The Murder of Fred Hampton

In late 1968, Mike Gray and Howard Alk began working on a documentary on Black Panther activist Fred Hampton. When Hampton was shot in his apartment during a raid by the Chicago police, this changed the film in turn. While the first half is a portrait of Hampton, the second half revolves around the events of 4 December 1969. Images from mainstream media were edited together with footage from the crime scene and witness testimonies. As the film title reveals, the film comes to the conclusion that the death of Fred Hampton was not the result of his armed resistance, but was – plain and simple – murder. It is not surprising that a film lab in Chicago refused to develop the footage and a newspaper would not print any adverts for it. The film had created a media counter-public that faced corresponding resistance.
by Howard Alk USA 1971 English 88’ Black/White Documentary form | <em class="tit1">The Murder of Fred Hampton</em>, provided courtesy of The Chicago Film Archives


Director Howard Alk
Cinematography Howard Alk, Mike Gray
Editing Howard Alk, John Mason
Producer Mike Gray

Produced by

The Film Group

Additional information

The Murder of Fred Hampton, provided courtesy of The Chicago Film Archives

Howard Alk

Born in Chicago, USA in 1930. He studied at the University of Chicago. In 1959, Alk co-founded the theatre group "The Second City". When he turned to film, he became a sought-after editor in the counterculture scene. In 1969, he made his first film. Alk was a long-time friend and collaborator of Bob Dylan, whose tours he documented. He died in 1982.


1969 American Revolution 2; 76 min. 1971 Luxman Baul's Movie; 90 min. 1974 Janis; 96 min.

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2020