You will be redirected back to your article in seconds
Back to IndieWire

Speaking Of “Goodbye Uncle Tom” – Wanna See It?

Speaking Of "Goodbye Uncle Tom" - Wanna See It?

In our endless discussion about Tarantino’s Django Unchained , a few commenters have mentioned the film Goodbye Uncle Tom (AKA Addio Zio Tom).

For those of you unaware, the 1971 Italian film by Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi was a pseudo-documentary, using actors to re-create the horrors of slavery in the deep South.

The filmmakers were notorious during the 1960’s for their “Mondo” series of films, such as Mondo Cane (A HUGE inde success back in 1962), Mondo Candido, and Africa Addio, which were all hard core exploitation documentaries, basically displaying every kind of sadism and depravity imaginable (And remember this was back before the ratings system).

Goodbye Uncle Tom did play briefly in some urban theaters in the early 70’s, but in a shortened version in the U.S., for fear that black people would rise up, go bat-shit crazy and start riots. Didn’t really help. Black people still got very ANGRY when they saw the film, and, not surprisingly, the film was quickly pulled from distribution. But it has gained a genuine cult following since then.

And if you want to see the entire 124-minute original version, leave it to us to present it to you. You can watch it right here. Be forewarned – it’s not pleasant stuff. But then again, how could it be?

This Article is related to: Uncategorized and tagged


jean brody

Video did not load and could not get it to play, I was using Google Chrome browser on win vista system? What gives? website down? server problem?


The original Italian version is 132 minutes I think. I’ve seen both versions and the Italian one is the more interesting of the two just because of the amount of time it devotes to at-the-time-contemporary black political movements in the United States.

The US version is the more stomach churning of the two, though. More rape, castration, fake shit, whipping, etc. It’s the DVD I throw in when I want people to leave my house.


Images of Black people being dehumanized accompanied by the benny hill slapstick soundtrack is more than enough to keep me far away from this garbage.

Slavery was horrific enough, it did not need to be presented as shock cinema by a few bored White hacks.


@ Cameron

So you have seen the film haven’t you? And the 124 minute version is the shorter U.S. version? You mean the original film was longer?


Film is worth watching if you’re into exploitation cinema or want to see something that is LEGITIMATELY shocking.

It is, however, beyond misguided and completely tone-deaf when it comes to racial politics. The story is that Jacopetti and Prosperi were totally confused and hurt by the accusations that they were racist based on their string of Mondo films. To prove that they were sensitive filmmakers, they took off to the Caribbean and filmed Goodbye Uncle Tom. Not only was it cheaper for them to film in the Caribbean, but the reports that they were exploiting their actors (not paying them, etc.) would be less likely to bring about any sort of consequences. The film is so unintentionally racist that it becomes almost comedy.

The version posted is the shortened American version which ramps up the sex and violence but eliminates the secondary documentary thread exploring civil rights movements in America. Interesting that this is the content that would rile up black people in America and not the depraved spectacle of slavery. Also, one of the best and most insane endings of the exploitation era.


Staying far away from this film. Mississippi Burning made me want to crack open some white skulls. Now that I’ve got a gun permit…LOL


I want to watch this but i’m afraid i’ll get really angry. I’m not having a good day already thinking about Django Unchained and Broomhilda’s character lol.

One film I did enjoy although it was difficult to watch at times was Beloved. I never hear anyone talking about it. I thought Thandie’s performance was a over the top but regardless it’s an underrated film IMO.

Anyways, I will try to watch this later on since I try to watch all films made about slavery. I’m curious about this one and hadn’t heard of it before.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *