White Man's Burden (1995) - Rotten Tomatoes

White Man's Burden (1995)



Critic Consensus: Despite earnest work from its leads, White Man's Burden's attempt at racial commentary is a well-intentioned misfire.

Movie Info

This drama takes place in an alternate reality where African-Americans form the United States' ruling class, while whites are a racially oppressed minority. When a poor white messenger loses his job, his life collapses and, in desperation, he is driven to take his former employer hostage.


John Travolta
as Louis Pinnock
Harry Belafonte
as Thaddeus Thomas
Tom Bower
as Stanley
Tom Wright
as Lionel
Judith Drake
as Dorothy
Tom Nolan
as Johansson
Michael Beach
as Policeman No. 1 Outside Bar
Lee Duncan
as Policeman No. 2 Outside Bar
Lawrence A. Mandley
as Sheriff No. 1 at Eviction
William Hendry
as Sheriff No. 2 at Eviction
Brian Brophy
as Bank Teller
Duane R. Shepard Sr.
as Maitre d' at Fashion Show
Bert Remsen
as Hot Dog Vendor
Steve Wilcox
as First Youth at Hot Dog Stand
Jason Kristofer
as Youth at Hot Dog Stand
Seth Green
as Youth at Hot Dog Stand
Alexis Arquette
as Panhandler
Larry Nash
as Policeman at Gas Station
Mae Elvis
as Girl (age 11)
Dean Hallo
as Charles
Kerry Remsen
as Pregnant Woman at Bus Stop
Googy Gress
as Bystander at Bus Stop
Lisa Dinkins
as Shooting Policewoman
Lawrence T. Wrentz
as Shooting Policeman
Steve Larson
as Bottle Thrower
Lawrence Bender
as Bar Patron No. 1
Matt O'Toole
as Bar Patron No. 2
Iain Jones
as Bar Patron No. 3
Janet Hubert
as Dinner Guest
Attallah Shabazz
as Dinner Guest
Willette Klausner
as Dinner Guest
David C. Harvey
as Factory Worker
Amy Powell
as Newscaster
Keith Collier
as Dancer on TV
Annamarie Simmons
as Dancer on TV
Rosie Tenison
as Detective on TV
View All

Critic Reviews for White Man's Burden

All Critics (33) | Top Critics (11)

Were it not for John Travolta's big-hearted portrayal of an unemployed white factory worker driven to commit a desperate act, the movie would be an emotionally frozen exercise in cautious high-mindedness.

May 20, 2003 | Rating: 2/5

White Man's Burden spirals into tragedy but never into stirring drama. It stays stuck at the level of noble experiment.

May 12, 2001

A ham-fisted, under-imagined dialectic on race relations.

January 1, 2000 | Full Review…

So simple, so broad are White Man's Burden's paint strokes ... that no real lesson outside of the obviously mundane can be elicited, and that's a real shame.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Watching this movie is like watching Godfrey Cambridge's racial switcheroo in 1970's Watermelon Man -- without the laughs.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 2/4
Top Critic

White Man's Burden was worth doing once, if it only to find out it isn't worth doing again.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for White Man's Burden


Like the professional critics will tell you, VERY interesting premise, but the execution fell short

Remi Logan
Remi Logan

Super Reviewer


Not the movie it could have been, but still thought provoking.

Anthony Valletta
Anthony Valletta

Super Reviewer

White Man's Burden Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

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