Movies About Civil Rights Movement

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Movies About Civil Rights Movement

Several films have explored Movies About Civil Rights Movement. We assembled 25 of the best ones.

12 Angry Men (1957)

12 Angry Men
★★★★
★★★★
3.6 out of 4 stars

From Sidney Lumet, starring Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Martin Balsam, John Fiedler
Rated Approved

12 Angry Men is a 1957 American courtroom drama film, directed by Sidney Lumet, about a jury of twelve men as they deliberate a murder trial. An 18-year-old defendant has been accused of fatally stabbing his father, and a guilty verdict would lead to his execution. The jury is initially leaning toward a guilty verdict, but one juror (Henry Fonda) insists that they must not rush to judgment and begins to re-examine the case, eventually leading to a not guilty verdict. Along the way, the personal biases and motivations of the other jurors are revealed, as is the underlying racism and prejudice that exists within the justice system. The film is a powerful exploration of prejudice, justice, and morality.

American History X (1998)

American History X
★★★★
★★★★
3.4 out of 4 stars

From Tony Kaye, starring Edward Norton, Edward Furlong, Beverly D'Angelo, Jennifer Lien
Rated R

American History X is a 1998 drama film directed by Tony Kaye and written by David McKenna. It stars Edward Norton as Derek Vinyard, a former neo-Nazi skinhead who is sent to prison for voluntary manslaughter. Upon his release, he must face the consequences of his past actions and try to prevent his younger brother (Edward Furlong) from following in his footsteps. The film explores themes of racism, redemption, and violence. It was met with critical acclaim and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Editing.

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

To Kill a Mockingbird
★★★★
★★★★
3.3 out of 4 stars

From Robert Mulligan, starring Gregory Peck, John Megna, Frank Overton, Rosemary Murphy
Rated Approved

"To Kill a Mockingbird" (1962) is an American drama directed by Robert Mulligan, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Harper Lee. Set in Maycomb, Alabama during the 1930s, the film follows the story of Scout Finch, a young girl whose father, Atticus Finch, is a lawyer determined to defend a black man, Tom Robinson, against false charges of raping a white woman. Along the way, Scout, her brother Jem and their friend Dill discover a set of moral lessons about courage, compassion and justice. Atticus' defense of Tom Robinson in the face of racism and hatred serves as a powerful message about the importance of standing up for what is right, no matter the consequence. In the end, Atticus' message of justice and morality wins out, and the film is an inspiring and timeless classic.

Hoop Dreams (1994)

Hoop Dreams
★★★★
★★★★
3.3 out of 4 stars

From Steve James, starring William Gates, Arthur Agee, Emma Gates, Curtis Gates
Rated PG-13

Hoop Dreams is a 1994 documentary film directed by Steve James about two African-American high school students, William Gates and Arthur Agee, and their dreams of becoming professional basketball players. It follows the two boys from their time in high school, through their college careers and beyond. The film covers the challenges they face, such as personal and family struggles, racism, and the pressure of achieving success in a world that is often unsupportive. At its core, Hoop Dreams is a story of hope, resilience, and determination in the face of adversity.

The Help (2011)

The Help
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Tate Taylor, starring Viola Davis, Emma Stone, Octavia Spencer, Bryce Dallas Howard
Rated PG-13

The Help is a 2011 drama film directed by Tate Taylor and starring Emma Stone, Viola Davis, and Octavia Spencer. It is based on the 2009 novel of the same name by Kathryn Stockett. Set in Jackson, Mississippi in the early 1960s, the film follows a young white woman, Skeeter Phelan, who embarks on a journey to write a book that portrays the African-American maids' point of view on their work in white households. She is met with strong opposition from her community, but Skeeter persists and eventually earns the trust of Aibileen Clark, Minny Jackson, and other African-American maids who share their stories with her. Through their collective courage and strength, the maids are able to create meaningful changes in their community. The film earned numerous awards and nominations, including Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Actress (Davis), and Best Supporting Actress (Spencer).

In the Heat of the Night (1967)

In the Heat of the Night
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Norman Jewison, starring Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger, Warren Oates, Lee Grant
Rated Approved

In the Heat of the Night is a 1967 American mystery drama directed by Norman Jewison. The film follows Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier), a Philadelphia homicide detective who becomes embroiled in the investigation of a murder in a small town in the deep south. Tibbs must contend with the racial prejudice of the local sheriff (Rod Steiger) as he works to solve the case. With the help of a local police officer (Warren Oates), Tibbs eventually apprehends the murderer, but not before a number of tense encounters. The film was a critical and commercial success, earning five Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Poitier. It won the Academy Award for Best Picture and was ranked in 1997 by the American Film Institute as the sixth-greatest American film ever made.

