A groundswell of young angry black Americans, tired of the nonviolent civil rights movement's softly softly approach to overcoming racial inequality, decided to set off on a new course. Calling themselves the Black Panthers - because panthers strike back when provoked - they soon attracted a huge variety of devotees from the alienated and oppressed up and down the country. Stanley Nelson takes us through the turbulent, short life of the Black Panthers, in a film rich in both archive and first person testimony. The youthful ideals and enthusiasm shown by the majority of the movement were let down by its erratic, violent and quarrelling leaders. The group also proved no match for the FBI, once J. Edgar Hoover declared them enemy number one - unleashing a barrage of counterintelligence and combative police measures which are, sadly, all too resonant today.