Description of Film: Director
Spike Lee (She Hate Me) is known for
delivering powerful films. He succeeds
again when depicting the life of Civil Rights
Activist Malcolm X. Denzel Washington
(now featured in three of the movies on our
list) stars as the controversial leader.
Angela Bassett (Mr. 3000) plays Malcolm’s
wife, Betty. The story begins with Malcolm as
a young man. Malcolm X was the son of
a man who preached openly and strongly about
Black pride, a man whose views were similar
to those held by Marcus Garvey. Garvey
believed that Black men and women needed to
move back to Africa to find a place where they
would be free and equal. Malcolm’s
father was murdered by the Ku Klux Klan, an
event that set things in turn for Malcolm X.
As a young man, Malcolm X led a life of ill
repute; he drank too much, did drugs, and stole.
Then, he is sentenced to prison. In prison,
he encounters an elderly gentleman who begins
to teach him the ways of Allah and Nation of
Islam through the Black Nationalist leader,
Elijah Muhammad. Malcolm begins to find
his place. He leaves prison and begins
preaching to crowds about being Black in America.
He is essentially a Black separatist; he believes
that Blacks and Whites should not integrate.
He believes that Whites are “the devil”
and preaches this to crowds. However,
some time later he visits the city of Mecca
and becomes a Sunni Muslim. He returns
to America as a changed man. He no longer
preaches about White hatred. Instead he
tries to find a solution to the problem of racism
This film follows Malcolm X through his early
life all the way to his tragic and premature
death in 1965. This movie also features
the excellent Delroy Lindo (Sahara)
and Spike Lee.
Why I Recommend This Film: This
movie features excellent acting and directing.
It is truly a tribute to Malcolm X. The
movie does not appear to hold anything back
when recounting his life. That kind of
honesty in film is always admirable.
Why This Film Is Important:
Malcolm X, while extreme and controversial in
many of his views, was very eloquent and achieved
many things for the Civil Rights movement.
It is important to know about him as a person
and to understand the kinds of things that he
fought for. While many disagreed with
the methods he first took, he was a leader of
the Civil Rights movement and ultimately, was
fighting for equality.
Alex Haley and Malcolm X “The Autobiography
of Malcolm X”
Favorite Quotation: In
one of his speeches, Malcolm X stated, “We
didn't land on Plymouth Rock. Plymouth Rock landed