William & Mary

Law Library Movies: Racism



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Law movies
12 Years a Slave (2013)
Rated:  R  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD  134 min. 
Plot: Solomon Northup, a free black man, is abducted and sold into slavery in the antebellum South.
Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Brad Pitt. Directed by Steve McQueen.
Categories:  Racism  History

Law movies
American History X (1999)
Rated:  R  Stars: ****1/2
Format:  DVD  119 min. 
Plot: After being released from prison, a former white supremacist tries to prevent his younger brother from making the same mistakes.
Cast: Edward Norton, Edward Furlong, Beverly D'Angelo, Jennifer Lien, Ethan Suplee, Fairuza Balk. Directed by Tony Kaye.
Categories:  Discrimination  Racism

Law movies
American Violet (2008)
Rated:  PG-13  Stars: ***
Format:  DVD  103 min. 
Plot: A single African-American mother struggles to clear her name after being wrongly accused and arrested for dealing drugs in an impoverished town in Texas.
Cast: Nicole Beharie, Tim Blake, Nelson Patton, Michael O'Keefe, Xzibit. Directed by Tim Disney.
Categories:  Gender  Racism  Criminal Law

Law movies
Amistad (1997)
Rated:  R  Stars: ***1/2
Format:  DVD  152 min. 
Plot: Fact-based story of the 1839 revolt by Africans on the slaveship Amistad and their subsequent trial when they are brought onto American soil.
Cast: Morgan Freeman, Nigel Hawthorne, Anthony Hopkins, Djimon Hounsou, Matthew McDonaughey, David Paymer. Directed by Steven Spielberg.
Categories:  Drama  History  Racism

Law movies
Blazing Saddles (1974)
Rated:  R  Stars: *****
Format:  DVD  93 min. 
Plot: An African-American is appointed sheriff of a bigoted, one-horse town embroiled in a land dispute with the railroad.
Cast: Gene Wilder, Cleavon Little, David Huddelson, Mel Brooks. Directed by Mel Brooks.
Categories:  Comedy  Western  Racism

Law movies
Central Park Five, The (2012)
Rated:  NR  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD  119 min. 
Plot: Chronicles America's complicated perceptions of race and crime through a group of minority teenagers wrongfully convicted and jailed for brutally raping a white woman.
Cast: Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, Kharey Wise, Yusef Salaam, Angela Black, Calvin O. Butts III. Directed by Ken Burns.
Categories:  Documentary  Justice  Racism

Law movies
Chamber, The (1996)
Rated:  R  Stars: ***
Format:  DVD  113 min. 
Plot: A young lawyer feels impelled to defend his grandfather, a Mississippi death row inmate, convicted years ago of a racially-motivated bombing.
Cast: Chris O'Donnell, Gene Hackman, Faye Dunaway, Robert Prosky, Raymond J. Barry, Bo Jackson. Directed by James Foley.
Categories:  Advocacy  Criminal Law  Racism

Law movies
Color Purple, The (1985)
Rated:  PG-13  Stars: ****1/2
Format:  DVD (2 disc set) 154 min. 
Plot: Thirty years in the life of a black woman growing up in in the early 1900s.
Cast: Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg, Margaret Avery, Oprah Winfrey, Willard Pugh, Akosua Busia. Directed by Stephen Spielberg.
Categories:  Drama  Racism  Musical

Law movies
Crash (2004)
Rated:  R  Stars: ****1/2
Format:  DVD  122 min. 
Plot: The volatile intersection of a multiethnic cast as they careen in and out of each other's lives.
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Jennifer Eposito, William Fichtner, Brendan Fraser, Terrence Howard, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Thandie Newton, Ryan Phillippe, Larenz Tate. Directed by Paul Haggis.
Categories:  Discrimination  Racism  Law Enforcement

Law movies
Crisis at Central High (1980)
Rated:  NR  Stars: ***
Format:  VHS  120 min. 
Plot: In 1957, a landmark decision by the Supreme Court mandates the integration of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Violent demonstrations and riots follow as tensions on both sides grow.
Cast: Joanne Woodward, Charles Durning, Henderson Forsythe, Calins Levels. Directed by Lamont Johnson.
Categories:  Racism  History  Juvenile

Law movies
Cry Freedom (1987)
Rated:  PG  Stars: ****1/2
Format:  DVD  157 min. 
Plot: A White South African journalist must escape the country after attempting to investigate the death in custody of his friend, a black activist.
Cast: Denzel Washington, Kevin Kline, Penelope Wilton. Directed by Richard Attenborough.
Categories:  Racism  Government  History

