Watch The Final Comedown
- 1 hr 23 min
The Final Comedown is a gritty crime story from 1972 that stars Billy Dee Williams as Johnny Johnson, a Black activist who becomes embroiled in a dangerous plot to take down a drug kingpin. Set in Los Angeles during the early 1970s, the film tackles issues of racism, police brutality, and social justice in a time of increasing unrest and protest. The plot revolves around Johnny, a former college professor who has become disillusioned with the system and turned to activism as a means of fighting for what he believes in. After a run-in with the police leaves one of his fellow activists dead, Johnny finds himself on the run and in need of a place to hide. He turns to an old friend, Harry (D'Urville Martin), a small-time drug dealer who reluctantly agrees to help him. Harry introduces Johnny to his roommate, a beautiful young woman named Heather (Celia Milius). Though initially wary of each other, Johnny and Heather quickly develop a bond based on their shared passion for justice and their desire to make a difference in the world. As the three of them spend more time together, they realize that the drug trade in their neighborhood is not just a matter of personal choice, but rather a symptom of larger systemic issues that need to be addressed. Johnny decides to take action, and he rallies a group of fellow activists to stage a protest against the local drug kingpin, a ruthless criminal known only as "The Man." The Final Comedown features a strong ensemble cast, including several notable African American actors of the era, such as Glynn Turman, Art Evans, and Paul Winfield. The film explores issues that were particularly relevant at the time, such as the relationship between law enforcement and minority communities, and the moral ambiguity of taking violent action in pursuit of social justice. Director Oscar Williams infuses the film with a sense of urgency and realism, using hand-held cameras and natural lighting to give the scenes a documentary-like quality. The script, written by George F. Slavin and Eric Bercovici, is both socially conscious and emotionally resonant, drawing on the personal experiences of many of the actors involved. While the film received mixed reviews upon its release, it has since gained a cult following among fans of 1970s blaxploitation cinema, thanks in large part to the dynamic performance by Billy Dee Williams in the lead role. The Final Comedown is a powerful and thought-provoking film that still resonates with audiences today, and serves as a reminder of the continued struggle for equality and justice in America.