Films on Prejudice

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Black Like Me

Docudrama 1964 105 min. John Finley Horton (James Whitmore) is a White Americanjournalist who artificially darkens his skin and passes for a black man in the deep South, from New Orleans to Atlanta, where he encounters a great deal of racism from both white and black peoples. Based on the true story of a white reporter who, at the height of the civil-rights movement, temporarily darkened his skin so that he could experience the realities of a black man’s life in the segregated South. Based on the book of the same name.

Gentleman’s Agreement

Drama 1947 NR 118 minutes. Enterprising reporter Phil Green (Gregory Peck), eager to blow the lid off anti-Semitism, accepts an assignment to pen a series of frank exposés for a progressive magazine. Looking for a new angle, Green poses as a Jew and soon endures the full spectrum of bigotry — from being denied a job and use of public facilities to his son suffering a beating. Little by little, the journalist comes to understand the cruel effects of prejudice.

The Help

Docudrama 2011 PG-13 146 minutes. In 1960s Jackson, Miss., aspiring writer Eugenia Phelan crosses taboo racial lines by conversing with Aibileen Clark about her life as a housekeeper, and their ensuing friendship upsets the fragile dynamic between the haves and the have-nots. When other long-silent black servants begin opening up to Eugenia, the disapproving conservative Southern town soon gets swept up in the turbulence of changing times. See Full Review

To Kill a Mockingbird

Drama 1962 NR 130 minutes. Southern comforts abound in this big-screen adaptation of Harper Lee’s novel as lawyer Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck, in an Oscar-winning role) defends an innocent black man (Brock Peters) against rape charges but ends up in a maelstrom of hate and prejudice. Meanwhile, with help from a friend (John Megna), Finch’s children, Jem (Phillip Alford) and Scout (Mary Badham), set their sights on making contact with a reclusive neighbor (Robert Duvall). See Full Review

School Ties

Drama 1992 PG-13 107 minutes. David Greene, a working-class Jewish teen, receives a football scholarship to a prestigious prep school in the 1950s. But in favor of fitting in, he chooses to hide his religious heritage from his wealthy, prejudiced classmates. Everything is going well for David until one of the young men overhears an alumnus state his disdain for St. Matthews allowing a Jew into the school and David is ostracized. See Full Review

Reel Injun

Documentary 2009 NR 85 minutes. This engrossing documentary reveals the film industry’s effect on the experiences of North American native people in the United States and Canada, who’ve been depicted in movies in a variety of ways — many of them wildly inaccurate.

Koch Brothers Exposed

Documentary 2012 NR 1hr. Koch Brothers Exposed reveals that the Koch Brothers have launched a large network attacking American values — from their environmental pollution, to their efforts to dismantle social security for working Americans. This revealing film investigates the richest 1% in America at its very worst — the Koch brothers’ racist, and anti-environmental, and anti-middle class politics. The Koch brothers’ net worth tops $50 billion, and they pledged to spend $60 million to defeat President Barack Obama in 2012. See Full Review

RFK in the Land of Apartheid
A Ripple of Hope

Documentary 2009 NR. This inspiring documentary examines the visit made by Senator Robert F. Kennedy to South Africa in 1966 — when the U.S. civil rights movement was a beacon for those suffering under apartheid — and his championing of banned ANC leader Albert Lutuli. Rare archival footage of Kennedy’s tour is interwoven with excerpts of his famous “Ripple of Hope” speech (given at the University of Cape Town) and interviews with current politicians and historians.

The Great Debaters

Docudrama 2007 PG-13 124 minutes. At all-black Wiley College in 1935, an activist professor pushes his debate team to a level of excellence that nets them a chance to take on Harvard University — the reigning national champs — in this inspiring drama based on a true story.

American Drug War
The Last White Hope

Documentary 2007 NR 118 minutes. With commentary from soldiers on both sides of the conflict, filmmaker Kevin Booth’s incisive documentary wades into the murky waters of the American war on drugs, the longest and costliest war in U.S. history. Taking viewers from prisons and inner-city streets to the halls of Congress and his own kitchen, Booth attempts to sort out the intricacies of the national drug policy — and the reasons for its unmitigated failure.

Crash (2005)

Drama 2005 R 113 minutes. In post-Sept. 11 Los Angeles, tensions erupt when the lives of a Brentwood housewife, her district attorney husband, a Persian shopkeeper, two cops, a pair of carjackers and a Korean couple converge during a 36-hour period.

Snow Falling on Cedars

Drama 1999 PG-13 127 minutes. When a fisherman is found drowned, suspicion falls on Japanese-American Kazou Miyamoto. Local reporter Ishmael Chambers may hold the key to proving Miyamoto’s innocence, but there’s a problem: Chambers is also in love with Miyamoto’s wife.

