IMDb > Watermelon Man (1970)
Watermelon Man
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Watermelon Man (1970) More at IMDbPro »

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Up 12% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Herman Raucher (written by)
View company contact information for Watermelon Man on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
27 May 1970 (USA) See more »
The Uppity Movie. See more »
An extremely bigoted white man finds out the hard (and somewhat humorous) way what it's like being a black man, firsthand! Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Nominated for BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win See more »
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User Reviews:
Melvin Van Peebles' Watermelon Man starring Godfrey Cambridge provides plenty of ironic humor concerning stereotypes See more (28 total) »


  (in credits order)

Godfrey Cambridge ... Jeff Gerber

Estelle Parsons ... Althea Gerber

Howard Caine ... Mr. Townsend

D'Urville Martin ... Bus Driver

Mantan Moreland ... Counterman
Kay Kimberly ... Erica

Kay E. Kuter ... Dr. Wainwright
Scott Garrett ... Burton Gerber

Erin Moran ... Janice Gerber
Irving Selbst ... Mr. Johnson

Emil Sitka ... Delivery Man
Lawrence Parke ... 1st Passenger
Karl Lukas ... Policeman #2
Ray Ballard ... 3rd Passenger
Robert Dagny ... 2nd Passenger

Paul Williams ... Employment Office Clerk (as Paul H. Williams)
Ralph Montgomery ... Drugstore Boss
Charles Lampkin ... Dr. Catlin
Vivian Rhodes ... Gladys

Erik L. Nelson ... Doorman (as Erik Nelson)
Matthias Uitz ... Cab Driver
Rhodie Cogan ... Mrs. Johnson
Donna Dubrow ... Receptionist

Frank Farmer ... Andy Brandon
Hazel Medina ... Widow
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ron Pinkard

Mae Clarke ... Old Woman (uncredited)
Clark Ross ... Townsman (uncredited)

Almira Sessions ... Woman on Bus (uncredited)

Melvin Van Peebles ... Sign Painter (uncredited)

Directed by
Melvin Van Peebles 
Writing credits
Herman Raucher (written by)

Produced by
John B. Bennett .... producer
Leon Mirell .... executive producer
Original Music by
Melvin Van Peebles 
Cinematography by
W. Wallace Kelley (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Carl Kress 
Art Direction by
Malcolm C. Bert 
Sydney Z. Litwack 
Set Decoration by
John Burton 
Makeup Department
Virginia Jones .... hair stylist
Ben Lane .... makeup supervisor
Production Management
Sheldon Schrager .... unit production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Sheldon Schrager .... assistant director
Sound Department
Les Fresholtz .... sound
John H. Newman .... sound editor (as John Newman)
Luke Wolfram .... sound editor
Camera and Electrical Department
Carl Manoogian .... key grip
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Gene Ashman .... wardrobe
Edna Taylor .... wardrobe
Music Department
Ralph James Hall .... music editor (as Ralph Hall)
Robert Matthews .... orchestrator
Mike Deasy .... musician (uncredited)
Other crew
Ivan Beckoff .... assistant to producer
Marshall Schlom .... script supervisor
Cassius Weathersby .... production assistant (uncredited)

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"The Watermelon Man" - USA (video box title)
"Человек-арбуз" - Soviet Union (Russian title)
"A Noite em que o Sol Brilhou" - Brazil (imdb display title)
"Ein Mann sieht schwarz" - Germany (première title)
"L'uomo caffellatte" - Italy
"O Dia Em Que o Sol Brilhou" - Brazil (TV title)
"Plötsligt en natt blev jag svart" - Sweden (imdb display title)
See more »
100 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
USA:R (certificate #22400)

Did You Know?

Was released the same day as "Cotton Comes To Harlem" which also starred Godfrey Cambridge.See more »
Jeff Gerber:Come on girls get back to work or you'll be back out on the streets working for real money.See more »
Movie Connections:
Where Are The ChildrenSee more »


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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful.
Melvin Van Peebles' Watermelon Man starring Godfrey Cambridge provides plenty of ironic humor concerning stereotypes, 27 February 2011
Author: tavm from Baton Rouge, LA

Continuing to review African-Americans in film in chronological order for Black History Month, we're still in 1970 when director Melvin Van Peebles makes his first major studio feature having previously done a critically acclaimed independent one called Story of a Three Day Pass. He casts comedian Godfrey Cambridge as Jeff Gerber who we initially meet as an obnoxious white insurance man-along with wife Althea (Estelle Parsons) and their two kids of different genders-who likes to run when leaving for his job in order to beat the bus. By the way, the light-skinned makeup on Cambridge is about as convincingly white on him as it was on Eddie Murphy in the "White Like Me" short film he did on "Saturday Night Live", that is, not much. Anyway, when the change comes, well, that's when all hell breaks loose! Now, knowing what I know about ironic humor concerning stereotypes, I found the whole thing just a little over-the-top and, you know what? I also found the whole thing hilarious! I mean, how can you not laugh at the attempts Godfrey keeps making to turn himself "back" like drinking lots of milk or putting his face in plaster. Plus, there's many funny sudden turns from now-"brothers" like the bus driver played by D'Urville Martin who claims to be Hispanic or Mantan Moreland as the counterman at his regular eatery who, when asked to look at his skin, says, "I don't need to look at your skin, I can see my own!" And wait till you see how Three Stooges regular supporting player Emil Sitka reacts when he gets attacked by Jeff over some new sunlamps! Not to mention Jeff's bed scenes with a flirtatious secretary named Erica (Kay Kimberly). I think I've said enough so all I'll say now is that Van Peebles provides much funny stuff from Herman Raucher's script in addition to his own contributions with his occasionally distorted score. So on that note, Watermelon Man comes highly recommended. P.S. It's quite interesting seeing who's also in this movie besides those I've already mentioned like singer/songwriter Paul Williams-here credited with the middle initial H-as an employment clerk or a young girl named Erin Moran-later to portray the teen Joanie Cunningham on "Happy Days"-as daughter Janice Gerber.

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