Starring Robin Givens, Forest Whitaker, Danny Glover and Gregory Hines, A Rage in Harlem debuted in theaters exactly 29 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. The New York Times review said it had a “heedlessly incomprehensible plot.”Although based in Harlem, A Rage in Harlem was filmed in Cincinnati, Ohio. For fans of Eddie Murphy’s Harlem Nights (released in 1989), A Rage in Harlem felt like a copycat. However, it was another depiction of Black life and the all-star cast was a major draw for the film. 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. See the trailer below:
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