The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1974)

The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From John Korty, starring Cicely Tyson, Eric Brown, Richard Dysart, Joel Fluellen
Rated TV-PG

The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman is a 1974 American made-for-television drama film directed by John Korty and written by Tracy Keenan Wynn. The film is based on the 1971 novel of the same name by Ernest J. Gaines. The story spans a period of 114 years, from the Civil War era to the 1970s civil rights movement. It stars Cicely Tyson as the title character, an elderly African-American woman who was born into slavery in the mid-19th century and lived to become a part of the civil rights movement of the 1960s. The film follows Jane's life as she struggles against oppression and racism, as well as her relationships with family and friends, ultimately culminating in her participating in a civil rights march in the small Louisiana town of Bayonne. The film earned critical acclaim and won several Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award.

Mississippi Burning (1988)

Mississippi Burning
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Alan Parker, starring Gene Hackman, Willem Dafoe, Frances McDormand, Brad Dourif
Rated R

"Mississippi Burning" is a 1988 crime drama directed by Alan Parker and starring Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe. It tells the true story of three civil rights workers who were murdered in Mississippi in 1964 by members of the Ku Klux Klan. The FBI is sent to investigate, and Hackman and Dafoe play the two agents who search for clues in the small town. As they try to uncover the truth, they are faced with a hostile local population that is determined to keep the investigation from succeeding. The movie focuses on the tension between the agents and the locals, as well as the struggle of the civil rights movement and the racism in the southern United States.

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Stanley Kramer, starring Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier, Katharine Hepburn, Katharine Houghton
Rated Approved

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner is a 1967 romantic comedy-drama directed by Stanley Kramer. The film stars Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier, and Katharine Hepburn, and addresses the then-controversial issue of interracial marriage. The plot focuses on the reactions of the parents of Joanna Drayton (Katharine Houghton) after she announces her engagement to Dr. John Prentice (Sidney Poitier), an African-American doctor. Joanna’s parents, Matt (Spencer Tracy) and Christina Drayton (Katharine Hepburn), are initially shocked and disapproving of the relationship. However, after meeting John, they begin to accept the fact that he is a good person, and the two families slowly come to terms with the union. The film has a positive message of acceptance, and highlights the importance of tolerance and understanding in the face of cultural and social differences. The film was nominated for 10 Academy Awards and was a critical and box office success.

4 Little Girls (1997)

4 Little Girls
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Spike Lee, starring Maxine McNair, Walter Cronkite, Chris McNair, Fred Lee Shuttlesworth
Rated TV-14

4 Little Girls is a 1997 American documentary film directed by Spike Lee about the victims of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, on September 15, 1963. Through interviews with survivors and witnesses, the film looks back at the events leading up to the bombing, the civil rights campaigns of the time and the aftermath of the tragedy. The film also examines the lives of the four little girls - Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley and Denise McNair - who were killed in the bombing, and their families, as well as the eventual conviction of the perpetrators more than 30 years later. The film is a powerful exploration of racism and injustice in the segregated South, and a tribute to the brave people who helped to bring about progress during the civil rights movement.

With All Deliberate Speed (2004)

With All Deliberate Speed
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Peter Gilbert, starring Vernon Jordan, Thurgood Marshall Jr., Jeffrey Wright, Mekhi Phifer
Rated Unrated

With All Deliberate Speed is a 2004 documentary film by director Peter Gilbert exploring the history of the civil rights movement and its effects on the achievement of desegregation in the American public school system. The film is structured around the 1954 Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education, which declared segregation in public schools to be unconstitutional. The film examines the effects of the case and its legacy, including interviews with past and present members of the Supreme Court, civil rights leaders, and ordinary citizens affected by the case. It also explores the progress made in desegregating American public schools and examines the persistent racial divide in the United States that still exists today. The film ultimately serves as an examination of the history of the civil rights movement and its effects on the modern education system, and a reminder of the ongoing fight for racial justice and equality.

