Consider some of the movies that were released in 1977: Star Wars. Close Encounters. Saturday Night Fever. All had their day in the sun (the first in the blinding light of Tatooine's twin suns). One film that didn't see the light of day that year was Charles Burnett's Killer of Sheep, a micro-budget character study about an incongruously tender slaughterhouse worker living in the Watts section of L.A. a decade after the riots.
Though Sheep was scheduled for release in '77, it wasn't -- and wouldn't officially be until now . . . 30 years on. Pressure from advocates such as the National Society of Film Critics -- which named the work one of moviemaking's "100 Essential Films" -- finally wrought a sparkling 35mm version and an international release.