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Need suggestions for movies dealing with racism or racial issues [Archive] - DVD Talk Forum
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View Full Version : Need suggestions for movies dealing with racism or racial issues

05-04-04, 04:45 PM
I'm doing a research paper for my American Studies class on the depiction of racism in American films, and how it has changed over the years. I'm looking for movies about racism, movies that deal with race issues, as well as movies that changed racial standards for movie making. For that last thing, I'm thinking of stuff like Night of the Living Dead (one of the first movies to have a black male in a strong leading role).

Some obvious choices are American History X - as a way to showcase the modern anti-racism film, and Birth of a Nation - a film that is racist. (Can anyone think of any other movies that actually are racist?) I'd also consider one of Spike Lee's movies, but I haven't seen many of them. Would Do the Right Thing be my best bet?

I hope that gives an idea of what I'm looking for. Any suggestions are appreciated.

05-04-04, 04:52 PM
Bamboozled would be a good one. Umm it shows reverse racism that is to say Black hating whites through their depiction of the white charachters int hte movie. But it is also about the whole "blackface" shit from back in the day.

05-04-04, 04:56 PM
The Power Of One - Deals with the birth of Apartheid in South Africa.

Higher Learning - Heavy into racial issues (amongst other things), including in education and how racial hatred can develop (emphasis on "can")

To Kill A Mockingbird - Some good coverage of race issues, especially considering how old it is.

Malcolm X - I probably don't need to expound on this.

I'll let you know if I can think of any more.

BTW . . . interesting topic for a paper. :up: x 2

Mondo Kane
05-04-04, 04:57 PM
If you can look past James Whitmore's laughable disguise as a black man, Black like me is pretty good account of race relations in the 60's.

05-04-04, 04:58 PM
You could try a couple Sidney Poitier films like:

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
In The Heat of the Night

Dimension X
05-04-04, 05:00 PM
The Intruder (1962) (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0055019/)

Imitation of Life (1934) (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0025301/)

05-04-04, 05:01 PM
The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman

05-04-04, 05:01 PM
Soul Man perhaps. Really black people are usually delegatted to either one of three roles (1) funny sidekick (2) spirtual advisor to white person (3) bad guy, pimp, drug dealer, etc.

With the exception of a few actors like Denzel or Morgan Freeman thats about it. I feel bad for the Afro Americans because of their depictions sometimes.

Dimension X
05-04-04, 05:14 PM
The Thing with Two Heads (1972) (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0069372/)

05-04-04, 05:16 PM
Romper Stomper

05-04-04, 05:17 PM
Fight For Your Life

You should show it to your whole class:D

05-04-04, 05:19 PM
School Daze - a look into racism within a race (dark skinned black vs. light skinned blacks)

Troy Stiffler
05-04-04, 05:21 PM
Burning Mississippi was a good one. How about In the Heat of the Night?

05-04-04, 05:31 PM
Originally posted by troystiffler
Mississippi Burning was a good one.

fixed :)

I need to pick that one up, thanks for the reminder.

White Man's Burden (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0783115008/ref=ase_imdb-adbox/104-7348234-4350368?v=glance&s=dvd) (1995)


05-04-04, 05:33 PM

05-04-04, 05:34 PM
Originally posted by Sessa17
Fight For Your Life

You should show it to your whole class:D

Actually that reminds me of something I forgot to mention. I will be doing a presentation, and I'll probably show clips from 4 or 5 different movies. I'll try to choose 5 that demonstrate the contrast between the different depictions of racism. For instance, I'll probably start with clips of Birth of a Nation and end with American History X. That should show how drastically our feelings towards racism have changed.

Charlie Goose
05-04-04, 05:36 PM
In the Heat of the Night


Dimension X
05-04-04, 05:38 PM
The Defiant Ones (1958) (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0051525/)

Two Rode Together (1961) (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0055558/)

The Searchers (1956) (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0049730/)

Broken Arrow (1950) (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0042286/)

05-04-04, 06:33 PM
...Gentlemen's Agreement (http://www.dvdfuture.com/review.php?id=415)... Billy Jack (http://www.lightviews.com/billyjack.htm)... Fresa y Chocolate (http://www.boxoffice.com/scripts/fiw.dll?GetDVDReview?&where=ID&terms=4997)...

. . . :o . . .

05-04-04, 06:36 PM
I'm currently working on my summer and fall syllabi so I've been thinking about his exact issue.

Do The Right Thing would be a good choice. I have some problems with the film but it's not going to stop me from showing it to my class in the fall.

No one has suggested The Siege yet but that's a good one for a contemporary example. If you want to go a bit historical then A Soldier's Story is a wonderfully underrated film.

