The mission of The Department of Afro-American Research Arts and Culture to identify the global significance of the creative contributions pioneered by an international diaspora of Blackness
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Saturday, June 17, 2023

Tap (1989)

"Tap" (1989) is a drama film written and directed by Nick Castle and stars Gregory Hines, Sammy Davis Jr., Suzzanne Douglas, and Joe Morton. As the title suggests, the movie is mostly about tap dancing with a story of redemption. After the 1940s, there were few films about the tap dancing art form that once dominated American entertainment. In particular, tap dancing was a huge part of black entertainment culture during the 1920s, 30s, and 40s.

"Tap" introduced a younger generation to the dance style, so the film includes a mixture of performers from old to new. The legendary tap dancers in the movie were Sammy Davis Jr., Howard 'Sandman' Sims, Bunny Briggs, Steve Condos, Jimmy Slyde, Arthur Duncan, and Harold Nicholas. In addition, Savion Glover starred in the movie as a 14-year-old boy learning from the legends. At the time, Glover was starring on Broadway as a performer. Finally, Gregory Hines connects all the generations in the movie. Suzzanne Douglas performs alongside Hines, displaying her gracefulness as a singer and dancer. 

This film has become a historical artifact because this was the last time an ensemble of legendary tap dancers was in a movie together. The cinematography is excellent, and the music is fantastic. The story is also engaging because actors like Joe Morton and Dick Anthony Williams appear. If you're looking for quality entertainment, I recommend "Tap" for viewing.

Director: Nick Castle
Writer: Nick Castle

Starring Gregory Hines, Suzzanne Douglas, Sammy Davis Jr., Joe Morton, Dick Anthony Williams, Savion Glover, Howard 'Sandman' Sims, Bunny Briggs, Steve Condos, Jimmy Slyde, Arthur Duncan, Pat Rico, and Harold Nicholas

Max Washington (Gregory Hines), an ex-con just released from jail, is a veteran burglar and a talented tap dancer. Reuniting with his girlfriend, Amy (Suzzanne Douglas), Max is approached by her father, Little Mo (Sammy Davis Jr.), about a new dance production. Max's criminal past, in the form of his old buddy, Nicky (Joe Morton), also comes knocking, and he must decide between embracing dance and lapsing into his delinquent ways.