitt is a villainous one of these, as an African-American working to undermine the effort of the BPP under incorrect accusations that they are sponsoring communists to undermine American efforts in the Vietnam War. He fervently denies any strong association with other African Americans, dismisses their living standards as ghettos and any help they receive, callously helps peddle heroin from drug cartels to poison the Oakland community, and blatantly voices a mixture of Patriotic Fervor, Boomerang Bigot views, and supremacist subservience views when questioned by a sympathetic black cop.
    Cop: You know, you can't help but admire those young brothas. They do a lot of good in their communities.
    Agent Pruitt: Ever heard about the common good? The United States of America is more than a simple collection of ghettos. This country was built on capitalism and democracy, and in a democracy the majority rules. We are a minority. Unless we integrate fully.
    Cop: Whose side are you on, brotha?
    Agent Pruitt: No, whose side are you on, officer?