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Black Like Me (1964)

 -  Drama  -  20 May 1964 (USA)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 371 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 10 critic

Based on the true story of a white reporter who, at the height of the civil-rights movement, temporarily darkened his skin so that he could experience the realities of a black man's life in the segregated South.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
John Finley Horton
...
Dr. Jackson
...
Christopher
...
Thomas Newcomb
...
Robert Gerringer ...
Ed Saunders
...
Eli Carr
John Marriott ...
Hodges
Thelma Oliver ...
Georgie
Lenka Peterson ...
Lucy Horton (as Lenka Petersen)
P. Jay Sidney ...
Frank Newcomb (as P.J. Sidney)
Billie Allen ...
Vertell
Alan Bergmann ...
Charles Maynard
Stanley Brock ...
Salesman
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Storyline

Black Like Me is the true account of John Griffin's experiences when he passed as a black man. John Horton takes treatments to darken his skin and leaves his home in Texas to travel throughout the South. At one stop, Horton encounters a black shoe shine man, Burt Wilson, who befriends him and shows him how to "act right" so that he can fit more easily into the African American culture. It is through Wilson that Horton learns the art of shining shoes. Most of his encounters with whites are quite degrading and disturb him. As a hitchhiker, John meets several white men who refer to black men and women in disparaging ways which angers John. Throughout the movie, John is harassed and persecuted by whites without reason. In one of his many stops throughout the South, John finds himself on a park bench sitting by a white woman. A white man walks by and says, "You'd better find another place to sit." Even though he had a college degree, menial jobs were all that he could find. John meets ... Written by Broncine G. Carter

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"I changed the color of my skin... now I know what it feels like to be BLACK!"

Genres:

Drama

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20 May 1964 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Connections

Spoofed in Daria: Fat Like Me (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

Important Movie
27 February 2001 | by (Miami, FL) – See all my reviews

This is the sleepy South as it really was. The pace is deliberate but necessarily so. The direction and acting is gritty and real.

The anger was real. The prejudice was real. The hate was real. The fear was real. The pain was real. It really happened this way.

This movie shows us all that. We walk in the shoes of a white man who looks like a black man...but we will never know. We can only imagine like James Whitmore's character, John Horton. We can only imagine what a man or woman had to endure in the unilluminated history of the United States.

Seeing this, we know, though we have come quite some distance, that we have still a long way to go before the reality is but a memory.

I salute all of those involved in this film and Mr. John Howard Griffin who endured it all and let us know the cruelty of man and helped us open our eyes.


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