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TOP 500 REVIEWERon November 19, 2009
In 1972, thick in an era of blaxploitation films, with BUCK AND THE PREACHER, Sidney Poitier went another route and did another western (some six years after Duel at Diablo). This film marks Poitier's debut as director and also features cool Harry Belafonte in probably his best role. It's certainly his juiciest.

Is BUCK AND THE PREACHER a more relevant picture than, say, Glory? I don't know about that, but BUCK AND THE PREACHER does have things to say. It explores a point in time, right after the Civil War, in which freed slaves were making their way west to homestead. Buck (Poitier) is a no-nonsense wagon master (and an ex-Union Army sergeant) who escorts black settlers to new frontiers and attempts to protect them from night riders, vicious raiders seeking to reclaim the ex-slaves for the South. Along the way, Buck reluctantly teams up with a con-man preacher (Belafonte), and, really, the movie is at its most intriguing when the dynamics between these two characters are playing out. Belafonte and Poitier suspiciously sizing each other up makes for several terrific and taut scenes.

The leads are African-Americans, with the white guys relegated mostly to villainous roles. Sidney Poitier is his usual elegant self and he looks very much at home playing a cowboy in the Old West. Poitier's stern, stately demeanor is balanced by Belafonte's audacious performance, and I seriously need to check out the few films on his resume. By the way, Rudy Dee is also very good. There's that slice of social commentary, but I didn't feel like I was being bludgeoned over the head with it. There's some action and gun play, but also a share of contemplative moments and, okay, a slow, leisurely pace. There's a pretty cool and unconventional score and a peppering of humor, thanks mostly to Belafonte. For me, the three things which stand out the most about BUCK AND THE PREACHER: Preacher's hilarious "fornication" sermon to the night riders; that nice twist in which the Indians, not the cavalry, ride to the rescue; and Preacher's frightening disregard of dental hygiene.

Here's a neat trivia to end on: The actress who plays the Indian chief's wife? That's Harry Belafonte's wife, Julie Robinson.
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on October 17, 2002
Looking for fast, shoot-em up fun with a little morality tale attached..this is it! Sidney Poitier is terrific as Buck, the former slave now gun slinger who helps newly freed slaves to homestead out west and guards them night riders trying to bring them back to a dying, post civil war south. Belefonte is charming as the Preacher who gives the good word as well as sling a colt .45. Don't miss Belefonte's terrific "fornication" speech scene. It's topped off with a stellar supporting cast including Ruby Dee as Buck's wife. This movie would be great fun to watch back to back with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid just to compare the relationships between the four characters. So sorry this movie is hard to find. It's great fun, especially for western fans. Happy watching!
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on October 7, 2013
This movie was not really what I thought it would be but I was pleasantly surprised anyway. The pacing is good, the characters are interesting, and Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte are a great pairing for this story based on actual history. Parts of the movie are difficult to watch because of the brutality to humans, but at other times it is downright funny and suspenseful much of the time. If you can get this movie for a good price - which won't be easy - it's worth owning.
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on May 11, 2012
Buck (Sidney Poitier) is a wagon train master taking a group of freed slaves west because they got disgusted with the south. Unfortunately, there are hired guns who are paid to force them to return to their previous homes, as the plantations still need their labor. They make life miserable for the black pioneers.

Then there's the Preacher (Harry Belafonte), who is not really a preacher, but uses it as a cover so he can gain people's trust and then rip them off. The big Bible he carries is hollowed out in the center to hold a pistol.

Ruth (Ruby Dee) is Buck's woman, although it's not clear whether they are married or not. She has been staying home while Buck takes wagon trains, but eventually the Confederate officer who is working for the planters finds out about her, and she is forced to escape with Buck and Preacher, back to where the wagon train is a row of sitting ducks for . . .

Well, they have plenty of enemies, but it turns out they also have some friends. It's a rousing adventure story, and I liked it. The only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 is that . . . no, I'll let you find out about that, too. Let's just say that not everything Buck and Preacher do can be considered admirable.
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on June 11, 2000
I thought that this movie should have been a little longer. Actually I wished that it had been a little longer. This movie marks more of the heroic deeds done by African Americans that went unmarked and ignored by this "Glorious Country". This movie takes place after slavery had officially "ended". Many, African Americans desired to head out west to find better lives in the open country. But, they were often harrassed, beaten, and, sometimes, killed along the trail by racist whites. Many had no ideal or sense of direction how to get where they wanted to go. There were African American "wagon masters" that knew the countryside well and often lead fellow African Americans to their destination regardless of the possible death that lie ahead. Native Americans proved to be very important allies in the struggle. Excellent job by Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, and Ruby Dee. Great job on the video and audio transfer for a movie that hit the big screen in 1971. I also liked the menu audio which was done in dolby digital 5.1. However, the soundtrack for the movie is 2 channel dolby didgital. But, it is ample and satisfying. If you are a fan of African American westerns and or cinema, then this is a good movie to sit down and enjoy on a sunday evening.
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on November 4, 2013
Sidney Poitier makes a very good cowboy and enjoyed Harry Belafonte although he is unrecognizable as Harry. Does a tremendous job playing his role of the preacher and keeps you guessing as to whom he'll give his support to: the Good guys or the Bad Hombres! A very serious portrayal of the oppression the freed blacks faced in trying to make a life for themselves after slavery.
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on October 24, 2002
While I liked Posse, This was the film that brought the Black West to a wider audience. Sidney Poitier as Buck is exciting and Harry Belafonte and Cicely Tyson give him a big helping hand.
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VINE VOICEon January 26, 2008
This is a western coming from a very different perspective. It is good, but still a little slow at times. Other than that small complaint, I would say the movie was very, very good. If you can rent this movie, do so. It will be weel worth your time.
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on May 15, 2014
Sydney Poitier, Harry Belafonte and Ruby Dee -- a triumvirate of African-American stars usher up a true-to-life story of post- Civil-War freed slaves trying to head West to make a new life for themselves. The wagon train, guided by former Buffalo Soldier, Buck, is pursued by white Southerners who want to force the people to return to work in the fields of Louisiana. A bi-racial con man, however, has joined the train for his own selfish purposes.

When the whites catch up with the wagon train, they rape, murder and pillage and leave the survivors alone and vulnerable in Comanche territory. It is up to Buck, the con man with his very unusual Bible, and Buck's wife to find a way to salvage losses and try to get the people to the land their elderly "seer" has promised lies ahead for them.

This movie shows a part of American history that has rarely, if ever, been taught or even spoken of--freed slaves being a part of the settlement of the West. They were not only persecuted in the South, but the color of their skin made them subject to hostility wherever they went. I have seen this movie multiple times, shown it to my classroom students, and generally tried to have it viewed as much and as often as possible. Its story is a very necessary element of education for all Americans. Poitier, Belafonte and Dee perform with expected excellence in this edge-of-your-seat, nail biter.
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on March 25, 2013
This was a movie I saw as a kid a long time ago....i couldnt remember all the movie but it was worth buying, had a story kept us watching I love the together no matter what and the woman Rubyee was right there working and making it happen Sidney and Harry were get together...I love watching westerns with my husband..he started me to watching them and I am glad...
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