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Searching for Sugar Man

1,382 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN tells the incredible true story of Rodriguez, the greatest ‘70s rock icon who never was. After being discovered in a Detroit bar, Rodriguez’s sound struck 2 renowned producers and they signed a recording deal. But when the album bombed, the singer disappeared into obscurity. A bootleg recording found its way into apartheid South Africa and over the next two decades, he became a phenomenon. The film follows the story of two South African fans who set out to find out what really happened to their hero.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Rodriguez, Malik Bendjelloul
  • Directors: Malik Bendjelloul
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
  • DVD Release Date: January 22, 2013
  • Run Time: 86 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,382 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B008JFUTT0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,567 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Searching for Sugar Man" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

321 of 333 people found the following review helpful By David Wineberg TOP 500 REVIEWER on August 12, 2012
Format: Blu-ray
The most striking thing of the many striking things in Searching for Sugar Man is the personality of Rodriguez himself. Unspoiled, not bitter, undimmed perceptions, and the continued passion for his craft all make a huge imprint on the viewer. And of course, it is all the more impressive because he spent 30 years in demolition and cleanup instead of filling our minds and souls with his remarkable music. The story is too crazy to be made up; no one would see it if it were a piece of fiction, unless it was written by Kurt Vonnegut or Douglas Adams. But it is a true story, a gripping story, and a rewarding story. The story of a wonderful human being and a remarkable father. A feel good documentary which alone makes it a near impossibility. There is only one qualifier you will notice again and again in reference to Searching for Sugar Man: must see.
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86 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Paul Allaer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 16, 2012
Format: DVD
"Searching for Sugar Man" (2012 release; 85 min.) brings the unlikely but true story of how, Rodriguez, an obscure American musician who released 2 never-heard albums in the early 1970s became a music sensation in South Africa. As a music nerd, this became even more compelling as I will admit I had never heard of Rodriguez before.

The first half of the movie centers around the efforts of two South African men in the music business, both fan of and curious about the mysterious Rodriguez to simply find out more about this guy. The movie then traces the beginnings of Rodriguez in the late 60s in Detroit (with archive footage of the city at that time, not much better than it is now, just haunting) and how Rodriguez's 1970 debut album "Cold Fact" first became an underground hit in South Africa at the height of the apartheid regime (with songs like "The Establishment Blues") and eventually became a genuine hit album. It is about midway through the movie that we are introduced to Rodriguez himself, in present day, as he and the two South African men eventually hook up in 1997, and they now retell the story of what happened then. We see footage of Rodriguez coming to South Africa in early 1998, and the scenes we get to witness are almost beyond belief and description.

Several comments: Rodriguez (who now must be in his early 60s I think) comes across as a humble, truly down to earth guy, unfazed (and not bitter in the slightest) about how his life has unfolded. (The movie notes at the end that he still lives in the same modest downtown Detroit house he has lived in for 40 years.
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102 of 109 people found the following review helpful By William Langley on September 9, 2012
Format: DVD
As a South African raised, with almost all my friends, on the music of Rodriguez it is almost impossible to believe that such a talent remained unrecognised in his home country.
This film goes some way to explaining it, but only some way. See it and buy "Cold Fact"; better late than never.
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54 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Ian Juul on December 21, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Rodriguez was also known to us in the late 1970's / early 1980's in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), a small country north of South Africa. At that time our country was undergoing a civil war and a lot of children were schooled in Boarding Schools, as it was safer living at school than living at home on farms, as farms ran the risk of armed terrorist attacks.

As idle boarding school teenagers we listened to COLD FACT on our communal record player nearly every afternoon, scratched vinyl 'schkt-schkt' included.

As teenagers, these wise words and lyrics were correctly accepted at life-truth's and philosophy lessons - listen carefully and mull over the words.

Now, more than 30 years later I see this touching story unfold further. A truly wise man who superficially seemed to 'fail' in his resident country, yet unknowingly in other parts of the world (Southern Africa, Australia and parts of Europe) in places probably unknown to him, he was a huge success at positively influencing and teaching thousands with his wise words.

This story fittingly reminds us that LIFE works in strange ways.

Mr Rodriguez, I salute you and I thank you.
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56 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Olly Buxton on October 11, 2012
Format: DVD
I have been blessed on successive nights with documentaries I could scarcely believe were true. Last night it was The Imposter, this evening Searching for Sugar Man.

The story of Sixto Rodriguez' accidental stardom in South Africa is every amateur songsmith's wildest dream come true. Having plugged away for years in front of unappreciative hometown crowds - in Rodriguez' case, having given it away altogether - to then discover you have been adored all along, by half a million fans, must be quite the trip. A trip, in this case, from inner-city Detroit in 1971 to Cape Town, South Africa, in 1998.

Sixto Rodriguez was (if this film isn't really an elaborate hoax, a caveat you may take as read for the remainder of this review) a singer songwriter from Detroit who came to brief notice in the late sixties. He was picked up by a label which was part of the Motown empire. Perhaps his mistake was to ply Greenwich Village folk to the people of Motor City, but in any case his two recorded records sold not at all, and he was promptly dropped and passed quickly into oblivion.

Or so he thought: But not, as it turned out, in South Africa, where his songs had spread by word of mouth and bootlegged cassettes. Under Apartheid this Mexican American folkie became an immense underground hit.
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From what I have read he is getting royalties from the Sony pictures movie soundtrack release.

Even knowing that I would still recommend getting the two digital versions of Cold Fact and Cumming From Reality albums because every song is worth owning. I specifically recommend the bonus tracks... Read More
Mar 20, 2013 by Dustin Burt |  See all 3 posts
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