6.8/10
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37 user 31 critic

Get on the Bus (1996)

A disparate group of African-American men travel by bus to Washington, DC for the Million Man March.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Storyline

Get on the Bus follows several Black men on a cross country bus trip to the Million Man March. On the bus are an eclectic set of characters including a laid off aircraft worker, a former Gang Banger, a Hollywood actor, a cop who is of mixed racial background, and a White bus driver, all make the trek discussing issues surrounding the march, manhood, religion, politics, and race. Written by Robert Drake <robert.drake@index.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

On October 16, 1996, the one year anniversary of the Million Man March, Spike Lee invites you to lift your head, raise your voice, and...get on the bus.

Genres:

Drama | History

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 October 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Auf engstem Raum  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$2,400,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$2,837,711 (USA) (20 October 1996)

Gross:

$5,731,103 (USA) (17 November 1996)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Rather than seek studio financing, Spike Lee financed the film with monetary contributions from famous black men so as to reflect the spirit of the Million Man March. The contributors included (but were not limited to): Will Smith, Danny Glover, Wesley Snipes, Johnnie L. Cochran Jr., and Robert Guillaume. See more »

Goofs

By evening on the second day of driving, the bus had gone from Los Angeles, CA to Memphis, TN (almost 1,800 miles). Despite driving through the night, by evening on the third day they had only traveled as far as Knoxville, TN (almost 400 miles). See more »

Quotes

Xavier: Why are you even going to the march?
Wendell: Niggas and cars, cars and niggas. Niggas need cars like cars need niggas. I gotta make me some money. You think I'm gonna miss out on all that networking, shit nigga you must be crazy. I got a joke for ya, nigga: What do you get when you cross a million lesbians and the million man march?
Jay: Ok, what do you get when you cross one million lesbians and the million man march?
Wendell: Two million mother-fuckers who don't do dick.
[laughs]
Wendell: You niggas somethin' else.
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Recumbent riders: Carol and Ken Lyon, who just happened to ride through the set on their Cross-Country Ramble from Ventura, CA, to Galveston, TX. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Holiday (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Over A Million Strong
Written by Cyril Neville, Ganeille Neville, Nick Daniels III and Aaron Neville
Used by Permission of Rondor Music Publishing
Produced by Cyril Neville and Nick Daniels III
Performed by the Neville Brothers
Courtesy of A&M Records
See more »

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User Reviews

Spike Lee's morality statement on Black America
3 November 2000 | by (Chicago) – See all my reviews

Armed with 16mm cameras, a miniscule budget financed independently by 15 different black businessmen, and a wonderful script, Spike shot "Get On The Bus" and released it to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the 1995 Million Man March. Set on a bus bound for Washington D.C., this film examines the problems and opinions of various of black men on racial issues in the 90's.

Family, misogyny, homosexuality, religion, violence, education, and economics are all addressed here as well as other issues. Spike does not only shed light on issues that pertain to black peoples involvement in White America, but the film also attacks color-consciousness among light-skinned and dark-skinned blacks (as he did in "School Daze"). Like "School Daze," this may be the only other Spike Lee film that seems to be aimed directly at Black America, and Spike shows the varying degrees of complexity with his cast of characters. There is a rage-filled actor, a homosexual couple in the midst of separating (one out-and-proud, the other closeted), a sensitive cop, a level-headed family man, a gangbanger turned Sunni Muslim, a naive filmmaker, and a tired, defeated elderly man. There is also an estranged father who sees the March as an opportunity to re-connect with his resentful, bound-for-crime teenage son. His son has been recently convicted of burglary and has been ordered to remain "chained" to his father for 48 hours, the irony of which does not escape the other members on the bus.

Given the film is almost set entirely on a bus, Spike restrains himself in dispensing out his evolving camera and editing styles, using only a brief sequence set in a desert to bleach the screen with a heavy yellow tint. Many Spike Lee regulars are in the film, like Ossie Davis and Isaiah Washington who give sound performances (Davis' "I lost everything" monologue is especially moving). The real notable acting is provided by Andre Braugher as an angry, egocentric actor whose rage is fortunately balanced for him with a healthy dose of articulated intelligence and Roger Guenever Smith as a sensitive, bi-racial cop who works in South Central Los Angeles. Those two really are the stand-outs in this film.

The dialogue is so flowing and casual in this film despite its topic matter, that you could listen to this film instead of watch it! I can't recommend this film enough for fans of Spike Lee or fans of great dialogue. As a Spike Lee worshipper, I rank this film in his top 5. Potent.


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