Although his life was cut tragically short, Chadwick Boseman’s time in the entertainment industry gave audiences some of the best titles of the last two decades. From 42 to Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, the critically-celebrated actor was known for pouring everything into a role and delivering only the best for fans. And, while it’s been on the platform since its 2020 debut, the film Da 5 Bloods is one of Boseman’s lesser-known pieces which you can tune into now.
Da 5 Bloods – starring Chadwick Boseman, Jonathan Majors, and Delroy Lindo – is streaming now on Netflix.
Directed, co-penned, and produced by the legendary Spike Lee, Da 5 Bloods tells the story of four Vietnam War veterans who are together on a journey of growth and discovery following their harrowing time in one of the bloodiest wars in America’s history.
The main group of friends reconnect years later in the country that they fought so hard in to dig up a treasure that they left behind as well as find the remains of their deceased squad leader, Norman Earl Holloway (Chadwick Boseman). Part present day, part flashback, the heart-wrenching and adrenaline-pumping feature is about the bonds made during the darkest of times.
Along with Chadwick Boseman as the late squad leader, Da 5 Bloods stars Delroy Lindo (Malcolm X), Norm Lewis (The Good Mother), Isaiah Whitlock Jr. (The Wire), and Clarke Peters (The Wire) as the five members of the titular group of soldiers. Also included in the cast is Jonathan Majors (Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania), Paul Walter Hauser (I, Tonya), Johnny Trí Nguyen (Spider-Man 2), Mélanie Thierry (Memoir of War), Jean Reno (The Da Vinci Code), Jasper Pääkkönen (Vikings), and Veronica Ngo (The Creator).
A massive success, Da 5 Bloods could have turned into a very different film as Oliver Stone was the first director attached.
Another victim of the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Da 5 Bloods was initially set for a release at the 2020 Cannes Film Festival, followed by a limited theatrical run. Sadly, the Chadwick Boseman-led feature would never make it to cinemas as things quickly shut down at the beginning of the pandemic.
Still, even though its viewership numbers suffered with a simple Netflix release without all the bells and whistles of a Hollywood premiere, the film still met a slew of praise from critics and audiences alike.
At that year’s award circuit, Clarke Peters would nab a BAFTA nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role while composer Terence Blanchard was nominated for Best Original Score at the Academy Awards. The Critics’ Choice celebrations saw several of the main stars nominated for their performances including Chadwick Boseman and Delroy Lindo with Spike Lee also receiving a nod for Best Director.
The same thing can be said of the title at the Screen Actors Guild Awards where not only did Boseman receive a mention but the film’s entire cast was in the running for an ensemble performance.
A massive success, Da 5 Bloods could have turned into a very different film as Oliver Stone was the first director attached. As fate would have it, Stone left with Spike Lee picking up the torch and transforming the story into one told from an African-American perspective with flashbacks added to better solidify the background.
Following his death, Chadwick Boseman’s film Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom made it into theaters, with critics praising the late actor’s stellar performance.
Likewise, Chadwick Boseman and the rest of the cast weren’t the first men to step into the leading roles with the first lineup set to include Samuel L. Jackson, Giancarlo Esposito, John David Washington, and Denzel Washington. However, each ultimately dropped out due to scheduling difficulties.
Sadly, Da 5 Bloods would be the final time Chadwick Boseman would see any of his projects make it to screens. Sending a shockwave through his committed community of fans, the actor passed away in August 2020 due to complications stemming from colon cancer. Although he was diagnosed four years earlier, the star never shared his struggles publicly and continued to film movies even during his toughest days battling the disease. He was just 43 years old.
Following his death, Chadwick Boseman’s film Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom made it into theaters, with critics praising the late actor’s stellar performance. That year, he would receive posthumous nominations at the Academy Awards, and the BAFTAs, while earning wins at the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, the Golden Globe Awards, and the Screen Actors Guild Awards, also receiving a posthumous honor at the Emmys for his vocal work on Marvel’s animated series What If…?
For those who haven’t seen one of Chadwick Boseman’s most critically acclaimed performances of his career, now’s the time to check out Da 5 Bloods on Netflix.