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7.52 h 15 min2018X-RayHDRUHD15
From visionary filmmaker Spike Lee comes the incredible true story of an American hero. In the early 1970s, Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) becomes the first African-American detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department. Determined to make a difference, he bravely sets out on a dangerous mission: infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan.
Spike Lee
John David WashingtonAdam DriverTopher Grace
English [CC]
Audio Languages
EnglishEnglish [Audio Description]
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Supporting actors
Corey Hawkins
Spike LeeSean McKittrickJason BlumRaymond MansfieldShaun RedickJordan Peele
Focus Features
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Prime Video (streaming online video)
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4.4 out of 5 stars

3130 global ratings

  1. 65% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 19% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 9% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 4% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 3% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United Kingdom

J. L. SievertReviewed in the United Kingdom on 04 April 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Myth of race
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The best joke Spike Lee plays in the film is when Ron Stallworth, the undercover black cop in the Colorado Springs Police Department, is assigned as chief of security for David Duke, the grand national wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, when Duke travels to Colorado to meet a local chapter of the KKK. The look on Duke’s face when he sees Stallworth is priceless, the whole logic of his white power delusions compromised by the absurdity of being protected from harm by a black man. But of course Duke is too thick to get the joke, as it takes intelligence to know and appreciate irony and paradox.

Although Spike Lee might be wise not to analyse racism directly in the film, I wish to do so now. First of all, race is a delusion, a cultural concept, a myth. The human genome has been decoded. No genes for race were found because none exist. So what’s all the fuss and suffering about? It comes from pre-scientific ignorance and superstition, tribal fear and distrust of the so-called other based on appearances and other differences. It isn’t rational, it’s emotional — unhealthy and destructive emotion. It creates problems and trouble where none exist. It’s fear and delusion in the minds of ignorant and intolerant people.

But the consequences of such ignorance and intolerance are all too real, especially for those on the receiving end of hatred and bigotry. It seems incredible that the problem of racism should still exist in the 21st century, a scientific age. But this illustrates the cultural limitations of science as an educational tool. Even though the evidence, knowledge and truth are there, people go on believing in this virulent myth, basing their belief on faith, which is always a flimsy foundation. Nietzsche said this about that:

“Faith is not wanting to know what is true.”

So I think it comes down to that, the true believers in this case thinking whiteness confers some sort of special meaning and privilege to them. They don’t know why skin pigmentation exists, oblivious to evolutionary contingencies and adaptive traits needed for survival. They can’t conceive that all their earliest ancestors were black and that their genetic line can be traced back to Africa. They oppose the truth of it with guns and ignorance.

Many of the whites in the film, needless to say, don’t come out looking very good. Even in his own police department Stallworth has to deal with at least one bigot. Bigoted policemen are hardly different than KKK members. Same mentality, different uniform.

Stallworth also has to prove to his superiors that he’s a serious undercover cop. He’s professional, or wants to be, given a chance. One of his first assignments is to infiltrate a black power meeting on the campus of a local university. Stokely Carmichael, a charismatic black leader, will be speaking there. Stallworth wears a wire and attends the meeting in his Jimi Hendrix afro and black beard. He fits right in, nobody suspecting otherwise. Is he snooping? Yes and no. Professionally as a cop he’s there to ferret out any dangerous subversive activities. But as a private black man he’s there to find out what’s going on culturally, what the people are thinking and saying. Are they non-violent, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was and preached in the 1960s? It’s now the early ‘70s and what are these new black leaders (like Carmichael) thinking and saying? He wants to know for his own good.

The private Stallworth (not the cop) is also attracted to an intelligent, beautiful young black woman. She is politicised and articulate, fully aware of the tortured history of the U.S. She wants justice and equality, things that all decent people want for those in society irrespective of colour. Her intelligence and beauty will complicate things for Stallworth, but they will not compromise him and his investigation. So he’s like an acrobat with several balancing acts to maintain. And, because he’s skilful and determined, he’s adept at it.

His great coup comes when he passes himself off as a white racist over the telephone with the head of the local chapter of the KKK. In fact he’s so good at imitating the diction and cadences of white people over the phone that he cons David Duke into thinking he’s a clan member. No one in the clan of course ever sees Stallworth, or when they do they don’t know he’s Stallworth. The KKK Stallworth in the flesh is Stallworth’s white colleague cop Flip Zimmerman, who is a secular Jew. That’s serious trouble too if the KKK discovers the truth about Flip. It isn’t only blacks whom they despise. They kick them around because they can, because the casual lazy racism that underlies American society tacitly approves of it. But the insidious Jew is something different. He’s scheming and invisible. He’s divisive and exclusive. He’s rotten and eroding the fabric of society. He’s everywhere and nowhere and hard to pin down. But his evil work goes on. Zimmerman, then, walks into the lion’s den. If it’s demanding for Ron Stallworth to impersonate the voice of a white man over the phone, it’s far worse for Flip Zimmerman, the secular Jew, to infiltrate the KKK by playacting at being a virulent racist. His performance is harrowing, breathtaking, heroic. What could be worse than being in the company of gun-toting, hate-spewing white trash? Yet there he is using the N-word repeatedly and casually castigating the virulent Jews to prove his ‘moral’ worth to his fellow racists.

So the film is really about two main journeys — Stallworth’s to initially con the KKK and Zimmerman’s to infiltrate it to defuse the bomb violence the group is planning. Both journeys work splendidly, and the acting by John David Washington as Stallworth and Adam Driver as Zimmerman are superb, wholly convincing. I wondered why the film was up for several Academy Awards but now I wonder no more. Great to see Spike Lee honoured too. If he isn’t the conscience of America, he should be. Excellent of him also to use actual footage from Charlottesville 2017 at the end of the film. Preachy? Not really. Appropriate, I think, in showing that racism in America in the early ‘70s did not die out then. It carried right on through to this century and persists. What could be more relevant than to say so?

