American Pimp

Institute History

  • 1999 Sundance Film Festival


The mythic image of the pimp is the subject of this vividly entertaining document by Allen and Albert Hughes. The creators of Menace II Society and Dead Presidents take on media distortions, popular misconceptions, and literal lies to present an incredibly straightforward
and coolly unexploitative examination of a universe that is really virgin territory for documentary film.
From Filmore Slim and C-Note to Gorgeous Dre and Rosebudd, a full spectrum of larger-than-life characters tell us about the real world of pimps and whores in a nonstop, fascinating look behind the scenes of the business of the world’s oldest profession. This is not a portrait of the life of a whore; surprisingly, neither is it a feminist nightmare. Even though it’s inexplicable why these guys are so forthcoming, it’s quite amazing how much we can learn.
Using clips from such seventies’ gems as The Mack and Willie Dynamite, the Hugheses include in their dissection everything from the financial arrangements (if you think whores get a percentage, come and see) to style: A visit to the Players Ball alone is worth a more penetrating look. How the game is played, the changing nature of the lifestyle, and the likelihood of an extended career are just some of the issues in this marvelously comprehensive study. Needless to say, the Hughes brothers have established a reputation as gifted filmmakers. American Pimp displays intelligence and verve in putting on the screen everything you ever wanted to know about pimps.

The Hughes Brothers, Directors
Brothers Allen and Albert Hughes made their jolting film debut as the twenty-year-old creators/directors of the critically acclaimed Menace II Society (New Line), which premiered at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival. Their follow-up film, Dead Presidents (Disney), premiered at the New York Critics Film Festival in 1995 to similar accolades. American Pimp, which examines the men behind the world’s oldest profession, is the Hughes brothers’ first documentary.

— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details

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