Release dateAugust 5, 1998 (1998-08-05) (Urbanworld Film Festival)
September 17, 1998 (1998-09-17) (Toronto Film Festival)
December 25, 1998 (1998-12-25) (U.S.) ProducersWesley Snipes, Reuben Cannon, Rick Rosenberg CastAlfre Woodard (Loretta Sinclair), Al Freeman, Jr. (Earl Sinclair), Esther Rolle (Annie Sinclair), Mary Alice (Rosa Lynn Sinclair), Loretta Devine (Zenia), Wesley Snipes (Will Sinclair) Similar moviesAl Freeman - Jr appears in both
TaglineSometimes, the last place you expected to be is the one place you've always belonged...
Down in the delta trailer
Down in the Delta is a 1998 drama film directed by Maya Angelou. The film stars Alfre Woodard, Al Freeman, Jr., Esther Rolle (in her final film appearance before her death), Loretta Devine, and Wesley Snipes.
Rosa Lynn, an elderly woman, sends her daughter Loretta and her children to live with her brother-in-law in Mississippi. Loretta is an addict and does not want to go, especially since uncle Earl lives in the dry and rural part of Mississippi.
Uncle Earl already has his hands full with his business and a wife who suffers from Alzheimer's disease. He has Loretta help him in his restaurant, and the family begins to find strength in their roots, and start to rebuild their lives.
An important recurring object throughout the film is a silver candelabra, a family heirloom. The candelabra, which everyone refers to as "Nathan," has strong significance to the family. It is finally revealed that Loretta's great-great grandfather and Jesse's father was a slave named Nathan, and he was traded for the candelabra. Jesse stole back the candelabra, and it has been passed through the generations, along with Nathan's story, ever since.
Alfre Woodard as Loretta Sinclair
Al Freeman Jr. as Earl Sinclair
Esther Rolle as Annie Sinclair
Mary Alice as Rosa Lynn Sinclair
Loretta Devine as Zenia
Anne-Marie Johnson as Monica Sinclair
Mpho Koaho as Thomas Sinclair
Justin Lord as Dr. Rainey
Wesley Snipes as Will Sinclair
Kulani Hassen as Tracy Sinclair
Sandra Caldwell as Volunteer
Colleen Williams as Tourist Woman
Richard Blackburn as Tourist Man
Philip Akin as Manager
Mary Fallick as Drug Addict
Sandi Ross as Pawnbroker
Barbara Barnes-Hopkins as Prim Woman
Alfre Woodard's work drew praise from San Francisco Chronicle reviewer Peter Stack, who lauded her for "a beautifully layered performance...Woodard is magical as a single mother haunted by drugs, alcohol and an inadequate education. She almost single-handedly shores up this somewhat simplistic movie...[h]er instincts for drama and humor provide a welcome dose of human reality, saving a script that veers toward the sentimental."
The film was successful on limited release.
The following soundtrack was released from Virgin Records.
"Believe in Love" - Sunday
"God's Stepchild" - Janet Jackson
"Heaven Must Be Like This" - D'Angelo
"If Ever" - Stevie Wonder
"Where Would I Be" - The Leverts (Eddie, Gerald, and Sean)
"I'm Only Human" - Luther Vandross (featuring Cassandra Wilson and Bob James)
"Just A Little Luv" - Shawn Stockman
"We Belong Together" - Tony Thompson And Antoinette
"Don't Talk 2 Strangers" - Chaka Khan
"Let It Go" - Jazzyfatnastees featuring The Roots
"My Soul Don't Dream" - Meshell N'degeocello & Keb' Mo'
"Uh Uh Ooh Ooh Look Out Here It Comes" - Ashford & Simpson
"Don't Let Nuthin' Keep You Down" - Sounds of Blackness