The film is an honest work of educational art. When or if America grows up, it should give Spike Lee the Congressional Medal of Honor, not that Congress is anything to boast about in patriotic terms these days, being the last refuge for plenty of scoundrels, most of them Republicans.
7 people found this helpful
rbmusicman/and/movie-fan'Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 December 2018
4.0 out of 5 stars
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A film based on the true story of Colorado Springs first Black Police-Officer in the early 70's, Ron Stallworth played by John David Washington.
At first assigned to mundane duty in the records room he requests a task to go undercover, his first task is to infiltrate a local civil rights movement, which he does successfully whilst doing so meeting-up with Patrice Dumas (Laura Harrier) who he is obviously destined to fall for.
Now assigned to the intelligence-division he comes across an advert in the paper inviting readers to join the Ku Klux Klan, which Ron decides to respond to pretending to be a White American.......
He convinces the leader of the local chapter that he is a true American patriot sharing their beliefs.........a meet-up is arranged, however being Black he can hardly do this himself so he recruits a fellow officer to fulfill the meet-up Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver) who'll have to convince the chapter-leader he is indeed the voice on the other end of the phone
All seems to be going well but a Klan member is suspicious of Flip ......
Will Flip be exposed as a cop, will he and Ron mount enough evidence against the Klan to issue arrest warrants ?
A remarkable story of yesteryear which has an underlining comic approach to the telling.
Certainly worthy of a viewing.
Footnote -
If you have access to on-line films which have not been cinema released in the U.K ...give these a spin -
OUTLAW KING starring Chris Pine....telling the story of Robert the Bruce after the death of William Wallace leading up to and including his victory against all-odds against the English at Loudoun Hill. 8.7/10
MOWGLI starring
Rohan Chand with voice-overs from the likes of Christian Bale, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Andy Serkis....telling the tale of Rudyard Kipling's Jungle-Book.
A much darker and perhaps scarier tale than the Disney version with it's memorable songs and not really suitable for very young viewers, however very worthy of a viewing
Other on-line offerings worthy of a spin include BIRD BOX starring Sandra Bullock
23 people found this helpful
Mr. R FarrellReviewed in the United Kingdom on 15 April 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
Brilliant film
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Great film. True story. Makes a mockery of the KKK
Djilly L.Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 04 November 2019
2.0 out of 5 stars
Plot hole-allergy played up
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I can’t stand movies with plot holes, they keep me wondering in frustration for days and/or at night. Blackkklansman is actually centred around a massive plot hole; a junior black undercover agent (Ron Stallworth) gets in touch with the clan grand wizard over the phone posing as an initiate. What follows is a charade for the rest of the movie where he keeps in contact over the phone, pretending to be white, while his Jewish colleague does the actual undercover work – why doesn’t the colleague take over all the conversations after initial contact!?!? .. well, probably because otherwise it’s not that ridiculous.
Even though it’s based on true events, it all feels very manufactured and messy as a story line. And it’s not even mildly funny. This is a shame as the movie benefits from good acting and impressive 1970’s scenes giving an interesting perspective of seventies society and ideologies. The casual racism from colleagues at the police department is shocking as is the narrowness of thinking of the depicted clan members. But then the story ends abruptly and the viewer gets treated on current day examples of how this all continues to send ripples into the Trumpian age - the news footage is actually quite gruesome. But despite this abrupt ending, the pace of the rest of the movie is quite slow - I almost fell asleep a couple of times, which is a bad sign as I never do that during movie/series viewings. Oh, and there is of course an inserted love story that feels a bit redundant, and again you wonder why the female ideologist stays with a policeman (!) who lied to her about his background and who works for the much despised police department.

I bought this for a good price on Prime, the HD quality was very good and supported the 'immersiveness'. Happy to keep it in library but will not be tempted to watch it again. I assume it will show up on other streaming sites soon.
2 people found this helpful
Legal VampireReviewed in the United Kingdom on 25 May 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
Good film about serious subject yet not too earnest
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Good film by Spike Lee, about a black detective becoming a member of the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan in the 1960s to investigate illegal activity. Tackles a serious subject without being too earnest. Based on a true story but embellished e.g. the character Patrice, the black student activist, is purely fictional. I think it is OK for drama, unlike documentaries, to take some liberties with facts like this to make an entertaining story.

As some other reviewers have said, the white Klan members are portrayed as negative stereotypes, stupid and/or nasty. I have not lived in the USA nor ever knowingly met a member of the KKK, so I cannot judge if that is fair. In Britain in the same period the reality was more complicated; racism was found in some otherwise pleasant and good people.
ZeitGhoul (music is my sanctuary)Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 24 April 2019
4.0 out of 5 stars
Really enjoyed it and a few eye openers about American society too.
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I really enjoyed this film. It is both hard hitting and soulful and also funky. Spike Lee has managed to pull off an at times psychedelic docu drama which is beautifully realised as an eye opener in terms history and of racial tensions in 70s America. This is done with both charm and sophistication and heart and is no surprise to me that it is a prize winner at the Oscars. Well done at last Spike. Fab movie from a great director. Also I'm a big Adam Driver actor with a unique presence on screen and he is a stand out performer here once more.
rosegueReviewed in the United Kingdom on 29 November 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Brilliant film
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Really good film, sometimes shocking, should be compulsory viewing for some people, terrific performances all round, I thoroughly recommend it.
Jessye Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 21 September 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
painful and powerful, absolutely amazing and terrifying at the same time
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absolute genius, slightly very depressing. still very powerful and well done. however for gods sake dont watch if adam driver is your comfort actor because he (along with others) says some very uncomfortable to hear and offensive things.
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