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The Education of Sonny Carson

4.1 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Aug 27, 2002)
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$299.99 $99.95

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Editorial Reviews

Based on a best-selling autobiography by outspoken activist Sonny Carson (Mwalamu Imiri Abubadika), "The Education of Sonny Carson" is a thoughtful and sensitive film about the early life of a ghetto youngster who falls into a life of gangs and petty crime. Rap and hip hop artists, most notably Wu-Tang Clan and Lauren Hill, continue to refer to the movie in their works. Sonny Carson (Rony Clanton) struggles to survive in Brooklyn's toughest section. The film begins with Sonny garnering honors as the best student in his junior high school, then reveals his transformation into a gangster. Soon, he enters prison for robbing a delivery boy out of $25 to buy flowers for a friend killed in a gang war. After Sonny is released from prison, he returns home to find his best girl hooked on drugs. He realizes that his life won't change unless he rises above the violence, crime, and unrest of his urban environment. Bonus Features: Theatrical Trailer| Biographies for Sonny Carson and Michael Campus| Commentary by Carson and Campus| Personal Photo Album| Click & See Pressbook| Scene Selection. Specs: DVD5; Dolby Digital Mono; 104 minutes; Color; 1.77:1 Aspect Ratio; MPAA - R; Year - 1974; SRP - $14.99.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Rony Clanton, Don Gordon, Joyce Walker, Paul Benjamin, Thomas Hicks
  • Directors: Michael Campus
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: VCI Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: August 27, 2002
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000068TP8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,645 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Education of Sonny Carson" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By CLEMENT on January 18, 2005
Format: DVD
I love this movie. I bill myself as a hip hop/blackploitation film historian, but forgot about this classic. Only thru reading someone's top 10 movie's for forgotten Movies did I see this title and then ordered this movie. I loved this movie so much that I gave the vhs to a former gang member from Los Angeles (He loved it, and he is passing that around) and I ordered the dvd. I love the director and the real Sonny Carson doing commentary. They tell a grim tell of what the whole filming experience was like. They give you stories of Joe Dancer and the rest that only the directors commentary would provide. Anybody from Chicago over 40,Los Angeles over 40, New York will understand this experience. This is one of my new favorite movies to watch. I love the whole movie from beggining to end. I am 43 years old and see how hip hop, rap, gangsta behavior orginated from this classic. Movies have away of influencing the times. The Education of Sonny Carson has a way of influencing culture. ( for email me, I would love to have emails from new friends and we can share all of our street movie loves. peace and cheap hair grease. ( I grew up in Robert Taylor Holmes on the south side of chicago and migrated to Long Beach california to exscape gangs and wind up in the heart of west coast gang explosion of the 70's and 80's.
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Format: DVD
There is something wrong with this DVD at chapter 5 where Sonny takes a hit of weed from 2 pimps at first I thought the echos I was hearing was part of the scene but as soon as the scene continued into the high school scene with his confrontation with the hawks the echoing continued. It ends as soon as chapter 6 starts up with the 1st gang battle between the lords and the hawks. I decided to check the old tape I had of TEO Sonny Carson and the guess what, the echos were not present anywhere in the movie. That means somwhere between the master print and the DVD master somebody forgot to check for audio sync in the transfer. To top it all off all throughout the movie there is video noise on moving edges; I though only amateur/hobbyist of VCD/SVCD/DVD did this. This is a great movie about the tough times that young black Sonny Carson faced in Brooklyn and rose up from. But the production that went into this DVD practically destroys any enjoyable experience one can get from this movie. So my suggestion is to wait for a re-release (not likely) or buy the tape; then you yourself can make a better DVD version of the movie than the guy did. ( is in the credits for digitizing this movies and I think he is responsible for the error in transfer from master to DVD print). Great movie gone to waste because of carelessnes in the video transposing process.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This movie was probably the first of its type. Many "life as a gang member" films came to follow it (especially in the 1980s and 1990s), but none really did so like this one... Most the ones that followed had a tendency to be too "Hollywood Melodramatic"-ish (at times cartoonish, and at other times somewhat preachy.) Without spoiling the ending, though Sonny Carson makes an important decision at the end of the film, the ending is anything but happy... in fact it is often critisized for its apparent "inconclusion", but I disagree... It is what makes the film so great. Almost like a documentary ("120 Blocks from Tiffany's") the film simply tells the story and leaves the big question to be asked and answered by the viewer. Sonny has "graduated" from his training by society and the system... the "happy" days of his violent education are over... but what next ? What is in his future ? Isn't everyone promised the American dream??? Sonny walks the straight path, but the odds still seem stacked against him. It would seem to me that if the film has been understood the viewer should leave it not demanding to know what happened to SONNY himself, but rather wondering about the plight of all the other SONNYs in the world... what society did to create the situation and what society or the communities are failing to do to resolve it ? Then we must debate whether Sonny's future is really in his own hands and if he does have a fair chance to make a life for himself. This, I assume was might have been the director's intention.

Though fans of 70s urban action type films will love the music and on-scene locations (and notice a few actors... for example the cop from the MAC and the gang leader from THE WARRIORS) beware, this is not just another 70's urban action thriller...
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Format: VHS Tape
This movie is the forerunner of the real "street life" movies. When West Side Story did its run there weren't any movies (to my knowledge) that portrayed street life until the Education of Sonny Carson. After Sonny Carson, you had films like the Lords of Flatbush, the Wonderers and the Warriors, Boys in the Hood and then blah, blah, blah. No dis to those films, they were good also but this is "the seed" of real street life as shown on film. It is a "street life" classic. It was filmed right here in Brooklyn using real gang members from the 70s, reenacting what life was on the streets in the 60s. This movie has some rough spots, so get your nerves up: like the killing of little boy and Sonny being beaten up by the cops. The jail scene wasn't pretty either (pre Oz kinda stuff). It is so intense at times that its a "see once in a while" movie for me. I simply got it the first time I saw it as a kid. Because I was in Brooklyn as a youth during the filming of the movie and watched the real gangs of the time (Jollystompers and Tomahawks) march through Crown Heights on they're way to Prospect Park to shoot the rumble scene ... so it has a special place with me.
If your one of those special effects with lots of blood without a plot kind of movie watcher then your simply not in the real world (or from it) and the movie may go over your head. But if your from the streets or have an interest in its history and culture then check out this film. And if your into Hip Hop Culture then its also a must see. Although the movie doesn't show you what Sonny does after his release from the beast (prison) it does show you what he encountered upon his return to the streets. That was a cool tactic ... why? Sonny Carson is a real person and anything you what to know about him is in the open. So the struggle continues.
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