William & Mary

Law Library Movies: Civil Rights



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Law movies
4 Little Girls (1997)
Rated:  NR  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD  102 min. 
Plot: A notorious racial terrorist bombing of an African American church during the Civil Rights Movement.
Cast: Participants portray themselves. Directed by Spike Lee.
Categories:  Documentary  History  Civil Rights

Law movies
Adventures of Robin Hood, The (1938)
Rated:  NR  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD (2 disc set) 102 min. 
Plot: When Prince John and the Norman Lords begin oppressing the Saxon masses in King Richard's absence, a Saxon lord fights back as the outlaw leader of a rebel guerrilla army.
Cast: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone, Claude Rains, Alan Hale. Directed by Michael Curitz and William Keighley.
Categories:  Action  Politics  Civil Rights

Law movies
Animal Farm (1954)
Rated:  NR  Stars: ***1/2
Format:  DVD  72 min. 
Plot: A successful farmyard revolution by the resident animals vs. the farmer goes horribly wrong when corrupt pigs hijack it for their personal gain.
Cast: Gordan Heath, Maurice Denham. Directed by Joy Batchelor, John Halas.
Categories:  Civil Rights  Government  Animation

Law movies
Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, The (1974)
Rated:  NR  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD (2 disc set) 110 min. 
Plot: As the civil rights movement heats up, a former slave recants her memories of the black experience of working on a southern plantation to fetching water for soldiers in the Civil War to her views on the current and turbulent equal rights movement.
Cast: Cicely Tyson, Barbara Chaney, Richard Dysart, Katherine Helmond, Michael Murphy. Directed by John Korty.
Categories:  Biography  Civil Rights  Women

Law movies
Braveheart (1995)
Rated:  R  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD  177 min. 
Plot: William Wallace, a Scottish common man, unites fellow Scots in their fight for freedom from English rule at the end of the 13th century. Won the Academy Award for Best Picture.
Cast: Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan. Directed by Mel Gibson.
Categories:  History  Civil Rights  Discrimination

Law movies
Citizen Ruth (1996)
Rated:  R  Stars: ***1/2
Format:  DVD  106 min. 
Plot: An irresponsible, drug-addicted, recently impregnated woman finds herself in the middle of an abortion debate.
Cast: Laura Dern, Swoosie Kurtz, Burt Reynolds, Tippi Hedren. Directed by Alexander Payne.
Categories:  Drama  Ethics  Civil Rights

Law movies
Commitments, The (1991)
Rated:  R  Stars: ***1/2
Format:  DVD (2 disc set) 118 min. 
Plot: The travails of a working-class Irish band bringing soul music to the people of Dublin.
Cast: Robert Arkins, Michael Aherne, Angeline Ball, Maria Doyle Kennedy. Directed by Alan Parker.
Categories:  Entertainment  Civil Rights  Drama

Law movies
Crisis: Behind a Presidental Committment (1963)
Rated:  NR  Stars: ***
Format:  DVD  53 min. 
Plot: A 1963 civil rights crisis unfolds at an Alabama school.
Cast: Participants portray themselves. Directed by Robert Drew.
Categories:  Documentary  Civil Rights  History

Law movies
Debt, The (2011)
Rated:  R  Stars: ***1/2
Format:  DVD  113 min. 
Plot: This espionage thriller begins in 1997, as shocking news reaches retired Mossad secret agents.
Cast: Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington, Jessica Chastain, Jesper Christensen. Directed by John Madden.
Categories:  Drama  War  Civil Rights

Law movies
Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)
Rated:  R  Stars: ***1/2
Format:  DVD  102 min. 
Plot: An African-American private detective is hired to find a white woman who frequents the black Jazz clubs in 1948 L.A.
Cast: Denzel Washington, Jennifer Beals, Don Cheadle. Directed by Carl Franklin.
Categories:  Mystery/Suspense  Civil Rights  Law Enforcement

