Dolemite is a 1975 American blaxploitation crime comedy film and is also the name of its principal character, played by Rudy Ray Moore, who co-wrote the film and its soundtrack. Moore, who started his career as a stand-up comedian in the late 1960s, heard a rhymed toast about an urban hero named Dolemite from a regular at the record store where he worked and decided to adopt the persona of Dolemite as an alter ego in his act.[2]

Dolemite (movie poster).jpg
Original one-sheet poster for Dolemite
Directed byD'Urville Martin
Produced byRudy Ray Moore
Screenplay byJerry Jones
Story byRudy Ray Moore
StarringRudy Ray Moore
D'Urville Martin
Jerry Jones
Lady Reed
Hy Pyke
West Gale
John Kerry
Vainus Rackstraw
Music byArthur G. Wright
CinematographyNicholas Josef von Sternberg
Edited byRex Lipton
Distributed byDimension Pictures
Release date
  • April 26, 1975 (1975-04-26)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$100,000 (estimated)
Box office$12 million[1]


Dolemite is a pimp and nightclub owner who is serving 20 years in prison after being set up by a rival, Willie Green. One day, his friend and fellow pimp Queen Bee helps him get out of jail and plots with him to get revenge on Green.


  • Dolemite (Rudy Ray Moore): In the beginning of the movie, Dolemite is in prison on a false charge, having been framed by his rival Willie Green. He is later pardoned and released. Throughout the movie, Dolemite attempts to rekindle his reputation on the streets and reclaim his club, "The Total Experience".
  • Queen Bee (Lady Reed) runs a brothel of which Dolemite is referenced as the part-time owner on several occasions throughout the movie. Queen Bee is the only woman in Dolemite's household whom Dolemite speaks to as an equal.
  • Willie Green (D'Urville Martin): Willie Green is seen in the initial flashback as having a leading part in framing Dolemite. Green takes over Dolemite's club, "The Total Experience", while Dolemite is serving hard time. Green and the city's mayor, Mayor Daley, are in business together: Daley makes sure Green runs his operation with impunity, in return for Green getting black votes for the mayor's upcoming re-election.
  • Reverend Gibbs (West Gale): a black separatist, the Reverend leads a radical church in the "Fourth Ward." He tips off Dolemite regarding who set him up two years prior, as well as who is selling drugs to the community.
  • Mitchell (John Kerry): a corrupt detective who, under the direction of Mayor Daley and Willie Green, frames Dolemite and sends him to prison. When Dolemite is released, Mitchell and his partner White attempt to frame him again.
  • Blakely (Jerry Jones): an FBI agent who lurks in the shadows, and knows why Dolemite is out on the street. When the time comes, Blakely apprehends the corrupt detectives Mitchell and White and the corrupt mayor.
  • Creeper (Vainus Rackstraw): better known as the Hamburger Pimp, he is recognized by his dingy "white-T", characteristic pimp stroll, and constant begging for spare change and free food. The Creeper takes Dolemite to his humble abode and is assassinated after explaining the murder of Dolemite's nephew Little Jimmy.


Moore first developed the character of Dolemite in his stand-up comedy routines, and later appeared on his 1970 debut album, Eat Out More Often,[3] which reached the top 25 on the Billboard 200. He released several more comedy albums using this persona. In 1975, Moore decided to create a film about Dolemite, paying for most of the production out of his own pocket, and using many of his friends and fellow comedians as cast and crew. The film was directed by D'Urville Martin, who appears as the villain Willie Green.[4]


Critical receptionEdit

Reviews aggregate Rotten Tomatoes assigned the film an approval rating of 64% based on 14 reviews, with an average rating of 5.32/10.[5]

Home mediaEdit

Dolemite was released to DVD on September 13, 2005 by Xenon Pictures and also as part of a boxed set (The Dolemite Collection) on the same date. A widescreen, high definition remastered version, from an original print of the film, was released on Blu-ray disc on April 26, 2016 by Vinegar Syndrome. The Blu-ray also features the previously released open matte version as an alternate "boom mic" presentation.


A sequel, The Human Tornado, was released in 1976. A second sequel, The Return of Dolemite, was released in 2002 and was later re-titled The Dolemite Explosion for DVD release. A quasi-sequel, Shaolin Dolemite, starring Rudy Ray Moore as Monk Ru-Dee, was released in 1999.

In popular cultureEdit

A film about the making of Dolemite, titled Dolemite Is My Name and starring Eddie Murphy as Rudy Ray Moore, was released theatrically and on Netflix in October 2019.[6][7][8]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Company, Johnson Publishing (December 11, 1975). "Jet". Johnson Publishing Company – via Google Books.
  2. ^ Reid, Shaheem (April 1, 2002). "Dolemite Tells Dirty Jokes, Warns Snoop Of His Mic Supremacy - Music, Celebrity, Artist News". Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  3. ^ "Rudy Ray Moore was his name, and 'Dolemite' is just one part of his legacy". Los Angeles Times. October 20, 2019. Retrieved November 11, 2019.
  4. ^ Koch, Stephen (November 4, 2019). "Straight outta Westark: Rudy Ray Moore". Arkansas Times. Retrieved November 12, 2019.
  5. ^ "Dolemite (1975)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 23, 2019.
  6. ^ Galuppo, Mia (June 7, 2018). "Eddie Murphy to Star as Rudy Ray Moore for Netflix". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
  7. ^ McNary, Dave (June 7, 2018). "Film News Roundup: Eddie Murphy to Star in Biopic 'Dolemite Is My Name' for Netflix". Variety. Retrieved October 14, 2019.
  8. ^ McClintock, Pamela (August 27, 2019). "Netflix Dates 'Marriage Story,' 'Laundromat' and Other Fall Award Films". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 27, 2019.

External linksEdit