In American, we must remember that every man is born with certain inalienable rights – the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Civil rights help define that proclamation by ensuring a person's physical integrity, safety, and well being. They protect a person from discrimination in all forms, whether it's gender, religion, race, sexual orientation, or disability.
Furthermore, civil rights protect the individual by protecting a person's freedom of thought and conscience, expression, speech, and even the freedom of the press. With such a weighty task, it's no wonder that civil rights are such an explored topic in film.
The topic of civil rights is about as dramatic as it gets, and it's in the struggle that comes with obtaining civil rights that we see the darkest moments of mankind. And while we have countless examples of ugliness to show for this struggle, the search for civil rights can bring out the best in human beings. After all, some of the greatest people to have ever lived were leaders of civil rights movements.
Some of the best civil rights films chronicle the lives of such leaders, while others take a look at the movements themselves. Some handle the issues associated with civil rights with humor (think Blazing Saddles or Hairspray), while others create a family-friendly story (Remember the Titans). Yet, the most common type of civil rights film has a somber tone and is based in real-life occurrences.
Below are 10 Great Civil Rights Films. They cover every category from women's rights, to the freedom of the press, to the discrimination of physical appearance. Each of these movies is an example of how a film can do more than just entertain – it can pay tribute, teach, and inspire.