Law movies
First Amendment Project, The (2004)
Rated:  NR  Stars: ***
Format:  DVD  67 min. 
Plot: Explores First Amendment Rights through headline grabbing moments when our Constitution's integrity has been tested.
Cast: Participants portray themselves. Directed by Chris Hegedus and Nick Doob.
Categories:  Documentary  Civil Rights  Law Enforcement

Law movies
Front, The (1976)
Rated:  PG  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD  95 min. 
Plot: The front man for a group of black listed writers comes under scrutiny during the McCarthy era.
Cast: Woody Allen, Zero Mostel, Joshua Shelley, Andrea Marcovicci. Directed by Martin Ritt.
Categories:  Comedy  Civil Rights  Government

Law movies
Gandhi (1982)
Rated:  PG  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD  187 min. 
Plot: The biography of Mohandas K. Gandhi, who rose from a small-time lawyer to India's spiritual leader through his philosophy of non-violent protest. Won the Academy Award for Best Picture.
Cast: Ben Kingsley, Candice Bergen, Edward Fox, John Gielgud, Trevor Howard, John Mills, Martin Sheen. Directed by Richard Attenborough.
Categories:  Civil Rights  Drama  Government

Law movies
Hate U Give, The (2018)
Rated:  PG-13  Stars: ***1/2
Format:  DVD  133 min. 
Plot: A witnesses to a fatal shooting at the hands of a police officer faces pressure from all sides of the community.
Cast: Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby. Directed by George Tillman Jr..
Categories:  Drama  Civil Rights  Law Enforcement

Law movies
Heavens Fall (2006)
Rated:  PG-13  Stars: ***
Format:  DVD  105 min. 
Plot: Two young women accuse nine black youths of rape in the segregated South.
Cast: Anthony Mackie, Bill Sage, Azura Skye, Bill Smitrovich. Directed by Terry Green.
Categories:  Racism  Jurisprudence  Civil Rights

Law movies
Help, The (2011)
Rated:  PG-13  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD  146 min. 
Plot: An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960's decides to write a book detailing the African-American maid's point of view on the white families for which they work.
Cast: Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard, Octavia Spencer, Cicely Tyson, Sissy Spacek. Directed by Tate Taylor.
Categories:  Drama  Civil Rights  Domestic Relations

Law movies
Home of the Brave (2006)
Rated:  R  Stars: ***
Format:  DVD  106 min. 
Plot: Explores the tragic story of Viola Liuzzo, the only white woman killed during the civil rights movement.
Cast: Narration by Stockard Channing . Directed by Irwin Winkler.
Categories:  Documentary  Civil Rights  Women

Law movies
Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)
Rated:  PG-13  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD  111 min. 
Plot: A national manhunt is ordered for a rebellious kid and his foster uncle who go missing in the wild New Zealand bush.
Cast: Sam Neill, Julian Dennison, Rima Te Wiata. Directed by Taika Waititi.
Categories:  Drama  Civil Rights  Family

Law movies
I Am Not Your Negro (2016)
Rated:  PG-13  Stars: ***1/2
Format:  DVD  93 min. 
Plot: Writer James Baldwin tells the story of race in modern America with his unfinished novel, Remember This House.
Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, James Baldwin, Harry Belafonte. Directed by Raoul Peck.
Categories:  Documentary  Civil Rights  History

Law movies
King: A Filmed Record--From Montgomery to Memphis (1970)
Rated:  NR  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD (2 disc set) 185 min. 
Plot: Chronicles the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Cast: Readings by Joanne Woodward, James Earl Jones, and Paul Newman. Directed by Sidney Lumet and Joseph Mankie.
Categories:  Documentary  Biography  Civil Rights

Law movies
LA 92 (2017)
Rated:  R  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD  114 min. 
Plot: Examines the tumultuous period after the verdict in the Rodney King trial through rarely seen archival footage.
Cast: Participants portray themselves. Directed by Daniel Lindsay & T. J. Martin.
Categories:  Documentary  History  Civil Rights

