Movies About Civil Rights

Updated
Movies About Civil Rights

Several creators have explored Movies About Civil Rights. We put together 17 of the best ones.

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 is the critically acclaimed 1962 film adaptation of Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name. Directed by Robert Mulligan, the film follows the moral journey of six-year-old Scout Finch (Mary Badham) and her brother Jem (Phillip Alford) as they observe the events of their small-town Alabama home and come to understand the power of courage and compassion. The film centers around the 1930's trial of Tom Robinson (Brock Peters), a black man accused of raping a white woman, and the Finch family's lawyer, Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck), who works to try to prove Tom's innocence despite the racism of the community. The film also follows Scout and Jem's relationship with their unconventional neighbor, Boo Radley (Robert Duvall) and the effects of racism, prejudice and injustice on the characters of the film. To Kill a Mockingbird won three Academy Awards and has since become a classic of American cinema, remembered for its strong performances, intricate storytelling, and its powerful portrayal of racial justice and equality.

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 American historical crime drama film directed by Alan Parker, set in 1964 Mississippi. The film explores the fictionalized version of the real-life investigation into the disappearance of three civil rights workers. The two FBI agents (played by Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe) assigned to the case must confront the hostile attitudes of the local townspeople while they search for the missing men. As they investigate, they uncover a conspiracy involving Klan members who are willing to go to any lengths to protect their secrets. With the help of local African-American citizens, the agents uncover the secrets of the Mississippi Burning case, and bring the guilty to justice.

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 television film directed by John Korty and based on the 1971 novel of the same name by Ernest J. Gaines. The story follows Jane Pittman, a 110-year-old former slave who has witnessed almost the entire history of the American South. Over the course of the film, she recounts her story to a young reporter, detailing her struggles with racism, sexism, and poverty. She also describes her journey as she becomes a civil rights activist and leads her community to freedom. The film stars Cicely Tyson in the title role, and won two Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe, and a Peabody Award.

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 documentary film directed by Spike Lee about the 1963 Birmingham Church Bombing, which killed four African American girls and was a seminal event in the Civil Rights Movement. The film documents the lives of the victims and the events leading up to the bombing, as well as the aftermath and its effects on the victims' families. In addition to interviews with the victims' families, the film features interviews with civil rights leaders, journalists, and others who were involved in the story. The film also includes archival footage from the era, such as news reports and footage from the protests. 4 Little Girls is a powerful and moving tribute to the victims and their families, and a reminder of the scar that segregation and racism left on American society.

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 biopic film directed by Spike Lee about the life of African American leader Malcolm X. The film chronicles Malcolm X's life from his troubled childhood in the 1940s through his rise to become one of the most influential figures in African-American history. Malcolm X's story is told through a combination of archival footage, original interviews, and dramatic re-enactment scenes. The film also covers his extensive work to improve the lives of black Americans, his rise as a leader of the Nation of Islam, and his disillusionment with the Nation. The film was a critical and commercial success, earning Nominations for two Academy Awards and the Palme d'Or at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival.

The Hurricane (1999)

The Hurricane
★★★★
★★★★
3 out of 4 stars

From Norman Jewison, starring Denzel Washington, Vicellous Shannon, Deborah Kara Unger, Liev Schreiber
Rated R

The Hurricane is an American biographical sports drama film directed by Norman Jewison. It stars Denzel Washington as Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, a former middleweight boxer who was wrongly convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. The film follows the story of Carter's fight to prove his innocence and gain his freedom, aided by a group of Canadians, including attorney Myron Bedard (played by Dan Hedaya) and author Sam Chaiton (played by John Hannah). In the film, Carter's case is re-examined by Bedard, and investigative journalist Lesra Martin (played by Vicellous Reon Shannon) becomes inspired to help prove his innocence. With the help of Bedard and Martin, Carter is eventually released from prison after being wrongfully convicted for twenty-six years. The film also stars Liev Schreiber, Deborah Kara Unger, and Harris Yulin. The Hurricane is based on the true story of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter and his eventual release from prison thanks to the hard work of Carter and his supporters.

Selma (2014)

Selma
★★★★
★★★★
3 out of 4 stars

From Ava DuVernay, starring David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Wilkinson
Rated PG-13

Selma is a 2014 historical drama film directed by Ava DuVernay and based on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches led by James Bevel, Hosea Williams, and Martin Luther King Jr. The film tells the story of the three-month period in 1965 when King organized a series of civil rights marches from Selma, Alabama, to the steps of the state capitol in Montgomery to secure the right to vote for African-Americans. The film stars David Oyelowo as King, and features Carmen Ejogo, Tom Wilkinson, and Common in supporting roles. The film received critical acclaim and was nominated for Best Picture at the 87th Academy Awards, and also received four Golden Globe Award nominations, including Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Director for DuVernay, and Best Actor for Oyelowo. The film dramatizes the story of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which ended legal discrimination and harassment of African-Americans in the United States when they attempted to register to vote.

42 (2013)

42
★★★★
★★★★
3 out of 4 stars

From Brian Helgeland, starring Chadwick Boseman, T.R. Knight, Harrison Ford, Nicole Beharie
Rated PG-13

42 is a biographical sports drama that tells the story of Jackie Robinson, the first African-American man to play in Major League Baseball. The film follows Robinson's historic signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers, his struggles with racism both on and off the field, and his eventual triumph over adversity and hatred. Along with Robinson, the film also features appearances from other key figures in baseball history such as Branch Rickey, Pee Wee Reese, and Leo Durocher. With its powerful message of overcoming adversity, 42 is an inspiring and thought-provoking look at one of the most important figures in baseball history.

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

Lincoln (2012)

Lincoln
★★★★
★★★★
2.9 out of 4 stars

From Steven Spielberg, starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Rated PG-13

Driving Miss Daisy (1989)

Driving Miss Daisy
★★★★
★★★★
2.9 out of 4 stars

From Bruce Beresford, starring Morgan Freeman, Jessica Tandy, Dan Aykroyd, Patti LuPone
Rated PG

Talk to Me (2007)

Talk to Me
★★★★
★★★★
2.9 out of 4 stars

From Kasi Lemmons, starring Don Cheadle, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Bruce McFee, Mike Epps
Rated R

Rosewood (1997)

Rosewood
★★★★
★★★★
2.9 out of 4 stars

From John Singleton, starring Jon Voight, Ving Rhames, Don Cheadle, Bruce McGill
Rated R

The Butler (2013)

The Butler
★★★★
★★★★
2.9 out of 4 stars

From Lee Daniels, starring Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, John Cusack, Jane Fonda
Rated PG-13

Loving (2016)

Loving
★★★★
★★★★
2.8 out of 4 stars

From Jeff Nichols, starring Ruth Negga, Joel Edgerton, Will Dalton, Dean Mumford
Rated PG-13

Ali (2001)

Ali
★★★★
★★★★
2.7 out of 4 stars

From Michael Mann, starring Will Smith, Jamie Foxx, Jon Voight, Mario Van Peebles
Rated R

Blood Done Sign My Name (2010)

Blood Done Sign My Name
★★★★
★★★★
2.6 out of 4 stars

From Jeb Stuart, starring Emily Alyn Lind, Michael Rooker, Natalie Alyn Lind, Ricky Schroder
Rated PG-13

 



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