Theatrical release poster
Directed byMario Van Peebles
Screenplay byMelvin Van Peebles
Based onPanther by Melvin Van Peebles
Produced byPreston L. Holmes
Mario Van Peebles
Melvin Van Peebles
CinematographyEdward J. Pei
Edited byEarl Watson
Music byStanley Clarke
Distributed byGramercy Pictures (United States)
PolyGram Filmed Entertainment (United Kingdom)[1]
Release date
  • May 3, 1995 (1995-05-03)
Running time
123 minutes
CountriesUnited Kingdom
United States
Budget$7.5 million[2]
Box office$8 million[2]

Panther is a 1995 cinematic adaptation of Melvin Van Peebles's novel Panther, produced and directed by Mario Van Peebles.[3] The drama film portrays the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, tracing the organization from its founding through its decline in a compressed timeframe. It was the first narrative feature-film to depict the Black Panther Party.[3]

Plot summary

In this semi-fictionalized account of the origins of the Black Panthers, Vietnam veteran Judge (Kadeem Hardison) returns to his hometown of Oakland to find it beset by violence and police discrimination against African-Americans. Judge's friend Cy tells him about a vigilante group that's organizing against the police and introduces him to its leaders, Bobby (Courtney B. Vance) and Huey (Marcus Chong). Judge joins the movement but is soon beset by police pressure to inform against Huey.



On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 25% approval rating based on 12 reviews, with an average rating of 5.2/10.[4] Roger Ebert stated "There is a fascinating study to be made of the Black Panther Party. Panther is not that film."[5] Panther co-founder Bobby Seale, a major character in the film, called it "80 percent to 90 percent" untrue and "a false-light invasion of my privacy."[6] While Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times praised it as a "sincere attempt at celebratory, spirit-raising filmmaking", he also criticized it as "a frustrating amalgam of truth, violence, supposition and inspiration".[7]

The film grossed $6,834,525 in the United States and Canada and $8 million worldwide.[8][2]


Soundtrack album by
Various artists
ReleasedMay 2, 1995
RecordedAugust 1994–March 1995
GenreHip hop
LabelMercury Records
ProducerVarious artists
Singles from Panther
  1. "Freedom (Theme from Panther)"
    Released: April 15, 1995
  2. "The Points"
    Released: 1995
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic link

A soundtrack for the film containing R&B and hip hop music was released on May 2, 1995 by Mercury Records. It peaked at number 37 on the Billboard 200 and number 5 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and was certified gold on July 25, 1995. Featured on the soundtrack was the single "Freedom (Theme from Panther)", a collaboration among more than 60 female R&B singers and rappers that peaked at 45 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Three singles made it to the Billboard charts, "Head Nod" by Hodge, "The Points", a collaboration between 12 of hip-hop's most popular artists and groups, and "Freedom (Theme from Panther)", a collaboration between over 60 female R&B singers and rappers.

  1. "Freedom (Theme from Panther)" - 4:47
    Aaliyah, Felicia Adams, May May Ali, Amel Larrieux, Az-Iz, Blackgirl, Mary J. Blige, Tanya Blount, Brownstone, Casserine, Changing Faces, Coko, Tyler Collins, N'Dea Davenport, E.V.E., Emage, En Vogue, Eshe & Laurneá (of Arrested Development), Female, For Real, Penny Ford, Lalah Hathaway, Jade, Jamecia, Jazzyfatnastees, Queen Latifah, Billy Lawrence, Joi, Brigette McWilliams, Milira, Miss Jones, Cindy Mizelle, Monica, Me’Shell NdegéOcello, Natasha, Pebbles, Pure Soul, Raja-Nee, Brenda Russell, SWV, Chantay Savage, Sonja Marie, Tracie Spencer, Sweet Sable, TLC, Terri & Monica, Vybe, Crystal Waters, Caron Wheeler, Karyn White, Vanessa Williams, Xscape, Y?N-Vee, Zhané
  2. "Express Yourself" - 3:48 (Joe)
  3. "We'll Meet Again" - 4:43 (Blackstreet)
  4. "Black People" - 4:11 (George Clinton, Belita Woods & Funkadelic)
  5. "Let's Straighten It Out" - 4:05 (Usher & Monica)
  6. "The Points" - 4:54
    Big Mike, Biggie Smalls, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Buckshot, Busta Rhymes, Coolio, Digable Planets, Heltah Skeltah, Ill Al Skratch, Jamal, Menace Clan & Redman
  7. "Slick Partner" - 2:46 (Bobby Brown)
  8. "Stand (You Got To)" - 4:35 (Aaron Hall)
  9. "The World Is a Ghetto" - 4:32 (Da Lench Mob)
  10. "If I Were Your Woman" (Shanice & Female)
  11. "We Shall Not Be Moved" - 4:49 (Sounds of Blackness & Black Sheep)
  12. "A Natural Woman (You Make Me Feel Like)" - 3:48 (Female)
  13. "Freedom" (Dirty Dozen remix) - 4:49
    MC Lyte, Meshell Ndegeocello, Nefertiti, Patra, Queen Latifah, Salt-n-Pepa, Left Eye of TLC, Da 5 Footaz, & Yo-Yo
  14. "Head Nod" - 3:33 (Hodge)
  15. "Stand!" - 4:28 (Tony! Toni! Toné!)
  16. "Don't Give Me No Broccoli and Tell Me It's Green's" - 6:17 (The Last Poets)
  17. "The Star-Spangled Banner" - 3:12 (Brian McKnight, Boys Choir of Harlem & Slash)
  18. "The Ultimate Sacrifice" - 3:15 (Stanley Clarke)



  1. ^ "Panther (1995)". BBFC. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  2. ^ a b c "15 years of production". Variety. 14 December 1998. p. 102.
  3. ^ a b Ndounou, Monica White (2014). Shaping the future of African American film : color-coded economics and the story behind the numbers. New Brunswick, N.J. ISBN 978-0813562551. OCLC 879576313.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  4. ^ "Panther". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved October 7, 2023.
  5. ^ Ebert, Roger (1995). "Panther". Chicago Sun-Times.
  6. ^ News, Janet Weeks, Los Angeles Daily. "CRITICS SEE TOO MUCH FICTION IN 'PANTHER'". Retrieved 2021-04-25. ((cite web)): |last= has generic name (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ Turan, Kenneth (May 3, 1995). "MOVIE REVIEWS : 'Panther': Politics Goes to the Movies". LA Times. Retrieved April 25, 2021.
  8. ^ Panther at Box Office Mojo