It doesn’t appear that movies about racism exist as much as they used to. In fact many movies today have more of a “racial undertone” type of approach. And sometimes it doesn’t even take the form of race against race. It can be species versus other species. Take Avatar for example. Many people argue that Avatar has some racism in it (which I totally agree with).
And overall,while the topic of racism is still somewhat popular in movies and television that doesn’t mean it’s always successful. My point being, some movies put in racism just to get an effect. Whereas others base their entire movies around racism.
The following are ten movies where racism is a central theme and I think the movies used it quite well.
A Time To Kill
Talk about an appropriate title huh? If there’s ever a time to kill it’s certainly when your daughter is raped and murdered. Black or white it sure as hell wouldn’t make a difference to me. If someone were to do that to my daughter I wouldn’t hesitate, not even for a second. P.S. Whatever happened to Matthew Mcconaughey? He was amazing in this movie. Now it’s like show off your abs in stupid chick flicks. This movie was extremely powerful and very “real” if you know what I mean. Sadly, this kind of racism still takes place in some parts of the South.
To Kill a Mockingbird
You have to appreciate the tackle on racism here. It was extremely ballsy to go after both the subjects of rape and racism in 1962. And Gregory Peck couldn’t have done a better job as Atticus Finch. It’s certainly a must see.
Two FBI agents investigating the murder of civil rights workers during the 60s seek to breach the conspiracy of silence in a small Southern town where segregation divides black and white. Hackman and Defoe do an excellent job here and when a movie has scenes that are tough to watch, you know it’s good.
Do the Right Thing
It doesn’t get any more “racist” than Do the Right Thing. Spike Lee pulls out zero stops when it comes to stereotyping. He goes after the Italians, Blacks, Asians, and just about anyone in this movie. He also does it in a comedic way. I absolutely love the montage where each race makes fun of the other, especially the Asian guy when he says “Mayor Koch, how I am doing!”
American History X
Perhaps Edward Norton’s best role is in this movie. His character Daniel Vinyard realizes how ignorant and dumb he’s been as a young White Supremacist leader in Los Angeles. How does he realize his wrongdoing? By committing murder and having his own kind turn on him in prison. The rape scene is very tough to watch, as is the scene where he “curbs” the guy. Great great movie though.
A lot of people don’t know this movie very well. It’s when Ryan Gosling wasn’t famous and he played a self hating Jew. It was messed up to see how conflicted he was. You have a hard time believing he ever was in fact Jewish but it becomes quite clear and evident as his past catches up with his present and he has no idea how to handle his hatred. This was a fantastic Indy flick.
This movie always gets mixed reactions. I happened to enjoy it and I found it to be somewhat over the top but at the same time I can definitely see some dickish white cops pulling this stuff in real life. Not to mention all the other crimes that take place in this movie. Did it deserve best picture? Probably not but it’s worth seeing.
Guess Whose Coming to Dinner
It goes without saying that this movie is important. Number One. Sidney Poitier was huge at the time this movie came out and a movie where a white woman wants to marry a black man and introduce him to her family was about as courageous a move a film could make. And I’m sure glad it did come out. What a great subject and acting to back it up.
I gotta say I’m not sure what happened to Brendan Fraser after this movie but I feel like he hasn’t had a role that even comes close to that of David Green in School Ties. It’s a great film centered around a star athlete who is recruited to a mostly (if not all) Christian private school where most students get to the ivy leagues upon graduation. He must conceal the fact he’s Jewish but once his teammates find out, forget it.
John Singleton tackles racism in college in this movie. And while it’s over the top in terms of the violence, etc etc, not really. Think about it. We’ve had a few shootings since this movie and at the time it was made I doubt anyone thought this stuff could happen. It’s intense to say the least.