To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

Not Rated   |    |  Crime, Drama


To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) Poster

Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South, defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his children against prejudice.

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8.3/10
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  • Gregory Peck and Brock Peters in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
  • Gregory Peck and Mary Badham in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
  • Gregory Peck and Paul Fix in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
  • Mary Badham and Harper Lee in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
  • Gregory Peck and Mary Badham in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
  • Mary Badham and Robert Mulligan in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

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9 December 1998 | dweck
An Unforgettable Drama
Hoo boy, am I a sucker for courtroom dramas. The wrangling of legal points and the investigation into the truth just gets my cinematic blood pumping (I s'pose it's in response to my own dashed hopes of becoming an attorney).

"To Kill a Mockingbird" rises to the top of the pile easily.

Yes, the courtroom proceedings are nail-bitingly engaging. But played out against the tapestry of bigotry and hate make the legal goings-on even more compelling.

The writing here is so beautiful, so lyric, so poetic. The Harper Lee-based screenplay captures wonderfully a time and a place that are absolutely real--where big brothers could solve the universe's problems in an instant and all the treasures of the world could be contained in a cigar box.

"To Kill a Mockingbird" also contains three of the most impressive child performances I have ever witnessed--there's not a false or affected moment in any one of them. Until seeing "Ponette," a movie I would highly recommend, the kids in "Mockingbird" received my best child performance ever awards. "Ponette" has ratcheted them down one notch, but that doesn't diminish the achievement here. The scene in which Scout dispels the mob simply by identifying its individual members is one of the most powerful moments in filmdom.

Peck more than deserved his best actor nod. His quiet dignity is a definite asset. Brock Peters, too, is terrific in what could have been a cliched role.

If you are a moviegoer who has a bias against black and white movies and who has therefore never seen "Mockingbird," I pity you. You've passed on one of Hollywood's most unforgettable experiences.

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