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Judas and the Black Messiah 15 rating

Daniel Kaluuya is electrifying as Fred Hampton, leader of the Chicago chapter of the Black Panther party, in Shaka King's visceral crime thriller and immersive slice of American history.

Drama 2020 125 mins

Director: Shaka King


The story of Fred Hampton, the gifted civil rights leader who rose through the Black Panther party to became chairman of the Chicago chapter, is often missing from history. And even lesser known is the role that petty criminal and FBI informant William O’Neal played in his downfall. Director Shaka King tells both their stories with complexity and careful precision, in this fast paced and hard-hitting drama, fused together with gripping editing and stunning (BAFTA nominated) cinematography. At the centre of it all, pulsing through the film is a trilogy of exceptional and electrifying performances from Daniel Kaluuya as Fred Hampton, LaKeith Stanfield as William O’Neal and Dominique Fishback in a heart-breaking turn as Hampton’s partner Deborah Johnson.

Simultaneously a taut crime thriller, a visceral emotional drama and an immersive piece of important American history, Judas and the Black messiah is one of the most compelling and essential films you will see this year. Presented alongside the film, from We Are Parable and spoken word collective Poetic Unity, is a series of poems, specially commissioned to describe 5 of the 10 points defined in The Black Panther Party for Self Defence programme, written by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale. These five moving pieces illustrate how relevant the points of the programme still are to this day. Recorded Q&As with Shaka King, Daniel Kaluuya, LaKeith Stanfield, Dominique Fishback and additional members of the creative teams behind Judas and the Black Messiah are available to watch on the BFI YouTube Channel.