"A genre all by herself" (Voice), Pam Grier tacklesand shacklesher sleekest role yet as the feistier half of a pair of women in chains and on the run in this "colorful, outrageous and truly exciting" action flick (The Holl... more »ywood Reporter)! Grier is Lee Daniels, a prostitute doing hard time in an island prison camp for women where the guards have a new way to punish inmates who fight: by cuffing 'em together! Chained to her bitter rival, white revolutionary Karen (Margaret Markov), Lee finds herself literally linked to the revolutionary causeand on the flywhenKaren's guerrilla friends stage a coup! But this foxy inmate's got a cause of her own in the form of a secret stash of cold, hard cash and a getaway boat! Brawling with her white counterpart over which way to go, and tracked like a dog by guards, guerrillas and a gangster after the loot, she's gotta make her escapebefore both mamas' enemies bring them down for good!« less
"Good Movie. However, not one of the best women in prison movies that the 70's has been so well known for, but it's certainly worth watching. Grier and Markov make for a great tag team. They're both really hot women and even get nude together in one scene (that alone makes the film worth seeing). One thing that makes the movie stand out from the rest(prison flicks) is the fact that it's more than just a prison flick, 60 percent of the movie takes place outside of the prison walls. One of the major highlights is a super catfight between Grier and Markov (meow) All in all this is a must see for Grier fans. Also if you want to see these two in another film together check out the ARENA."
Black mama White mama, two hot mamas!
Johny Bottom | Jacksonville, NC | 01/22/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Now this be a movie! On an unnamed Carribean Island our heros Grier (prostitute)and Markov (terrorist) are bused into a female prison. Watch female guards get themselves off while watching playful inmates shower. If a prisoner 'plays good' with the head guard they get out of work. Pam don't like having to pull other people's load, gets into a messhal fight with Markov. They are put into the sweatbox together. There is only room to stand, and they must lean their physiques against each other to stand, because the walls are too hot to touch.Later they are chained together for interigation because they both have information on two separate parties (druglords and a terrorist group planning to take over the island). While enroute they escape with the help of a terrorist ambush. While on the run, and chained together, Grier wants to go to one side of the island to get her boat and stolen cash, while Markov wants to go to the other side of the island to get the weapons her terrorist friends need.High points 1) they dress as nuns while on the run 2) a lot of nudity 3) The rhinestone cowboy Puerto Rican bounty hunter who is as much out of place on that island as is a snowball."
Enjoyable Ride With Cool Girls Under the Hot Sun
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 12/19/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Though an entry of 'Soul Cinema Collection,' "Black Mama, White Mama" does not belong to so-called blaxploitation films. "BMWM"'s idea clearly comes from "The Defiant Ones" and here we see an incongruous pair chained to each other, on the run from the prison for women.Women's prison? Yes, as avid movie fans know, we have a minor genre dealing with women's prison. Its formula has been the same: cruel wardens, violence among the prisoners, the rigid rules that donimates them, etc., and before the hit of "Coffy," Pam Grier had to serve about two years in this genre. By the time of 1970s the genre has become famous (or notorious) for its violence and nudity, and both stars here also are thrown into women's prison on an unnamed island just after the opening credit. So you know what you see in the next shower room scene.Thankfully, the prison sequences are not long, and Pam & Margaret soon manage to escape, chained together by the hand, and run and run and ... well, the rest is, as you expect, lots of set-pieces: shootings between guards, gang, and revolutionary guerrillas (!) They are mildly entertaining, especially when Pam is on the screen, but as a whole too familiar to get excited. Still, several scenes are momorable: both stars disguised as nuns, and a very unique way of giving a false scent to a chasing dog by giving a pooch Margaret's underwear. And check out their clothes, especially Pam's (red one); they always look too clean for runaway prisoners!"Black Mama, White Mama" is worth a look for Pam Grier fans because it seems a miracle now that she survived those Grade-B films to finally be praised by her portraying Jackie Brown with her dynamite performance 24 years later. Another interesting thing about "BMWM" is that the story is co-wriiten by Jonathan Demme, who one year before "BMWH" produced and also co-wrote the same kind of film "The Hot Box," which incidentally features Margaret Markov. (For the record, in another film "Arena" Pam and Margaret both appear.) Demme himself is to direct another women-in-prison movie called "The Caged Heat," his first feature film, in 1974. A long way to "The Silence of the Lambs," isn't it?"
Steamy jungle saga with Pam!
Bill W. Dalton | Santa Ana, CA USA | 05/05/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Pam Grier is the black mama and Margaret Markov is the white mama in this "homage" (let us not say "rip-off") to the old 1958 Tony Curtis-Sidney Poitier classic The Defiant Ones, in which two escaping prison inmates are chained together, and must overcome their loathing for each other and work together in order to gain their freedom. In this version, director Eddie Romero (of the Blood Island trilogy) has, instead of a black guy and a prejudiced white guy, a black hooker and a revolutionist white girl, which allows for cat-fights and nude scenes, as well as the chase through the Philippine jungle. The two escapees are pursued by the cops, a drug lord, a bounty hunter, and a guerrilla leader, all with their own motives for catching the runaways. This is another bare-bones DVD from MGM which has only the movie trailer and a scene/language selector for bonus features. (Well, you do see Pam Grier's bare-bones, so that's not so bad!) The image quality is not the best, though. Still, it's worth its price for Romero/Grier/women-in-prison fans."
[3.5]--"Let's get down to some serious B&tt-kicking business
Jenny J.J.I. | That Lives in Carolinas | 09/17/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I don't understand anyone who says that this is one of the worst exploitation films they have ever seen. Just the title alone gives this cult status and all the ingredients are here for it being an extremely fun film to watch. Yeah I'll admit that women's Prison flicks are terrible. They are all about getting girls naked. BAD action sequences & Horrible acting always plague these movies. They're usually made for teenagers who watch late night SKINemax. Black Mama White Mama on the other hand is fun. It doesn't take it self seriously. It even has drama that is topped off with a dramatic ending.
Cult figure Pam Grier gets her first starring role in this WIP ("Women in Prison"). She plays a convicted hooker who escapes from prison, chained together to another prisoner (a white woman convicted of sedition). The film starts off as any typical 1970s exploitation movie, but it changes gears quickly, becoming a female variation of Kramer's The Defiant Ones (1958). It is a welcome twist to the old formula. Grier is allowed to play a more feminine, gentler role here, and she does a great job with her character. Margaret Markov is effective as Grier's unlikely partner in crime. Fans of Zombie's House of 1,000 Corpses (2003) and The Devil's Rejects (2005) will recognize cult character actor Sid Haig; he is a hoot as Ruben The Cowboy.
Plenty of violence, blood, and sex are combined with a silly subplot about a group of revolutionaries. I thought director Romero did a good job in sustaining the initial momentum, and I liked how the potentially sappy finale remained tough and cruel to the very last second. Morally dubious, but entertaining, and a great showcase for the incomparable Pam Grier. Co-written by Jonathan Demme. This would probably get an NC-17 if released today.
One thing for sure is that you won't ever see a film like this and probably never would. "Black Mama, White Mama" is certainly not a masterpiece but it is worth a look. "