'Small Axe': Release date, plot, cast, trailer and all you need to know about Steve McQueen's 5-film anthology

'Small Axe': Release date, plot, cast, trailer and all you need to know about Steve McQueen's 5-film anthology
(BBC/Prime Video)

Even with the coronavirus pandemic, the entertainment scene in 2020 has surprisingly done well. Many films were forced to release on streaming platforms since the crisis prevented us from going to the theatres, and while that experience is missed, we are glad that the entertainment scene has not stalled. Movies are an important form of narration of the human experience, and like literature, helps get across often complex topics.

2020 has also been a year of protests against systemic racism and while we know that this has been a centuries-long issue, we often forget that there existed racism in different forms in different places. Just as the Black population in America, people of African and West Indian descent were subjected to racism in the United Kingdom. A new anthology from '12 Years a Slave' director Steve McQueen centers around London’s West Indian community from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s and is inspired by real-life people. 'Small Axe' will be released on Prime Video in November, so read on to know more details.

Release date

'Small Axe', a joint Amazon and BBC production, will be available to stream on Prime Video on Friday, November 20. There are five films which will be released weekly.


'Small Axe', Steve McQueen's most ambitious project yet is a five-film anthology. Spanning three decades, beginning with Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech, the anthology series is set in London’s West Indian community. The plots of the five films are as follows in the order that they will be released.

'Mangrove': 'Mangrove' tells this true story of The Mangrove Nine who clashed with London police in 1970. The trial that followed was the first judicial acknowledgment of behavior motivated by racial hatred within the Metropolitan Police.

'Lovers Rock': A single evening at a house party in 1980s West London sets the scene, developing intertwined relationships against a background of violence, romance and music.

'Education': 'Education' is the coming of age story of 12-year-old Kingsley who has a fascination for astronauts and rockets. When Kingsley is pulled to the headmaster's office for being disruptive in class, he discovers he's being sent to a school for those with "special needs". Distracted by working two jobs, his parents are unaware of the unofficial segregation policy at play, preventing many Black children from receiving the education they deserve until a group of West Indian women takes matters into their own hands.

'Alex Wheatle': Alex Wheatle follows the true story of award-winning writer, Alex Wheatle, from a young boy through his early adult years. Having spent his childhood in a mostly white institutional care home with no love or family, he finally finds not only a sense of community for the first time in Brixton, but his identity and ability to grow his passion for music and DJing. When he is thrown in prison during the Brixton Uprising of 1981, he confronts his past and sees a path to healing.

'Red, White and Blue': Spotlights the true story of Leroy Logan, who at a young age saw his father assaulted by two policemen, motivating him to join the Metropolitan Police and change their racist attitudes from within.


John Boyega

John Boyega (Getty Images)


John Boyega is a British-Nigerian actor, known for his work as Finn in the 'Star Wars' sequel trilogy. He will play the role of Leroy Logan in 'Red, White and Blue'.

Letitia Wright

Letitia Wright (Getty Images)


Letitia Wright is a Guyanese-British actress, known for her work in 'Black Panther', 'Top Boy' and 'Coming Up'. She plays the role of Altheia Jones-LeCointe in 'Mangrove'.

Malachi Kirby

Malachi Kirby (Getty Images)


Malachi Kirby is an English actor known for his roles in 'Curfew', 'Devils' and 'Doctor Who'. He plays the role of Darcus Howe in 'Mangrove'.

Shaun Parkes

Shaun Parkes (Getty Images)


Shaun Parkes is an English actor known for his work in 'Doctor Who', 'Lost in Space' and 'Da Vinci's Demons'. He plays the role of Frank Crichlow in 'Mangrove'.


Steve McQueen

Steve McQueen (Getty Images)


Steve McQueen is a British filmmaker and video artist, known for his films '12 Years a Slave', 'Shame' and 'Widows'. He created and directed all five films in 'Small Axe'.



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