Law movies
Cry the Beloved Country (1951)
Rated:  NR  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD  100 min. B&W
Plot: In apartheid South Africa, two fathers, one black and one white, are drawn together through one father's search for his lost son.
Cast: Sidney Poitier, Canada Lee, Charles Carson. Directed by Zolton Korda.
Categories:  Racism  Government  Family

Law movies
Cry the Beloved Country (1995)
Rated:  PG-13  Stars: ***1/2
Format:  DVD  106 min. 
Plot: A South-African preacher goes to search for his wayward son who has committed a crime in the big city.
Cast: James Earl Jones, Richard Harris. Directed by Darrell James Roodt.
Categories:  Drama  Conflict  Racism

Law movies
Dark Girls (2011)
Rated:  NR  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD  71 min. 
Plot: Explores the deep-seated biases and attitudes about skin color---particularly dark skinned women, outside of and within the Black American culture.
Cast: . Directed by D. Channsin & Bill Duke.
Categories:  Documentary  Racism  Women

Law movies
Defiant Ones, The (1958)
Rated:  NR  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD  96 min. B&W
Plot: Two men that hate each other escape from a Southern work gang to discover they are bound together by an unbreakable iron chain.
Cast: Tony Curtis, Sidney Poitier, Theodore Bikel, Charles McGraw, Lon Chaney Jr., King Donovan. Directed by Stanley Kramer.
Categories:  Drama  Law Enforcement  Racism

Law movies
Disgrace (2008)
Rated:  R  Stars: ***
Format:  DVD  118 min. 
Plot: A professor gets caught up in post-apartheid politics.
Cast: John Malkovich, Natalie Becker, Antoinette Engel, Antonio Fisher. Directed by Steve Jacobs.
Categories:  Drama  Politics  Racism

Law movies
Do the Right Thing (1989)
Rated:  R  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD  120 min. 
Plot: On the hottest day of the year on a street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, everyone's hate and bigotry smolders and builds until it explodes into violence.
Cast: Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Richard Edson, Giancario Esposito, Spike Lee, Samuel L. Jackson. Directed by Spike Lee.
Categories:  Racism  Drama

Law movies
Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
Rated:  PG  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD  99 min. 
Plot: An elderly Jewish widow living in Atlanta is extremely independent, butcan no longer drive so her son insists on hiring a driver.
Cast: Morgan Freeman, Jessica Tandy, Dan Akroyd. Directed by Bruce Beresford.
Categories:  Drama  Women  Racism

Law movies
Dry White Season, A (1989)
Rated:  R  Stars: ***1/2
Format:  DVD  107 min. 
Plot: A schoolteacher who always has considered himself a man of justice finds his morals put to the test when his gardeners son is brutally beaten up by the police.
Cast: Donald Sutherland, Janet Suzman, Jurgen Prochnow, Zakes Mokae, Susan Sarandon, Marlon Brando. Directed by Euzhan Palcy.
Categories:  Racism  Law Enforcement  International

Law movies
Far From Heaven (2002)
Rated:  PG-13  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD  107 min. 
Plot: In 1950s Connecticut, a housewife faces a marital crisis and mounting racial tensions in the outside world.
Cast: Julianne Moore, Dennis Quaid, Dennis Haysbert, Patricia Clarkson. Directed by Todd Haynes.
Categories:  Drama  Marital Relations  Racism

Law movies
Gathering of Old Men, A (1987)
Rated:  NR  Stars: ***1/2
Format:  DVD  94 min. 
Plot: A young plantation owner comes to the defense of a group of black men who are taking responsibility for the shooting of a local white farmer.
Cast: Louis Gossett Jr., Richard Widmark, Holly Hunter. Directed by Volker Schlondorff.
Categories:  Racism  Drama

Law movies
Gentleman's Agreement (1947)
Rated:  PG  Stars: *** 1/2
Format:  DVD  118 min. B&W
Plot: A reporter pretends to be Jewish in order to cover a story on anti-Semitism, and personally discovers the true depths of bigotry and hatred. Won the Academy Award for Best Picture.
Cast: Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire, John Garfield. Directed by Elia Kazan.
Categories:  Discrimination  Racism  Religion

Law movies
Glory Road (2006)
Rated:  PG  Stars: ***1/2
Format:  DVD  118 min. 
Plot: In 1966, Texas Western coach Don Haskins led the first all-black starting line-up for a college basketball team to the NCAA national championship.
Cast: Josh Lucas, Derek Luke, Jon Voight. Directed by James Gartner.
Categories:  Sports  Education  Racism

