Black Like Me (1964)

 |  Drama  |  20 May 1964 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 416 users  
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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 overview, first billed only:
John Finley Horton
Thomas Newcomb
Robert Gerringer ...
Ed Saunders
Eli Carr
John Marriott ...
Thelma Oliver ...
Lenka Peterson ...
Lucy Horton (as Lenka Petersen)
P. Jay Sidney ...
Frank Newcomb (as P.J. Sidney)
Billie Allen ...
Alan Bergmann ...
Charles Maynard
Stanley Brock ...


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


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








Release Date:

20 May 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Czarny jak ja  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


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

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User Reviews

Poorly ...
21 April 2012 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Griffin's book, which I highly recommend reading, is not well reflected in this movie. The book is an important one- the movie failed to portray the events deeply and meaningfully. While the book draws one into the experience and emotion of one living as an Arfican-American in the South during this time, the film leaves one feeling little more than a disconnected witness of a poor narration.

Poorly directed, poorly cast, abysmally lit and acted, often to the extent that Griffin's message is lost in the morass. At times the director has taken such creative license as to change Griffin's character, adding nothing, distracting from the premise and in so doing disconnects the viewer from the protagonists world.This movie screams to be remade as the important bridge in cultural understanding that the book remains.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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