Watermelon Man

1 h 39 min1970R
When racist white insurance agent Jeff Gerber wakes up one morning to discover that his skin has turned black, he experiences bigotry first hand as his family, neighbors, and employers react to his transformation. Now suffering from the effects of racial discrimination, Jeff must reassess his priorities in life.
Melvin Van Peebles
Godfrey CambridgeEstelle ParsonsHoward Caine
English [CC]
Audio languages

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John B. Bennett
Sony Pictures
R (Restricted)
Content advisory
Alcohol usefoul languagenuditysexual contentsmokingsubstance useviolence
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4.5 out of 5 stars

362 global ratings

  1. 75% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 13% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 5% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 3% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 4% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

JoanneReviewed in the United States on June 20, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
A 1970s movie relevant today!
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The humor seems a bit silly compared to today's fare. Aside from that, it's shockingly prescient. Today, COVID Juneteenth, this movie--a comedy!--showed our man Godfrey in trouble for being black while running, and a woman yelling "rape" when he rejected her. This is a period piece par excellence. Home decor and fashions really were like that! (Of course it's accurate, it was made in 1970.) I fast forwarded the movie and then rewound to see how the pieces fell together. How did we let this go so long...
11 people found this helpful
Jasmine S.Reviewed in the United States on June 9, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Happy to have seen this film through...to the end!
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The Watermelon man is an interesting concept. White man waking up black. Seem like films were a lot bolder in 1970’s. Same issues then applies today.Happy I stuck with it to the end. Thought it was going to be to silly for me. Especially, because racial protest, riots etc. against police spreading like wild fire throughout the US. This film actually created a chain reaction of events,grabbing everyone balls, who was affected. A racial man coming to terms with his reality. Sounds like psych 101 or something. Overall good film.
13 people found this helpful
Khristine JacksonReviewed in the United States on July 17, 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
What a LAUGH ..!
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I had heard of this movie when I was growing up... I saw a few scene's back in 2005 the year of "Hurricane Katrina" during my birthday month.. I always wanted to rent it on VHS/DVD but it was rather difficult to secure at Block-buster and other video store's over 15 years ago, Godfrey Cambridge what an actor was he.. died way to soon. This movie was ahead of it's time. Inter-racial actor's sharing a bed and nudity of a Anglo-European female top-less with a negro male ..Did you catch the door sign painter ..? Melvin Van P ..yes and the city bus driver D'urville Martin another actor died young as well. He had a scene in a Sidney Poitier film.."Guess who's coming to Dinner" that was about inter-racial marriage as well.. The comedy and the topic's on race relation's ..mirror what has affected america for a long time. This movie make's you think about race and how it affect's any-one ...Discrimination is no joke.. Though it's been 50 years since this movie came out in the theater's across america..we must learn to embrace different people..change is a part of life..
6 people found this helpful
queueyReviewed in the United States on June 16, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Wow. This feels as powerful as a documentary...but it's funny. What the hay-fever?
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I really think what makes this movie is the consistency of the lead character's acidic personality and wit (an anti-hero, I guess?) and the films last few mins. I don't want to spoil anything, but what I thought would happen did not. Both elements help this story feel like this is how such a surreal event could actually play out. I wasn't ready for this level of depth with such a crazy premise. But I'm about to recommend this film to others (with the forewarning that the last quarter of the film includes nudity that really just comes out of nowhere). Anywho, great film. It's a wonder I've heard of the lead actor, Godfrey Cambridge, before...
7 people found this helpful
Michael GoldenReviewed in the United States on July 29, 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
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Nothing has changed except perhaps a black president twice was elected. Now it's Black Lives Matter after cop murders.
The first 2/3 of the flick were funny until the last part which was more of a self reflecting on what a black man at that time had to realize and unfortunately still does. Even though more opportunities may exist financially for black people today in certain industries and professions there is still danger and unrest for all minorities in this country in this election pandemic year.
5 people found this helpful
DriveraReviewed in the United States on June 27, 2020
2.0 out of 5 stars
Interesting concept for the era
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plot was kind of weak... but it fit in with the movie. a really interesting take on the whole black and white race issue, that was well thought out (again, for the time). I couldn't take the audio though, really bad sound engineering. it had a real "B" movie feel to it. not only the sound but the poor camera work shows it too. when they were talking normally the volume was fine. however, whenever there was music in the background it got REALLY loud! I kept having to lower and then raise the volume during it... and some of the singing in the soundtrack was horrendous! I was kind of looking forward to the ending of it.
2 people found this helpful
Herbert BookerReviewed in the United States on September 29, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
Water-Melon Man is worthy of an Academy Award, it is a must-see film with the late Godfrey Cambridge!
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Water-Melon Man is a classic film starring Godfrey Cambridge, a white man who has a wife wife and white children until overnight he turns into a black man who is asked to leave by his wife and rejected by their children. He also is treated differently by his fellow employees and his employer who offers him a token job selling to black customers. He slowly goes through adjustment as a black man in an America transforming to learning to accepting changes in society after the passage of the Civil Rights Bill. Only Godfrey Cambridge could make the transformation believable. He was born in 1933 and died in 1976, around age 43. Watermelon Man was made in 1970, his best film, you can now get this classic and treasure it as well!
9 people found this helpful
Astral PixieReviewed in the United States on June 16, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
Brilliant and funny!! Love it
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This brings back a good memory for me of watching when it was on the Late Movie in the 70's. Back when the regular tv stations showed movies.

Spoiler Alert: Oh my gosh... the opening scene with him and the bus...
I haven't laughed so hard since, I don't know when! "Have exact change" and "Oh.. s..."

So many funny lines... "I'm pledging for a fraternity". "I'm black, I'm black". "It's not hay fever".
And then the scene where the tanning machine arrived.... Couldn't stop laughing.

Godfrey Cambridge and Estelle Parsons were wonderful.
Very good music. I love the shot of the water from the tv against the pictures behind the bed.
6 people found this helpful
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