Watch Cornbread, Earl and Me
- 1 hr 35 min
Cornbread, Earl and Me is a drama film from 1975 directed by Joseph Manduke. The movie tells the story of a young boy named Nathaniel Hamilton Jr, nicknamed "Cornbread", who dreams of becoming a professional basketball player. Cornbread lives with his mother and father in their apartment in an African-American neighborhood in Philadelphia. He is loved by many in the community for his talent on the basketball court and his warm personality. Cornbread's best friend is Earl Carter, who is about to join the army. Before leaving, Earl wants to play one final basketball game with Cornbread. After the game, they walk back to their neighborhood and witness a police officer shooting a young man in the back. Horrified, they run back to their community to tell everyone what they saw. The victim turns out to be "Cool" Papa Baker, a promising young basketball star. As the community struggles to cope with the loss of Cool Papa, tensions between the police and African-American community reach a boiling point. The police deny any wrongdoing and claim that Cool Papa was a criminal who tried to draw his weapon. The Hamilton family, along with their neighbors and friends, are outraged and demand justice for Cool Papa's death. The case gains national attention, and Cornbread becomes a symbol of hope for those who seek justice. The film explores themes of racism, police brutality, and the power of community solidarity. It also delves into the relationship between law enforcement and African-American communities. The angry reactions of the community are presented with a sense of urgency, as they express their frustration with institutionalized racism and injustice. The movie portrays the way in which marginalized groups are treated as second-class citizens and the methods they use to demand their rights. Cornbread, Earl and Me stars Moses Gunn as Nathaniel Hamilton Sr, Cornbread's father, Rosalind Cash as Mary, Cornbread's mother, and Bernie Casey as "Wilford Robinson," a peddler who takes a liking to Cornbread. The acting in the movie is engaging and authentic, with each actor portraying realistic characters with their hopes, fears, and passions. The movie is notable for its understated direction by Joseph Manduke. Manduke skillfully manages to present the film's central message without ever resorting to heavy-handedness. The film is well paced and has a natural flow. The soundtrack of Cornbread, Earl and Me is also noteworthy, featuring music from Motown Records such as Marvin Gaye's "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" and Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground." Overall, Cornbread, Earl and Me is a powerful and timeless drama that still resonates today. It gives an honest look at the struggles of African-American communities in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It presents the issues of racial injustice and police brutality in a realistic and balanced way, without resorting to sensationalism. The movie is a must-watch for anyone interested in the history of civil rights and social justice in America.