Law movies
Great White Hope, The (1970)
Rated:  PG-13  Stars: ***
Format:  DVD  101 min. 
Plot: By becoming the first black heavyweight champion of the world, Jack Johnson must deal with the racism and hatred of white America.
Cast: James Earl Jones, Jane Alexander, Lou Gilbert, Hal Holbrook. Directed by Martin Ritt.
Categories:  Racism  Discrimination  Drama

Law movies
Hate Crimes in the Heartland (2015)
Rated:  NR  Stars: ***1/2
Format:  DVD  60 min. 
Plot: Explores the 250,000 hate crimes committed in America each year.
Cast: Participants portray themselves. Directed by Rachel Lyon.
Categories:  Documentary  History  Racism

Law movies
Hate, The (1996)
Rated:  NR  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD (2 disc set) 96 min. B&W
Plot: Follows three young men in a French ghetto over a span of 24 hours. In French with English subtitles.
Cast: Vincent Cassel, Hubert Kounde, Said Taghmaoui, Abdel Ahmed Ghili. Directed by Mathieu Kassovitz.
Categories:  Foreign  Drama  Racism

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
Human Stain, The (2003)
Rated:  R  Stars: ***
Format:  DVD  106 min. 
Plot: A classics professor with a terrible secret that is about to shatter his life in a small New England town.
Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Nicole Kidman, Gary Sinise, Ed Harris. Directed by Robert Benton.
Categories:  Drama  Romance  Racism

Law movies
Hurricane, The (1937)
Rated:  G  Stars: ***1/2
Format:  DVD  110 min. 
Plot: An unjustly imprisoned Polynesian sailor is relentlessly persecuted by his island's martinet French governor.
Cast: Dorothy Lamour, John Hall, Mary Astor, Thomas Mitchell, Raymond Massey. Directed by John Ford.
Categories:  Action  Racism  Drama

Law movies
In Darkness (2011)
Rated:  R  Stars: ***1/2
Format:  DVD  145 min. 
Plot: A sewer worker and petty thief in Nazi occupied Poland hides Jews in the town's sewers, which leads his conscience to an alliance with the Jews.
Cast: Herbert Knaup, Benno Furmann, Agnieszka Grochowska, Robert Wieckiewicz, Maria Schrader. Directed by Agnieszka Holland.
Categories:  Drama  War  Racism

Law movies
In the Heat of the Night (1967)
Rated:  NR  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD  109 min. 
Plot: Racial tension ensues when a rural southern sheriff and a black northern detective reluctantly join forces to solve the murder of a wealthy industrialist in Sparta, Mississippi.
Cast: Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger, Warren Oates, Lee Grant. Directed by Norman Jewison.
Categories:  Racism  Law Enforcement  Mystery/Suspense

Law movies
Intruder in the Dust (1949)
Rated:  G  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD  87 min. 
Plot: In 1940s Mississippi two teenage boys and an elderly woman combine forces to prevent a miscarriage of justice and clear a black man of a murder charge.
Cast: David Brian, Claude Jarman, Jr., Juano Hernandez, Porter Hall. Directed by Clarence Brown.
Categories:  Drama  Racism  Criminal Law

Law movies
Judge Priest (1934)
Rated:  NR  Stars: ***1/2
Format:  DVD  84 min. B&W
Plot: A laid-back, widowed judge upholds the law in his toughest court case yet. In the meantime, he plays matchmaker for his young nephew.
Cast: Will Rogers, Hattie McDaniel. Directed by John Ford.
Categories:  Comedy  Racism  Comedy

Law movies
Lakeview Terrace (2008)
Rated:  PG-13  Stars: ***1/2
Format:  DVD  110 min. 
Plot: An LAPD officer will stop at nothing to force out the interracial couple who just moved in next door.
Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Patrick Wilson, Kerry Washington, Jay Hernandez. Directed by Neil Labute.
Categories:  Drama  Racism  Law Enforcement

Law movies
Lesson Before Dying (1999)
Rated:  PG-13  Stars: *****
Format:  DVD  101 min. 
Plot: In the 1940's South, an African-American is wrongly accused of the killing a a white store owner.
Cast: Don Cheadle, Cicely Tyson, Mekhi Phifer, Irma P. Hall. Directed by Joseph Sargent.
Categories:  Racism  Advocacy  Death Penalty

Law movies
Liberty Heights (1999)
Rated:  R  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD  127 min. 
Plot: A 1950's coming of age plot set in Baltimore, Maryland.
Cast: Adrien Brody, Ben Foster, Orlando Jones, Bebe Neuwirth, Joe Mantegna. Directed by Barry Levinson.
Categories:  Drama  Children  Racism

