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.

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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

Ian Merrick