If you can get your hands on some HBO films, you might try The Tuskegee Airmen, Boycott or Soul of the Game

If you aren't completely wedded to film, the series premiere of the TV show Alien Nation is a great metaphor.

05-04-04, 06:42 PM
Pinky is an excellent movie about race.

05-04-04, 09:13 PM
Snow Falling on Cedars

05-04-04, 09:21 PM
Originally posted by cruzness
School Daze - a look into racism within a race (dark skinned black vs. light skinned blacks)

<b>Mississippi Marsala</b> deals with racism between 2 minority groups. Mainly blacks and Indians from India. Or in this case Africa.

<b>Jungle Fever</b> Interracial dating. Spike Lee made this film because he can't get over the fact that his own Father in real life married a white woman. Little racist prick.

<b>The Planet of the Apes</b> series was dealing with class which I geuss crosses over into race at time. Especailly the last to last movie they made where the apes revolted.

<b>Alien Nation</b>

Norm de Plume
05-04-04, 11:42 PM
Mississippi Burning (1988)
White Dog (1982)
Dutchman (1966)
The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978)
The Intruder (1962)

05-04-04, 11:44 PM
Shaft kinda deals with it.

05-05-04, 12:39 AM
The Great White Hope...James Earl Jones

05-05-04, 08:54 AM
Remember the Titans

05-05-04, 09:00 AM
Goodbye Uncle Tom


05-05-04, 12:10 PM
Porkys II

Sammy Jo
05-05-04, 12:28 PM
White Men Can't Jump?

05-05-04, 12:50 PM
Originally posted by devilshalo
Rosewood I was reading through the thread and was wondering if I would be the first to mention this one. Very good and under-rated film, imo.

05-05-04, 09:01 PM
some good suggestions...especially To Kill a Mockingbird.

I'd also suggest you try and track down a copy of Salt of the Earth - a landmark and deals with hispanic laborers in the southwest during labor strikes....

05-05-04, 09:02 PM
Romper Stomper - Early Russel Crow flick.

Mondo Kane
05-05-04, 11:28 PM
Originally posted by Giles
Goodbye Uncle Tom


Director's Cut or U.S. version? I love the music in this movie BTW.

05-06-04, 08:47 AM
Giant and Blazing Saddles are two that haven't been mentioned.

05-06-04, 03:26 PM
Originally posted by Mondo Kane
Director's Cut or U.S. version? I love the music in this movie BTW.

drat! ya caught me... I have seen the trailer (which is sickeningly racist) but the disc is sitting in my "To Watch" pile, you gave me the insentive to watch it now, along with Africa: Blood and Guts (aka "Africa Addio").

05-07-04, 03:21 AM
Raisin in the Sun....Powerful and moving...Sydney Poitier...You can't go wrong.

Gone With the Wind

The Killing Fields

Michael Corvin
05-07-04, 09:07 AM
Originally posted by talemyn

[b]Higher Learning - Heavy into racial issues (amongst other things), including in education and how racial hatred can develop (emphasis on "can")

I used to like this movie. But the more I see it (haven't recently though) the more I have to laugh. The way this film comes across is that the white man is the be all end all devil walking the earth.

I have to add, Pleasantville. A very unique take on racism in the 50's. Lots of parallels. Very well made.

05-07-04, 09:43 AM




05-07-04, 04:04 PM
The Glass Shield (1994)- Charles Burnett

05-07-04, 04:21 PM
Asian racism/stereotype issues:

Joy Luck Club
Double Happiness
Year of the Dragon
The Wedding Banquet
Come See the Paradise

05-10-04, 08:44 PM
A couple that haven't been mentioned yet:

A Time To Kill
Strange Days

G. Noel Gross
05-10-04, 10:04 PM
I think Sayles deals with race very poigniantly in Lone Star (http://imdb.com/title/tt0116905/).

05-11-04, 12:17 PM
I'll second

Lone Star
In the Heat of the Night
The Believer

I really like each of those films.

Do the Right Thing
Gentleman's Agreement
The Killing Fields

are also great.

05-11-04, 01:43 PM
White Dog


05-11-04, 01:59 PM
Nothing but a Man (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058414/) is very good. It doesn't appear to be out on DVD but seems to be in print on VHS. Very good understated performance by Ivan Dixon. The treatment of society and race are handled with a great deal of subtelty, much more so than Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, for example.

05-11-04, 04:07 PM
Any Sidney Poitier movie. And be SURE to check out Rosewood. A Time to Kill is also good.

And I agree with the person above--A Patch of Blue is great.

05-11-04, 04:10 PM
Far From Heaven