Law movies
Live and Become (2005)
Rated:  NR  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD  140 min. 
Plot: An Ethiopian boy is airlifted out of a Sudenese refugee camp to Israel with two secrets that haunt him: he is neither an orphan nor Jewish. In French, Hebrew, and Amharic with English subtitles.
Cast: Yael Abecassis, Roschdy Zem, Moshe Agazai. Directed by Radu Mihaileanu.
Categories:  International  Religion  Racism

Law movies
Loving (2016)
Rated:  PG-13  Stars: ***1/2
Format:  DVD  123 min. 
Plot: Story of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple, whose challenge of their anti-miscegenation arrest for their marriage in Virginia led to a legal battle that would end at the US Supreme Court.
Cast: Ruth Negga, Joel Edgerton, Will Dalton. Directed by Jeff Nichols.
Categories:  Biography  Drama  Racism

Law movies
Matewan (1987)
Rated:  PG-13  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD  142 min. 
Plot: Coal miners, struggling to form a union, are determined to bring the local, Black, and Italian groups together.
Cast: Chris Cooper, James Earl Jones, Mary McDonnell, Will Oldham. Directed by John Sayles.
Categories:  Employment  Discrimination  Racism

Law movies
Men of Honor (2000)
Rated:  R  Stars: ***1/2
Format:  DVD  129 min. 
Plot: The son of a sharecropper becomes the first African-American U.S. Navy diver after surviving the instruction of his embittered trainer.
Cast: Robert De Niro, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Charlize Theron. Directed by George Tillman, Jr.
Categories:  Military  Racism  Drama

Law movies
Monster's Ball (2001)
Rated:  R  Stars: *****
Format:  DVD  111 min. 
Plot: A racist prison guard falls in love with the African-American wife of an executed prisoner.
Cast: Billy Bob Thornton, Halle Berry, Taylor Simpson, Peter Boyle. Directed by Marc Forster.
Categories:  Death Penalty  Racism  Drama

Law movies
No Crossover (2010)
Rated:  PG-13  Stars: ***1/2
Format:  DVD  80 min. 
Plot: A return to Hampton to take a look at the still-disputed Allen Iverson incident and its impact on Iverson and the community as a whole.
Cast: Features multiple Hampton natives and camcorder footage. Directed by Steve James.
Categories:  Documentary  Trial  Racism

Law movies
Paris Trout (1991)
Rated:  R  Stars: **1/2
Format:  DVD  98 min. 
Plot: When a racist kills two women, his attorney becomes caught between his client, his wife, and the law.
Cast: Dennis Hopper, Barbara Hershey, Ed Harris. Directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal.
Categories:  Television  Racism  Women

Law movies
Paris, I Love You (2007)
Rated:  R  Stars: ***1/2
Format:  DVD  120 min. 
Plot: The world's top directors and some of America's top stars create a panoramic portrait of Paris. In French with English subtitles.
Cast: Fanny Ardant, Leila Bekhti, Melchior Beslon, Juliette Binoche. Directed by Oliver Assayas.
Categories:  Foreign  Drama  Racism

Law movies
Pow Wow Highway (1989)
Rated:  R  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD  88 min. 
Plot: Social realism regarding the struggles of reservation dwelling for Native Americans.
Cast: A. Martinez, Gary Farmer, Amanda Wyss, Joannelle Nadine Romero. Directed by Jonathan Wacks.
Categories:  Drama  Racism  Politics

Law movies
Prom Night in Mississippi (2009)
Rated:  PG-13  Stars: **
Format:  DVD  88 min. 
Plot: A high school in a small Mississippi town prepares for its first integrated senior prom.
Cast: Morgan Freeman and Charleston High School Seniors. Directed by Nelson McCormick.
Categories:  Documentary  Racism  Children

Law movies
Prophet, A (2010)
Rated:  R  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD  155 min. 
Plot: A young Arab man is sent to a French prison where he becomes a mafia kingpin.
Cast: Tahar Rahim, Niels Arestrup, Adel Bencherif, Hichem Yacoubi. Directed by Jacquest Audiard.
Categories:  Foreign  Organized Crime  Racism

Law movies
QB VII (1974)
Rated:  NR  Stars: ***1/2
Format:  DVD (2 disc set) 5 hours, 20 min. 
Plot: Twenty years after a man escaped from a Nazi death camp, a book is published that names him as a willing participant to Nazi medical experiments on Jews in the camps. He sues the novelist for defamation.
Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Ben Gazzara, Leslie Caron, Lee Remick, Anthony Quayle, Jack Hawkins, Juliet Mills, John Gielgud, Edith Evans, Anthony Andrews. Directed by Tom Gries.
Categories:  War  Racism  Torts