Law movies
Last King of Scotland, The (2006)
Rated:  R  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD  123 min. 
Plot: The events of the brutal Ugandan dictator Idi Amin's regime as seen by his personal physician during the 1970s.
Cast: Forest Whitaker, James MacAvoy, Kerry Washington, Simon McBurney, Gillian Anderson. Directed by Kevin Macdonald.
Categories:  History  International  Civil Rights

Law movies
Long Walk Home, The (1991)
Rated:  PG  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD  98 min. 
Plot: Two women, black and white, in 1955 Montgomery Alabama, must decide what they are going to do in response to the famous bus boycott lead by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Cast: Sissy Spacek, Whoopi Goldberg, Dwight Schultz,. Directed by Richard Pearce.
Categories:  Civil Rights  Discrimination  Drama

Law movies
Loving Story, The (2011)
Rated:  NR  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD  77 min. B&W
Plot: The 1950s case of a white man and a black woman who were convicted by the state of Virginia for marrying across racial lines.
Cast: Participants portray themselves. Directed by Nancy Buirski.
Categories:  Documentary  Civil Rights  Marital Relations

Law movies
Mighty Times: The Children's March (2004)
Rated:  NR  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD  2004 min. 
Plot: On May 2, 1963, the children of Birmingham, Alabama took to the streets to challenge segregation.
Cast: Narration by Nick LaTour. Directed by Robert Houston.
Categories:  Documentary  Civil Rights  History

Law movies
Mississippi Burning (1988)
Rated:  R  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD  125 min. 
Plot: In 1964, two FBI agents with wildly different styles arrive in Mississippi to investigate the disappearance and murder of three civil rights activists.
Cast: Gene Hackman, Willem Dafoe, Frances McDormand, Brad Dourif, R. Lee Ermey. Directed by Alan Parker.
Categories:  Civil Rights  History  Drama

Law movies
Norte, El (1983)
Rated:  R  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD (2 disc set) 140 min. 
Plot: Mayan peasants organize in an effort to improve their lives. In Spanish, Maya, and English, with English subtitles.
Cast: Ernesto Gómez Cruz, David Villalpando, Zaide Silvia Gutiérrez, Alicia del Lago. Directed by Gregory Nava.
Categories:  Civil Rights  Foreign  Drama

Law movies
Return of the Secaucus 7 (1980)
Rated:  R  Stars: ***1/2
Format:  DVD  104 min. 
Plot: Seven former college friends gather for a weekend reunion to reminisce about the good old days.
Cast: Bruce MacDonald, Maggie Renzi, Adam LeFevre, Maggie Cousineau, Gordon Clapp, Jean Passanante, Karen Trott. Directed by John Sayles.
Categories:  Civil Rights  Government  Drama

Law movies
Road to Morocco (1942)
Rated:  NR  Stars: ***1/2
Format:  DVD  82 min. 
Plot: The lone survivors of a ship wreck find themselves in the company of a Princess, who purchases a survivor and plans to make him her husband.
Cast: Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Dorothy Lamour, Anthony Quinn, Dona Drake. Directed by David Butler.
Categories:  Comedy  Civil Rights  Domestic Relations

Law movies
Selma (2014)
Rated:  PG-13  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD  128 min. 
Plot: A chronicle of Martin Luther King's campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965.
Cast: David Oyelowo, Tom Wilkinson, Carmen Ejogo, Giovanni Ribisi, Alessandro Nivola, Cuba Gooding, Jr.. Directed by Ava DuVernay.
Categories:  Drama  Civil Rights  History

Law movies
Separate But Equal (1991)
Rated:  PG  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD  186 min. 
Plot: Dramatization of the American court case that destroyed the legal validity of racial segregation.
Cast: Sidney Poitier, Burt Lancaster, Richard Kiley. Directed by George Stevens Jr..
Categories:  Supreme Court  History  Civil Rights

