IMDb > Black Like Me (1964)

Black Like Me (1964) More at IMDbPro »

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Black Like Me -- Based on the landmark memoir by John Howard Griffin, Black Like Me stars James Whitmore as Griffin, who medically altered his pigment and, with the help of a sunlamp, reinvented himself as an itinerant black writer navigating his way through Mississippi.


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Release Date:
20 May 1964 (USA) See more »
"I changed the color of my skin... now I know what it feels like to be BLACK!" See more »
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
(10 articles)
Homer goes hard-body in 'Simpsons' Lego episode
 (From Hitfix. 2 May 2014, 8:25 AM, PDT)

DVD Release: Black Like Me
 (From Disc Dish. 11 December 2012, 11:52 AM, PST)

The Controversial (And Unbelievable) 'Black Like Me' Coming Out On DVD
 (From ShadowAndAct. 25 October 2012, 10:32 PM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Heart in the right place See more (15 total) »


  (in credits order)

James Whitmore ... John Finley Horton

Sorrell Booke ... Dr. Jackson

Roscoe Lee Browne ... Christopher

Al Freeman Jr. ... Thomas Newcomb

Will Geer ... Truckdriver
Robert Gerringer ... Ed Saunders

Clifton James ... 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

Heywood Hale Broun
Sarah Cunningham ... Mary Saunders

David Huddleston
Eva Jessye ... Mrs. Townsend
D'Urville Martin
Walter Mason ... Mason
Richard Ward ... Burt Wilson
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Matt Clark ... Mugger in alley
Ralph Dunn ... Priest
Fred Parrulli ... Man on Bus

Dan Priest ... Bus Driver

Denver Pyle ... Man in pick-up truck
Lew Skinner ... Stretch
Raymond St. Jacques ... Burial Insurance Salesman

Directed by
Carl Lerner 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Paul Green  uncredited
John Howard Griffin  book
Carl Lerner 
Gerda Lerner 

Produced by
Julius Tannenbaum .... producer
Original Music by
Meyer Kupferman 
Cinematography by
Victor Lukens 
Henry Mueller  (as Henry Mueller II)
Film Editing by
Lora Hays 
Casting by
Chuck Gordone 
Production Management
Tony LaMarca .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Tony LaMarca .... assistant director
Edward Wells .... assistant director
Sound Department
Jack Fitzstephens .... sound editor
Camera and Electrical Department
Alton D. Reed .... gaffer
Editorial Department
Sanford Rackow .... assistant editor
Music Department
Meyer Kupferman .... conductor
Other crew
John G. Avildsen .... assistant to director (as John Avildsen)
Gladys Thomas .... community liaison

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

105 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.78 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

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Heart in the right place, 23 August 2014
Author: SnoopyStyle

John Howard Griffin was a white reporter who darken his skin to experience life as a black man in the deep South. This is based on his book. John Finley Horton (James Whitmore) from Texas wants to write a series of articles on integration for Eli Carr (Clifton James) but he's afraid of the repercussions. He gets treatments of pills and tanning lamps to darken his skin. Along the way, he reveals the truth to shoeshine Burt Wilson (Richard Ward) and gets his help to pass.

"I changed the color of my skin... now I know what it feels like to be BLACK!" They couldn't get away with that tagline today. No matter how well the disguise, the color doesn't come off of a black man at the end of the day. Its heart is in the right place, but James Whitmore looks like a darkened white man. The eyes are one problem and he needs a good pair of sunglasses. The other problem is that it isn't always a compelling movie. There are scenes of eye opening racism. There are also weird little scenes about race relations. It's put together like a series of disconnected vignettes. As a movie, it doesn't really flow and the acting sometimes fall into melodrama territories. It's still interesting to watch.

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