Law movies
Queen (1993)
Rated:  NR  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD (2 disc set) 283 min. 
Plot: Queen is the daughter of a slave and a plantation owner, during the turbulent decades of the antebellum South, the Civil War, and Reconstruction.
Cast: Ann-Margaret, Patricia Clarkson, Tim Daly, Danny Glover, Raven-Simone, Martin Sheen, Halle Berry, Ossie Davis. Directed by John Erman.
Categories:  Racism  Discrimination  Family

Law movies
Ragtime (1981)
Rated:  PG  Stars: ***1/2
Format:  DVD  155 min. 
Plot: A young black pianist becomes embroiled in the lives of an upper-class white family set among nostalgic events in early 1900s New York City.
Cast: James Cagney, Elizabeth McGovern, Howard Rolling Jr.. Directed by Milos Forman.
Categories:  Drama  Racism  History

Law movies
Remains of the Day (1993)
Rated:  PG  Stars: ****1/2
Format:  DVD  134 min. 
Plot: An idealistic English butler sacrifices body and soul to serving his lord and master.
Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, James Fox, Christopher Reeve. Directed by James Ivory.
Categories:  Romance  Racism  Drama

Law movies
Rosewood (1997)
Rated:  R  Stars: ***1/2
Format:  DVD  140 min. 
Plot: When a woman falsely claims she was sexually assaulted, a racist lynch mob attack the innocent African-American community of Rosewood.
Cast: John Voight, Ving Rhames, Don Cheadle, Bruce McGill, Loren Dean, Esther Rolle, Elise Neal. Directed by John Singleton.
Categories:  Racism  Drama  History

Law movies
Salt of the Earth (1954)
Rated:  NR  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD  94 min. 
Plot: Based on an actual strike against the Empire Zinc Mine in New Mexico.
Cast: Rosaura Revueltas, Juan Chac√≥n, Will Geer, David Wolfe. Directed by Herbert Biberman.
Categories:  Drama  History  Racism

Law movies
Shoah (1985)
Rated:  NR  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD (4 disc set) 8 hours, 23 min. 
Plot: Documents the Holocaust without archival footage, interviewing survivors, witnesses, and ex-Nazis.
Cast: Simon Srebnik, Michael Podchlebnik, Motke Zaidl, Hanna Zaidl, Jan Piwonski, Itzhak Dugin. Directed by Claude Lanzmann.
Categories:  Documentary  War  Racism

Law movies
Something the Lord Made (2004)
Rated:  NR  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD  110 min. 
Plot: Two men defied the rules in 1940s Baltimore and started a medical revolution that saved the lives of thousands of infants.
Cast: Alan Rickman, Mos Def, Kyra Sedgewick, Gabrielle Union, Charles Dutton, Mary Staurt Masterson. Directed by Joseph Sargent.
Categories:  Medical  Racism  Discrimination

Law movies
To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)
Rated:  NR  Stars: *****
Format:  Blu-ray/DVD  129 min. B&W
Plot: Adaptation of Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, a six-year-old's perspective of how her father defends a young black man against a false rape charge in their small Southern town.
Cast: Gregory Peck, Mary Badham, Philip Alford, John Megna, Brock Peters, Collin Wilcox, Robert Duvall. Directed by Robert Mulligan.
Categories:  Racism  Discrimination  Drama

Law movies
Touch of Evil (1958)
Rated:  NR  Stars: *****
Format:  DVD  111 min. B&W
Plot: A Mexican government investigator and his young American wife put their honeymoon on hold in an American border town when they become embroiled in a frame-up planned by the town's chief investigator.
Cast: Orson Welles, Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh. Directed by Orson Welles.
Categories:  Drama  Racism  Criminal Law

Law movies
Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (2010)
Rated:  R  Stars: ****
Format:  DVD  89 min. 
Plot: Two friends on vacation at their dilapidated mountain house are mistaken for murderous backwoods hillbillies.
Cast: Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk, Jesse Moss, Katrina Bowden. Directed by Eli Craig.
Categories:  Comedy  Racism

Law movies
Zoot Suit (1981)
Rated:  R  Stars: ***
Format:  DVD  104 min. 
Plot: Two activist lawyers seek to free a group of Mexican-Americans convicted of murder on circumstantial evidence.
Cast: Edward James Olmos, Charles Aidman, John Anderson, Tyne Daly, Daniel Valdez. Directed by Luis Valdez.
Categories:  Musical  Racism  Discrimination

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.