Free Angela and All Political Prisoners (2012) Poster

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well produced and fulfilling film
ian-dodkins31 August 2013
This is a documentary, but in no way dry or boring. An educated civil rights activist, Angela was arrested and kept in solitary confinement (as so many political prisoners were during the civil rights movement) awaiting trial for murder and conspiracy.

There is excellent footage and well edited interviews with family, lawyers, FBI agents and Angela herself. Angela comes across as an excellent speaker; controlled and factual, and it is no surprise she garnered so much support. The finale is well presented and the film is gripping from start to end. During the time of the civil rights movement in the US, it paints sufficient backdrop to understand the environment in which she was living, but the focus is definitely on her story and her trial.

This film will become an important contribution to material on the civil rights struggle in the US, whilst being easy and accessible to everyone. The personality of the people being interviewed shines through, and throughout a lot of the film I found it both emotional and uplifting. Angela personifies the intellectual struggle to change America.
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kmadiso22 December 2014
This is now one of my favorite documentaries of all times. I am a big history and documentary buff. It is an epic story, much more so than I ever knew. There are so many facets of the story revealed in this doc that I was not aware of before. The way it combines archival film, rare photography, interviews, historical documents, and graphic art is very compelling. It is really masterful in terms of storytelling. This production brings the complexity of this historical moment to life. It conveys a historical moment that is very important to understand in the history of the struggle against racism in America. And yet it is such an ultimately hopeful and inspiring film! Excellent production. I wish everyone could and would see this documentary!
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Stellar Accounting
machetemouse12 September 2014
Shola Lynch is constant as the northern star and on point in her telling of the Story of Angela Davis. While primarily perceived as a symbol of "Black Power", her rally-cry of Power to the People revealed her true allegiance to the communist party. The film is a wonderful journey through the "way-back machine" for a bird's eye view of the climate of that time. The winds of change were fresh and palpable. Compared to today, what we see now seems cliché and stale due to cooptation, redirection, subversion and self dealing. I had greater confidence in the so called justice system at the time of Angela's trial, before the proverbial new Jim Crow Esq. I would like to see this film widely distributed! Free Angela Davis and all Political Prisoners gets my STAMP! of approval.
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So long ago
olastensson1319 July 2014
Seems strange now, but once there was a revolutionary movement in USA. To the left, that is. Angela Davis was a black communist philosophy teacher at UCLA and very medial. Therefore or in spite of that she was accused of conspiracy. Four people were killed in connection to a trial. And the weapons were registered on her.

Davis tells herself what happened. She for a while risked capital punishment. It was maybe the beginning of the political backlash in USA, which still is going on.

Lots of clips in this documentary, showing a time which seems so extremely distanced from our present.
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a sober presentation of actual events
chuck-52621 November 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Lots of archival footage and reminiscences by the people involved are deftly inter-cut with voice-overs and current interviews. From a technical point of view, this is a very well crafted documentary.

It focuses on Angela Davis herself and on the political events she was involved in. Although it mentions the larger milieu (things like academic philosophy, American social change, the civil rights movement, and Viet Nam) in passing, it doesn't focus on or drill down into that. Also, it's obvious some of her commitments were more than just political; they had some very personal and emotional aspects. And again, this isn't covered directly at all.

History will probably appreciate having this record. On the other hand rank and file interest will likely be limited by the "preaching to the choir" problem. This is not presented with "good guys" and "bad guys"; it's much more nuanced and clinical than that. Nevertheless, potential viewers with a pronounced conservative viewpoint may have a hard time watching it.

One of initial criticisms I remember is that Angela Davis's academic focus was so wildly out of sync with then-current U.S. academic fashions it was hard for a reporter to even take it seriously. It turns out she lived in Europe for quite a while, including doing her graduate studies there. As a result she absorbed a European academic focus, which was quite different from what went on in the U.S. at the time. In particular a focus on the philosophy behind "communism" was almost part of the furniture in Europe, but was very foreign in the U.S. Her having a different focus was a main reason UCLA recruited her, as they were having a hard time finding academics qualified to teach subjects like "Marxism".

I also learned that initially she had a very hard time breaking into any "revolutionary" organizations in the U.S. Her background and credentials were so un-revolutionary that most folks strongly suspected she was some kind of plant or informer. Often she was more than just not taken seriously; she was actively excluded.

This is certainly better than faded memories of old (and perhaps "spun") news reports. As with many documentaries, it focuses on the actual events, and doesn't delve into or speculate about motivations.
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Powerful Must See!
novice-johnson21 March 2013
Thanks to Jada Pinkett Smith, Sidra Smith and their staff for this information and fact-filled story. Free Angela & All Political Prisoners fills in all the blanks you might have had about Angela's journey. For those who know nothing about who Angela Davis is and what she's been through, let the awakening begin! Grab your social calendars and add Free Angela now...check for dates and times; as it is only showing in selected cities nationwide as of April 5th. I saw a premiere in Miami at the Women's International Film Festival 2013, and found myself chanting "Free Angela" right along with the movie! You've gotta see this...just do it!(I gave it a 9 out of 10 because the only thing missing is more cities showing it!)
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See this Film!!!
ggibson24714 August 2013
I laughed, cried and cheered in THAT order at this film...Brilliant!!! What a wonderful and accurate story that needed to be told accurately. I was at the premiere and sat right in front of Common who was next to Ms. Davis' sister and family. To listen to their raw emotion was priceless. I went to go see it 2 additional times after-wards and I cannot wait to add this film to my very small DVD collection. I don't buy movies...this one will be in my collection. I recall leaving the film and hearing someone say "damn, I am just not doing enough in my life"...for the record, that woman does plenty; but what Ms. Davis went! This is a must see.

Thank you Sidra, Shoyla and Jada for birthing this baby!
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