The Cool World

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When Duke (Hampton Clayton), a 15-year-old member of the gang Royal Pythons, decides he needs a gun to survive on the streets of Harlem, he visits a local thug named Priest (Carl Lee). Utilizing first-time actors and true-life ghettos for scenery, Shirley Clarke's devastating semi-documentary dramatizes the life of young gang bangers in 1960s Harlem and transcends its narrative to deliver a vivid picture of inner city life. Based on the novel by Warren Miller.

Release details

Release date: Monday April 20 1964
Duration: 105 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Shirley Clarke
Screenwriter: Shirley Clarke, Carl Lee
Cast: Hampton Clanton
Yolanda Rodriguez
Carl Lee
Gloria Foster
Bostic Felton
Jerome Raphael