As Martin Luther King Jr. Day approaches, why not celebrate the man’s legacy and mission by watching some of the best films made about the civil rights struggle in the United States? Here are three movies about our nation’s attempts to level the playing field for all people that you can stream right now.
We start with an obvious choice, but a good one nonetheless. In 2014, David Oyelowo burst onto the scene with his memorable performance as Martin Luther King Jr. In a film made by 13th director Ava DuVernay, this covers the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery march led by King, James Bevel, Hosea Williams, and John Lewis. That march is credited in part for helping pass the Voting Rights Act. Selma is available on Hulu.
Another well-known figure from the 1960s is Malcolm X, whose life was captured in what is one of filmmaker Spike Lee’s finest achievements. Released in 1992 and featuring a scintillating performance that would earn an Oscar nomination for Denzel Washington, this biopic covers a large portion of Malcolm’s life. In 2010 the film was selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. Malcolm X is available on Cinemax Go.
The Long Walk Home
And finally, a film you might not have heard of featuring a story you almost certainly have — the Montgomery bus boycotts of the 1950s. In 1990 Whoopi Goldberg starred as Odessa Cotter. Cotter, with her family, faces the same cruelty many other African-Americans did during that period in the American South and joins with other members of the community in a boycott of the segregated buses. The Long Walk Home is available on YouTube.
A Guide to Presidential Speeches in Movies: