Racism is one of those things that really has no place in our somewhat smaller world and Hollywood has done a few movies to help show us the stupidity of negative bias based on race or creed. Here is a nice little shopping list of “must sees” in the way of anti-racism movies.
10. American History X
American History X started with shocking imagery and stayed shocking throughout. Edward Norton and Edward Furlong put in riveting and convincing performances as a pair of orphaned white boys bent on revenge who find out that violence begets only more of the same.
9. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?
Before Spike Lee there was a movie that showed the fallout of inter-racial relationships. Sidney Poitier, Spencer Tracy and the incomparable Katherine Hepburn starred in this masterfully written movie. This film was released in 1967 during a time when it was still illegal in 17 states for an inter-racial union to exist.
This movie gets a little confusing until the end where everything culminates into one split second of convergence. Every type of racist attitude is explored in their all too ugly but varying degrees.
7. Schindler’s List
“Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire.” This film screams that message throughout. This is not your average WW2/Holocaust movie. If you’re unsure of the plot and need us to spell it out for you we suggest you get yourself out from beneath the rock you’ve been living under and take your Patrick Starr butt to a video rental store. There’s more to be learned from this movie than racism. This movie promotes humanism.
6. This is England
Social climbs are often dictated by economical and political strife. This is England is a glaring reminder that people are in essence pack animals; if there is enough to go around, often there are few problems. This is the story of hate, envy and most importantly the need for responsibility for one’s self.
5. Gran Torino
This Clint Eastwood film stars everyone’s favorite tough guy dealing with a different world. Through a friendship that was hard fought (and a little reluctant by Eastwood’s character) and hard earned, Korean War veteran Walt Kowalski gains an understanding of his Hmong neighbors and the challenges they face. This movie is sympathetic and informative, but so entertaining one does not realize they are even being taught anything.
The TV mini-series adaptation of Alex Haley’s book is a reminder of a darker time in American history. Even the most jaded and entrenched racist can be somewhat softened by the harsh images and portrayal of man’s lack of empathy towards his fellow and the strong spirit that dwells in all of us.
3. Stand and Deliver
Once again, the story of the human spirit rising up through adversity to achieve astonishing feats. Based on a true story of inner city kids and their teacher overcoming prejudice and excelling. If there were ever an inspiring story for anyone of any race; this would be it.
2. Mississippi Burning
Based very loosely on actual events, this story of racism and hatred in the 1960′s deep south is accurate enough. The blind hatred and intolerance of the era is accurately portrayed in this blockbuster movie. Gene Hackman and Willem DaFoe’s performances were beyond reproach. I definite must see for anyone wanting to understand those turbulent times.
1. Romper Stomper
Despite it’s somewhat less than desirable title, this is one of those timeless movies that will always stand out as a social commentary. What happens when those victimized fight back? This is the story of a bully who’s nose has been bloodied and then some. The racial overtones of this movie are palpable and the moral inconsistencies of racism are revealed in this Australian film starring Russel Crowe.