There are few films that I think are as beautiful and as important as To Kill A Mockingbird. Adapted from Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize novel from 1961, it is a story of one man’s struggle to raise his children with respect for all human beings amidst a culture of racism and discrimination.
As an older widower, Atticus Finch (played by Gregory Peck) raises his two young children in 1930’s Alabama, the idealistic Jem and the tomboyish Scout, who narrates both the film and the novel. The quiet scenes between Atticus and his children are beautiful, as are the scenes when his children start to realize their father is not like everybody else.
The fictional town of Maycomb is small, gossipy, and close-knit. However, there is also an ugly racism that runs deep in many of the citizens, racism that become more apparent when Atticus chooses to defend Tom Robinson, an African-American who has been falsely accused of raping a white woman.
It would seem that this movie’s themes would be dated, given that we are now in 2014. After all, Harper Lee wrote her novel in pre-Civil Rights movement 1960’s about the Great Depression South. However, all one has to do is turn on the national news to see that there is still ugliness and ignorance out there, and there is still a need for brave people to stand up for what is right. This is what makes Atticus Finch so heroic, a character that the AFI (American Film Institute) ranked him number one on their “100 Greatest Heroes“ list.
If you haven’t seen this movie, do. You’ll fall in love with Atticus as a loving father, a dedicated lawyer, and kind and brave human being.