The Chadwick Boseman War Movie On Netflix That Will Leave You Speechless

By Douglas Helm | Updated

Da 5 Bloods

Chadwick Boseman left us far too early, but he left behind some truly incredible performances, including the final movie released in his lifetime — Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods. This Vietnam War story is truly unique, as you would expect from Lee, and well worth the watch. If you missed this one, make sure to check it out on Netflix sooner than later.

Chadwick Boseman’s final film to be released in his lifetime, Da 5 Bloods, is streaming on Netflix.

Da 5 Bloods is a story about four Vietnam War veterans who return to Vietnam to find the remains of their fallen squad leader, along with the treasure they buried while they were serving. Along with Chadwick Boseman, the incredible cast includes Delroy Lindo, Jonathan Majors, Clarke Peters, Norm Lewis, Isiah Whitlock Jr, Johnny Trí Nguyễn, Mélanie Thierry, Paul Walter Hauser, Jasper Paakkonen, and Jean Reno.

Spike Lee directed, produced, and co-wrote the script with Kevin Wilmott, reworking it from the original script by Danny Bilson and Paul De Meo.

Da 5 Bloods got great reviews, and many consider it one of Spike Lee’s best efforts, which is good because it was also one of his most expensive films with a budget of $35 to $40 million. Unfortunately, the timing couldn’t have been worse because the film was unable to open in theaters due to COVID, and it premiered on Netflix instead.

Still, a Spike Lee film starring Chadwick Boseman is undoubtedly going to get a lot of attention, and people streamed it enough to make it the #1 film on Netflix the week of its debut.

Chadwick Boseman in Da 5 Bloods

Chadwick Boseman and Delroy Lindo’s performances especially received a ton of critical acclaim, with many thinking that Lindo would be a shoo-in for the Best Actor nomination.

In what many considered to be a snub, Lindo didn’t get a spot in the nominations that year, though Da 5 Bloods did get nominated for Terence Blanchard’s score. The film received numerous other accolades and remains one of Netflix’s most-watched Oscar-nominated titles, according to Variety.

The lead roles in Da 5 Bloods were initially offered to Samuel L. Jackson, Denzel Washington, Giancarlo Esposito, and John David Washington, though they all had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts.

While Netflix doesn’t often reveal viewership numbers, it was revealed in 2020 that Chadwick Boseman’s Da 5 Bloods was viewed by over 27 million households — a number that has undoubtedly gone up quite a bit since then.

While it certainly stings a little that we were never able to see a proper theater release of this film, it’s good to know that it got the viewership it deserved at home. The fact that Spike Lee and cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel shot the film in different aspect ratios and using different film stocks would have undoubtedly made the film a treat to see on the biggest screen possible, but it just wasn’t in the cards at the time.

Interestingly, there might have been a version of this film where Chadwick Boseman and Delroy Lindo weren’t among the lead roles. The lead roles in Da 5 Bloods were initially offered to Samuel L. Jackson, Denzel Washington, Giancarlo Esposito, and John David Washington, though they all had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts. While that version of the film would have also undoubtedly been amazing, it’s hard to imagine missing out on the film we already have.

Chadwick Boseman in Da 5 Bloods

Chadwick Boseman’s Final Performance

Chadwick Boseman was around to see the success and acclaim of Da 5 Bloods, but he would pass away from his cancer during the post-production process of his final film, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom was inspired by the story of the blues singer Ma Rainey and her recording sessions in 1920s Chicago.

Boseman plays the cocky yet talented trumpeter Levee Green opposite Viola Davis as the titular character. The film would be dedicated to Boseman’s memory, and he was nominated for a posthumous Best Actor Academy Award.

Although Da 5 Bloods was the final film released during Chadwick Boseman’s lifetime, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom was his final film performance, we did get to hear one last performance from Boseman in his MCU role as T’Challa, aka Black Panther, in the Disney+ What If…? animated series.

This would be Boseman’s final posthumous performance, though last year’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever heavily focused on his character’s absence as Wakanda and his family dealt with his passing. Fortunately, all of Boseman’s final projects are available for us to see on streaming, so make sure to check out What If…? on Disney+ and Da 5 Bloods and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom on Netflix.