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Crips and Bloods: Made in America

62 customer reviews

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(May 19, 2009)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

South Los Angeles is home to two of America's most infamous African-American gangs: the Crips and the Bloods. On these streets over the past 30 years, more than 15,000 people have been murdered in an ongoing cycle of gang violence that continues unabated. In MADE IN AMERICA, renowned documentarian Stacy Peralta blends gripping archival footage and photos with in-depth interviews of current and former gang members, historians, and experts, documenting the emergence of the Bloods and the Crips, but also offering insight as to how this ongoing tragedy might be resolved.

Rival L.A. gangs the Crips and Bloods have permeated deep into American pop culture including film, television, and music epitomizing wanton violence and hopelessness. Regardless of how gritty gang life is portrayed in entertainment, nothing can compare to the disturbing and frightening reality of life in South Central Los Angeles. Stacy Peralta's (Dogtown and Z-Boys, Riding Giants) chilling documentary Crips and Bloods: Made in America is a peek into their world, setting out to uncover why the rivalry was created and continues. It begins with a history lesson of the area and how racism, segregation, constant police monitoring, unemployment, broken homes, and civil unrest (e.g., the Watts riots) sowed the seeds of animosity, tension, and violence. The younger generation in the 1970s gravitated towards gang life seeking acceptance, identity, community, and protection. But as the gangs grew larger they became more territorial. Guns were eventually introduced, then drugs, leading to the 30-year war that has claimed the lives of over 15,000 people, just miles away from Beverly Hills. Combining archival footage and loads of candid interviews from existing and former members, Crips and Bloods is a gripping and honest telling of a horrible situation. --Rob Bracco

Product Details

  • Actors: Jim Brown, Forest Whitaker, Tom Hayden, Todd Boyd, Gerard Horne
  • Directors: Stacy Peralta
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: May 19, 2009
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001O7R74K
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,948 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Crips and Bloods: Made in America" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Jim Van Cise on August 22, 2009
Format: DVD
I was skeptical. What does a blonde (now grey) former professional skateboarder (now film maker) from the other side of town know about gang wars in LA? And then there's me: a white guy from the suburbs in Ohio who was raised by a gun collector who is still pretty open about his use of the"N" word. When I hear about gang violence: I just shrug: "It's probably a fight over something stupid." Still, this film remained in my queue and wasn't working its way up very quickly.

I elevated this movie to #1 when Michael Vick was signed by the Eagles. In one week: I heard two accounts from completely different lifestyles: Prissy ESPN sports talk show host Mike Greenberg declared that he had never heard of the subculture known as dog fighting until the Vick case made the news. Vick stated that dog fighting in his childhood neighborhood was so common that police would stop to see a fight and then drive away. Dog fighting was the norm. It was then when I knew I had to check out Peralta's newest movie as I'd loved the Dog Town and Z Boys documentary.

The first 25-30 minutes of the movie covers pre-1970 race riots in LA and other cities. How invisible lines created "hoods" by police who would commonly question straying pedestrians about "why don't you go back to your neighborhood?" Then abruptly, the movie takes a sharp turn when vocal black leaders like MLK, Malcom X and others are thrown in jail or murdered. Suddenly, all the icons were gone. Think of the Living Colour song: Cult of Personality - "When that leader speaks, that leader dies."

For the rest of the movie I was hooked. I couldn't grasp what was happening. The Crips and Bloods seemed to come out of nowhere. Peralta seemed to have skipped something important. But he didn't.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Professor Brizz on May 13, 2009
Format: DVD
Simply some of the most powerful footage and commentary on race in America I've ever seen. Powerful Powerful stuff. Something every American should sit down and pay very close attention to. The section on the Watts Riots gave me chills....just incredibly well done. The explication of the economic foundation of LA's ghettoization is succinct and 100% on target. The way the film traces the roots of today's problems so clearly to Slavery, Jim Crow, and the marginalization of the American black in the most prosperous period after WWII is pitch perfect. It's hard to comprehend how someone can grow up in LA and never have seen the Pacific Ocean...but that insular world of crips and bloods is an epidemic America is going to have to confront sooner or later.

Buy this dvd and watch this film...
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By ViAmber on March 26, 2009
Format: DVD
I just saw this movie last night and will be returning again to see it. It was very powerful, much more so than I would have ever imagined.

The film traces back through history, detailing the "roots of rage", so to speak, for the black man in Los Angeles. The film is never boring, utilizing archival film clips from the past, interspersed with interviews from past gang members who are incredibly articulate and erudite. Kumasi's barely controlled ire is tempered with measured intelligent speech. I was enthralled.

The only surprise for me was the lack of mention of the influence of rap music vis a vis the gangs, although there is plenty to be had on the soundtrack throughout.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By yaldabaoth on December 21, 2010
Format: DVD
The documentary lays down the socio-political context that defines much of the contemporary African-American experience in the US of A. Broken families, bad schools, no jobs, rampant violence that often has no visible cause. A society in disintegration where joining a "gang" means joining a family. It is clear to even the casual viewer that building more prisons is not going to solve the problems faced by those communities. Nor will giving more tax breaks and unearned bonuses to vampire squids.

The film is based on interviews with current and former gang members, and a few dedicated and caring activists who see the kids in gangs as human beings who have an inalienable right to a decent, safe and happy life. What struck me was the eloquence of the interviewees as well as the raw pain speaking - the pain of loss, the pain of the child, the pain of the outsider. Pain that needs to be kept under the tough guy facade 'because only the strong survive'. The beauty and heart-shattering grief of women experiencing the loss of their kids, nephews and grandchildren. The raw, human power that is squandered by keeping those young people ghettoed in.

I'd be interested in seeing how the reviewers croaking about "personal responsibility" on these pages felt if they were harassed by the police every time they crossed a certain street (into a neighborhood where they were not 'supposed' to be). If they had been kept away from progress, growth, respect, education, equal opportunity by the lack of access and institutionalized neglect. I find it amazing that the film does not make you sad or make you want to help, but rather compels you to display your own disconnectedness and lack of humaneness.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By B. Connor on July 9, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Tears cascade down the faces of family members holding pictures of loved ones murdered by gangs in the streets of their communities. Los Angeles, California has a history of destructive social unrest beginning in the early 1940's that created the environment from which, two of the world's most notorious street gangs, the Crips and the Bloods was born. Crips and Bloods: Made in America is a hard-hitting emotional documentary that is gripping and compelling. Debuting as an Original Selection at the Sundance film festival in 2007, this film has been regarded as one of the best documentaries created in years.
Crips and Bloods: Made in America is Directed by Stacey Peralta and Narrated by Emmy Award winning actor Forest Whitaker. Produced for DVD release by Ducudrama Films in 2009, this unrated documentary is a comprehensive and emotional film that keeps on giving. This film is a historical chronicle on the development of the Crips and Bloods street gangs.
The plot of the movie is to identify the causative factors of gang activity and offers solutions to the problem using history and individuals involved in gang activity. University professors, interventionists, active gang members and community leaders discuss gang life and its impacts on individuals, families and society as a whole during in-depth personal interviews. Historical events are presented in a storytelling format supported by newspaper articles and graphic video footage. The interviews and stories are intermixed throughout the film resulting in a complete work on Crips and Bloods that leaves no topic untouched.
I think that the personal nature of the interviews coupled with the historical backdrop is one of the most interesting features of Crips and Bloods: Made in America.
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