Rabbit-Proof Fence

Docudrama 2002 PG 93 minutes. Australia had an official white supremacy program, which lasted for over 100 years until 1970. Australia’s aboriginal integration program of the 1930s took young aborigines from their families and placed in an abusive orphanage. Three girls resolve to make the 1,500-mile trek home, without food or water. Meanwhile, a well-intentioned tracker is trying to return the girls to the authorities. This story is true, and two of the girls (now old women) actually appear in the movie. See Full Review

Snow Falling on Cedars

Drama 1999 PG-13 127 minutes. When a fisherman is found drowned, suspicion falls on Japanese-American Kazou Miyamoto. Local reporter Ishmael Chambers may hold the key to proving Miyamoto’s innocence, but there’s a problem: Chambers is also in love with Miyamoto’s wife.

The Hurricane

Docudrama 1999 R 146 minutes. Denzel Washington lands a knockout punch as Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, a prizefighter who — at the zenith of his boxing career — finds himself wrongly convicted of a triple homicide and sentenced to three life terms. While in prison, Carter pens his autobiography, which inspires Brooklyn teen Lesra Martin (Vicellous Reon Shannon) and a trio of Canadian advocates (Liev Schreiber, John Hannah and Deborah Unger) to help prove Carter’s innocence.

Go Back to Mexico!

Documentary Frontline 1994. America continues to wage a battle against the stream of undocumented immigrants entering the country. An estimated three million undocumented immigrants currently reside in the US. Each year, another three hundred thousand illegal immigrants arrive in the US in addition to the nearly nine hundred thousand who are legally accepted. How long can America sustain this influx of immigrants? And how real are the growing fears about economic costs and long-term social and political disruption? Frontline correspondent William Langewiesche explores these questions, focusing on California.

The Bonfire of the Vanities

Drama 1990 R 125 minute. Brian De Palma directs the film version of Tom Wolfe’s satire about race, politics and greed in 1980s New York. In it, Tom Hanks stars as Sherman McCoy, a wealthy Wall Street investor whose life takes a dark turn when his mistress (Melanie Griffith) hits a black youth with his car. When tabloid journalist Peter Fallow (Bruce Willis) gets wind of the situation, he turns it into front-page news, inciting a racial incident in this game of dog-eat-dog.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

Drama 1967 NR 108 minutes. Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn star as wealthy Californians who consider themselves progressive until their only daughter (Katharine Houghton) brings home her African American fiancé (Sidney Poitier) in this snapshot of race relations in the late 1960s. The film earned two Academy Awards (for Hepburn’s performance and William Rose’s screenplay) and eight other nominations. Stanley Kramer directs.

In the Heat of the Night

Drama 1967 NR 110 minutes. Black Philadelphia detective Virgil Tibbs helps a redneck Southern sheriff solve a murder in this riveting study in racism that still strikes a chord. Rod Steiger won a Best Actor Oscar for his turn as the put-upon lawman who comes to respect Tibbs.

A Patch of Blue

Drama 1965 UR 105 minutes. Gordon Ralfe (Sidney Poitier), a handsome, hard-working black man, befriends Selina (Elizabeth Hartman, who received an Oscar nod), a blind white girl, and he introduces her to a whole new world. They soon fall in love, but given the current racial climate, Gordon withholds his true feelings. Her overbearing, bigoted mother (Shelley Winters in an Oscar-winning role) derides Selina’s relationship with Gordon, but they continue to grow even closer.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Drama 1960 G 107 minutes. From chicken thief to cabin boy, riverboat pilot to circus performer, Huck Finn (Eddie Hodges) outsmarts everyone on his way down the muddy Mississippi. This 1960 movie was the first color version of the Mark Twain classic. The film features a cast of veteran Hollywood actors, including Buster Keaton (as a lion tamer!), Sterling Holloway, Andy Devine, Judy Canova and John Carradine. Michael Curtiz directs.

The Searchers

Docudrama 1956 NR 119 minutes.  After his entire family is viciously wiped out, hardened war veteran Ethan Edwards (John Wayne) embarks on a long journey to find his only surviving niece, Debbie (Natalie Wood), who has been captured by hostile Comanche Indians. Director John Ford’s richly scenic Western also stars Vera Miles, Hank Worden, Ward Bond and Jeffrey Hunter, as Edwards’s riding companion, Martin Pawley.  Loosely based on a true story.


Docudrama 2009 NR 1hr 47m.  Based on the real-life experiences of a Gypsy family living in Nazi-occupied France, this poignant drama explores the broader definition of freedom through the eyes of characters who see permanency as punishment.See Full Review


Epic 1916 NR 178 minutes.  In D.W. Griffith’s monumental epic, four stories spanning two millennia illustrate how intolerance has played a pernicious role in such historic events as Christ’s crucifixion and the fall of Babylon.

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