The Liberation of L.B. Jones (1970)

R  |   |  Drama, Crime  |  8 July 1970 (France)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 452 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 5 critic

A Southern lawyer uncovers the truth about a slain undertaker.



(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Oman Hedgepath
Willie Joe Worth
L.B. Jones
Lola Falana ...
Emma Jones
Steve Mundine
Nella Mundine
Sonny Boy Mosby
Arch Johnson ...
Stanley Bumpas
Mr. Ike
Mama Lavorn
Fayard Nicholas ...
Joseph Attles ...
Henry (as Joe Attles)
Lauren Jones ...
Brenda Sykes ...


A gloomy vision of the possibility of decent relations between whites and blacks anywhere, including the South. Undertaker L.B. Jones, the richest black man in his county of Tennessee, is divorcing his wife for infidelity with a white policeman. Taking a stand against racism, he is greeted with a hostile bunch of Southern bigots and other various stereotypes. Written by Sterling Silliphant ("In the Heat of the Night"). Director William Wyler's final film. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Killing a marriage is one thing. Killing the husband is something else. See more »


Drama | Crime


R | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

8 July 1970 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Liberation of Lord Byron Jones  »

Filming Locations:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The movie marked the first time that a black man killed a white man on screen. See more »


Willie Joe Worth: It Monday is it?
Stanley Bumpas: All day, you coming?
Willie Joe Worth: Way pass six, that black son-of-bitch didn't call. Just let it ride by god.
See more »


Featured in Classified X (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

Pretty Powerful stuff
26 March 2006 | by (French Polynesia) – See all my reviews

The "novel" this is based on was according to the author, almost entirely true, only the names were changed to protect the innocent and the guilty. This underlying truth plays out strongly here. I must stop to say the plot synopsis has nothing to do with the film. This is not a mystery with a "who did it" structure and it is not a courtroom justice or injustice movie. The events play out in sequence and we jump from character to character so that it remains, every bodies story, so to speak. We aren't allowed to distance ourselves from the story by taking the look from the good lawyer or cops perspective after the fact. Yaphet Kotto among many, probably gives the best performance. The photography and the score both seem a bit dated, though each have their strong moments, otherwise this doesn't date at all. The characters motives, good and bad, are clearly laid out and well performed. There are a few moments of technical slop, some optical blow ups of shots in the middle of dialog scenes and a couple of lazy zooms that would not have appeared in a Wyler film a few years before that, but in every other way this shows him still at the top of his game. It's a shame that he stopped making films after this. He himself considered it a strong film and he seems to have more or less expected that it would anger people (white ones that is) when it was released. His usual skill with actors is in evidence and there is some interesting use of sound to help tell the story at crucial moments. Very powerful stuff all around.

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