Remember the Titans (2000)

Remember the Titans
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Boaz Yakin, starring Denzel Washington, Will Patton, Wood Harris, Ryan Hurst
Rated PG

Remember the Titans is a 2000 American sports drama film based on the true story of African-American coach Herman Boone, portrayed by Denzel Washington, who attempts to integrate a newly desegregated high school football team in Alexandria, Virginia in 1971. After initial tension between the team's white and black players, Boone is able to successfully unify the team and lead them to win the 1971 Virginia state championship. Along the way, the team learns valuable lessons about race, trust, understanding and respect. The film stars Will Patton, Wood Harris, Ryan Hurst, Donald Adeosun Faison and Hayden Panettiere.

Boyz n the Hood (1991)

Boyz n the Hood
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From John Singleton, starring Cuba Gooding Jr., Laurence Fishburne, Hudhail Al-Amir, Lloyd Avery II
Rated R

Boyz n the Hood is a 1991 American coming-of-age drama film written and directed by John Singleton and starring Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding Jr., Laurence Fishburne, Morris Chestnut, Nia Long, and Regina King. Set in the South Central Los Angeles neighborhood of South Central, it follows three young men from adolescence to adulthood as they experience the everyday struggles of life in the hood. Tre Styles (Gooding Jr.) is a high school student whose mother moves him to live with his father, Furious Styles (Fishburne), in South Central after he gets into a fight at his previous school. Tre's friends, Doughboy (Cube) and Ricky (Chestnut), are both growing up facing the tough realities of urban life. As the boys face ever-increasing danger on their streets, they must find their own paths to survive.

Malcolm X (1992)

Malcolm X
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Spike Lee, starring Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, Delroy Lindo, Spike Lee
Rated PG-13

Malcolm X is a 1992 biographical drama directed by Spike Lee which chronicles the life of African-American leader Malcolm X. The film follows Malcolm from his early life in the slums of Michigan, to his days as a hustler on the streets of Boston and New York City, to his conversion to the Nation of Islam, to his rise to power as a leader of the movement. The narrative of the film examines Malcolm's transition from a troubled young man to a powerful and influential leader in the fight for civil rights and equality. Through his passion and courage, Malcolm X ultimately becomes a symbol for hope, courage, and justice for African-Americans everywhere.

Blazing Saddles (1974)

Blazing Saddles
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Mel Brooks, starring Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder, Slim Pickens, Harvey Korman
Rated R

Blazing Saddles is a 1974 western comedy directed by Mel Brooks. It follows the story of a newly appointed African-American sheriff as he attempts to rid a town of its racist inhabitants. Along the way, he teams up with a cowboy conman, a drunken gunslinger, and a Native American to fight back against the corrupt state officials and politicians who threaten to drive the citizens out of their beloved town. The movie contains many references to classic westerns, as well as slapstick comedy and a satirical take on the racism and bigotry of the era. The film is widely considered to be one of the greatest comedies of all time and is filled with memorable characters and quotes.

The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till (2005)

The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Keith Beauchamp, starring Mamie Till Mobley, Wheeler Parker, Simeon Wright, Ruthie Mae Crawford
Rated PG-13

The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till is a documentary film directed by Keith Beauchamp and released in 2005. It examines the story of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African American boy lynched in Mississippi in 1955, and explores the events that led to his death and the subsequent trial of his murderers. The film features interviews with family members, historians, and Till's murderers, revealing the truth behind the tragedy and its consequences. It also examines the continued legacy of racism and violence against African Americans in the United States.

The Blind Side (2009)

The Blind Side
★★★★
★★★★
3 out of 4 stars

From John Lee Hancock, starring Quinton Aaron, Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw, Jae Head
Rated PG-13

The Blind Side is a biographical drama directed by John Lee Hancock, which tells the true story of Michael Oher, a homeless teenager from Memphis, Tennessee. Oher is taken in by a wealthy family, the Tuohys, who provide him with every opportunity to succeed in life. With the help of his new family, Oher goes on to have a successful high school football career, eventually receiving a full scholarship to the University of Mississippi. The film follows Oher as he navigates the world of college football, facing numerous challenges and obstacles along the way. Ultimately, he learns the importance of resilience, commitment, and the power of familial love. The film is a heart-warming story of redemption, family, and hope.