Law movies
Spies of Mississippi (2014)
Rated:  NR  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD  53 min. 
Plot: Story of a secret spy agency formed by the state of Mississippi to preserve segregation.
Cast: Bob Moses, Governor William Winter, Lawrence Guyot, Jerry Mitchell. Directed by Dawn Porter.
Categories:  Documentary  History  Civil Rights

Law movies
Straight Time (1978)
Rated:  R  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD  114 min. 
Plot: A longtime criminal parolee suffers indignity and harassment from a sadistic parole officer who undermines his determination to go straight.
Cast: Dustin Hoffman, Harry Dean Stanton, Gary Busey, Theresa Russell, M. Emmet Walsh. Directed by Ulu Grosbard.
Categories:  Civil Rights  Drama  Law Enforcement

Law movies
Strange Fruit (2002)
Rated:  NR  Stars: ***1/2
Format:  DVD  57 min. 
Plot: Fashions a fascinating discovery of the lost story behind a true American classic poem entitled "Strange Fruit".
Cast: Narratorated by Dorothy Thigpen . Directed by Joel Katz.
Categories:  Documentary  History  Civil Rights

Law movies
Time to Kill (1996)
Rated:  R  Stars: ***1/2
Format:  DVD  150 min. 
Plot: A young lawyer defends a black man accused of murdering two men who raped his 10-year-old daughter, sparking a rebirth of the KKK.
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson, Matthew McConaughey. Directed by Joe Schumacher.
Categories:  Civil Rights  Discrimination  Drama

Law movies
Trudell (2005)
Rated:  NR  Stars: ***
Format:  DVD  80 min. 
Plot: Chronicle of legendary Native American poet/activist John Trudell's travels, spoken word performances and politics.
Cast: John Trudell, robert Redford, Jockson Browne, Kris Kristofferson, Amy Ray, Bonnie Raitt, Val Kilmer, Sam Shepard. Directed by Heather Rae.
Categories:  Documentary  Civil Rights  Government

Law movies
True Believer (1989)
Rated:  R  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD  104 min. 
Plot: A former civil rights lawyer renews his commitment when he and an idealistic assistant defend a Korean inmate who was framed for a Chinatown murder eight years earlier.
Cast: James Woods, Robert Downey, Jr., Margaret Colin, Kurtwood Smith. Directed by Joseph Ruben.
Categories:  Civil Rights  Drama  Criminal Law

Law movies
Tuskegee Airmen, The (1995)
Rated:  PG-13  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD  106 min. 
Plot: A group of African American pilots overcome racist opposition to become one of the finest US fighter groups in World War II.
Cast: Laurence Fishburne, Allen Payne, Malcolm Jamal Warner, Chris McDonald. Directed by Robert Markowitz.
Categories:  Discrimination  War  Civil Rights

Law movies
Welcome to Leith (2015)
Rated:  NR  Stars: ***1/2
Format:  DVD  85 min. 
Plot: A feature documentary chronicling the attempted takeover of a small town in North Dakota by notorious white supremacist Craig Cobb.
Cast: Participants portray themselves. Directed by Micheal Beach Nicoles and Christopher K. Walker.
Categories:  Documentary  Civil Rights  History

Law movies
With All Deliberate Speed (2004)
Rated:  NR  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD  110 min. 
Plot: Explores the history and legacy of the Brown vs. Board of Education concept of "separate but equal" school segregation was unconstitutional.
Cast: Narrated by Jeffrey Wright. Directed by Peter Gilbert.
Categories:  Documentary  Civil Rights  History

The Wolf Law Library welcomes your suggestions for additions to the Feature Film Collection! If there is a law-related movie you feel we might be missing, please submit your suggestion to the Circulation & Reserve Desk at lawcir@wm.edu.

You can view a list of all law library movies in the online catalog.