Home Movies by Decade Movies - 1970s Black Panther, The (1977)

Black Panther, The (1977)

This gripping crime drama charts the killing spree which Donald Neilson – aka the Black Panther – perpetrated across England during the mid-70s, including the murder of three men during robberies of small sub-post offices in 1974 and culminating in the kidnapping and death in a drainage shaft of 17-year old heiress Lesley Whittle in January 1975.

Told with meticulous accuracy and refraining from any measure of sensationalism, this is a fascinating, disturbing film.

Neilson was played by Donald Sumpter and Lesley Whittle by 19-year-old repertory actress Debbie Farrington.

Although subsequently acclaimed for being a mature and responsible reconstruction of events, the film caused such a huge media controversy on its initial release in the UK in 1977 – amid claims that it was a sordid exploitation film – that many local councils banned the film sight unseen and it was pulled from distribution shortly after its release.

blackpanther2 blackpanther3

blackpanther1

Donald Neilson
Donald Sumpter
Lesley Whittle
Debbie Farrington
Neilson’s Wife
Marjorie Yates
Neilson’s Daughter
Sylvia O’Donnell
Lesley’s Brother
Andrew Burt
Lesley’s Sister-in-Law
Alison Key
Lesley’s Mother
Ruth Dunning
Det. Chief Superintendent
David Swift

Director
Ian Merrick