The Defiant Ones (1958)

The Defiant Ones
★★★★
★★★★
3 out of 4 stars

From Stanley Kramer, starring Tony Curtis, Sidney Poitier, Theodore Bikel, Charles McGraw
Rated Approved

The Defiant Ones (1958) is a groundbreaking drama directed by Stanley Kramer which tells the story of two escaped convicts, one black (Sidney Poitier) and one white (Tony Curtis), who are chained together, and must find a way to cooperate and escape from a Southern chain gang. Despite their racial and social differences, the two men, who initially despise each other, must learn to work together in order to survive and ultimately gain their freedom. Along the way, they struggle with their conscience and with the law, while forming an unlikely bond of friendship. The film provides a powerful commentary on racial prejudice and injustice, and is filled with unexpected twists and turns that keep the audience engaged throughout.

Pleasantville (1998)

Pleasantville
★★★★
★★★★
3 out of 4 stars

From Gary Ross, starring Tobey Maguire, Jeff Daniels, Joan Allen, William H. Macy
Rated PG-13

Pleasantville is a 1998 comedy-drama film written, co-produced, and directed by Gary Ross. It stars Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon as two modern-day teenagers who are magically transported into a 1950s television sitcom, set in the fictional town of Pleasantville. In this world, everything is perfect, sunny and black and white. But as the two teens start to experience life in Pleasantville, they begin to introduce the residents to a world of color, emotion, and change. The film follows their journey as they learn to appreciate the beauty of life, in both its dark and light moments.

A Time to Kill (1996)

A Time to Kill
★★★★
★★★★
3 out of 4 stars

From Joel Schumacher, starring Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Spacey
Rated R

A Time to Kill is a 1996 American drama film based on the 1989 novel of the same name by John Grisham. Directed by Joel Schumacher, the film stars Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson, and Kevin Spacey. The movie is set in Canton, Mississippi, where a ten-year-old black girl named Tonya Hailey is brutally raped by two white supremacists. Her father, Carl Lee Hailey (Jackson), decides to take justice into his own hands and shoots both rapists. He is subsequently arrested and charged with murder and faces the death penalty. Enter Jake Brigance (McConaughey), a small-town lawyer who takes on Carl Lee's case. With the help of his mentor, Lucien Wilbanks (Spacey), and his assistant, Ellen Roark (Bullock), Jake attempts to prove that Carl Lee was justified in his actions. Despite the risks to his reputation, Jake puts himself and his family in danger as he fights for justice in a racially charged trial. In the end, the jury acquits Carl Lee, affirming the power of self-defense.

Sounder (1972)

Sounder
★★★★
★★★★
3 out of 4 stars

From Martin Ritt, starring Cicely Tyson, Paul Winfield, Kevin Hooks, Carmen Mathews
Rated G

Sounder is a 1972 drama film directed by Martin Ritt and starring Cicely Tyson, Paul Winfield, and Kevin Hooks. It is based on the 1970 novel of the same name by William H. Armstrong. The story follows the poverty-stricken African-American family of sharecroppers living in rural Louisiana in the 1930s. The father, Nathan (Paul Winfield), is arrested and sent to prison for stealing food to feed his family. His wife Rebecca (Cicely Tyson) and children must face the hard life of a sharecropper without him. Through the struggles, the family dog Sounder (named after the train that carries Nathan to prison) serves as a source of comfort and a reminder of their love and bond. With help from a teacher (John Fiedler) and an understanding sheriff (James Best), Rebecca ultimately finds a way to reunite the family. The film was a huge success and earned three Academy Award nominations, including Best Actress for Cicely Tyson. Sounder was later added to the Library of Congress’ National Registry for its significance in American cinematic history.

The Informer (1935)

The Informer
★★★★
★★★★
3 out of 4 stars

From John Ford, starring Victor McLaglen, Heather Angel, Preston Foster, Margot Grahame
Rated Approved

Prince of the City (1981)

Prince of the City
★★★★
★★★★
3 out of 4 stars

From Sidney Lumet, starring Treat Williams, Jerry Orbach, Richard Foronjy, Don Billett
Rated R

Akeelah and the Bee (2006)

Akeelah and the Bee
★★★★
★★★★
3 out of 4 stars

From Doug Atchison, starring Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, Keke Palmer, Curtis Armstrong
Rated PG

The Long Walk Home (1990)

The Long Walk Home
★★★★
★★★★
2.9 out of 4 stars

From Richard Pearce, starring Sissy Spacek, Whoopi Goldberg, Dwight Schultz, Ving Rhames
Rated PG

 



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