I’m going to be brief today, and in honor of the day honoring the liberation of slavery in America, as well as the importance of needing racial reconciliation in our country, I am going to offer six of my favorite movies that address racial injustice.
Here we go!
- ‘Green Book’
This is a recent addition since it came out in 2018 and has had some mixed reviews as far as acceptance. This Oscar Best Picture winner has a great plot involving a New York bouncer who works as the driver of an African-American pianist who performs concerts in the Deep South in the 1960s.
Check out WordSlinger’s entertainment writer Michael Foust’s review. It was Michael’s review that convinced me to watch. There are great scenes of which to learn when it comes to racism. And there is one great scene that emphasizes dignity. I also should point out there is a scene that makes the implication of homosexuality, and profanity is used in multiple scenes.
Green Book gives a great lesson on forgiveness, and, in my opinion, has one of the best closing lines in movie history.
Are you one of the many who miss baseball? Here’s a good one to consider.
Based on the true story of Jackie Robinson playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers, 42 is a marvelous depiction. I wrote a review of 42 seven years ago, and I feel just as strongly about the movie now as I did then. I especially appreciate Harrison Ford’s role as Branch Rickey, the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers.
- ‘Lillies of the Field’
Here’s a movie that does not get much fanfare today. It’s the first of two Sidney Poitier movies on my list.
Debuting in 1963, Lillies of the Field made film history with Poitier winning the Oscar for Best Actor and becoming the first African-American to win such an award.
Poitier plays Homer Smith, an itinerant handyman who stumbles across a group of nuns in Arizona. They convince him to stay around and help them build a chapel, even though they don’t have any money to pay him.
Though it’s an older film and has moments of heavy drama, this is a powerful story that emphasizes different races and ethnicities working together for a great cause, even a cause for the Kingdom.
- ‘In the Heat of the Night’
More people are familiar with the TV show that was a spinoff of this great movie. In the Heat of the Night is one of my all-time favorite movies. I actually thought Poitier won his Oscar for his role as Virgil Tibbs. However, his co-star Rod Steiger received the Academy Award.
Poitier and Steiger give an excellent clash-turn-partnership performance in this crime mystery that expounds greatly on racial injustice.
- ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’
One of the best all-time movies, To Kill a Mockingbird is another one everyone should watch. It has some heavy scenes but powerful messages. Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch is one of the best roles in movie history. The character Finch is considered by the American Film Institute to be the greatest movie hero.
Finch is a passionate father and model for advocating racial reconciliation. The lessons he tells his children Scout and Jem are needed for everyone to learn. Finch is a powerful figure who is respected by everyone. He even calmed an angry mob, just by sitting in front of the jail.
We need an Atticus Finch today.
The faith-based film Woodlawn may not get much fanfare, but I love this movie.
I wrote a review for the Baptist Messenger in 2015 about Woodlawn, and I still agree with my final paragraph:
“This is more than a football movie. It is even more than a faith-based film. ‘Woodlawn’ is a well-acted, well-filmed production that is capable of changing lives and the direction of our country, recounting a time when the Gospel did just that.”
Yes, I believe this movie could make great strides in racial reconciliation because its answer to this horrible strife is the Gospel. Click on the link below to watch my favorite scene of the film with Rudy and Lord of the Rings star Sean Astin giving a powerful witness to the football team that is torn because of racism: