Sounder (1972)

G  |   |  Drama, Family  |  10 May 1973 (France)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 2,389 users  
Reviews: 23 user | 19 critic

The oldest son of a loving and strong family of black sharecroppers comes of age in the Depression-era South after his father is imprisoned for stealing food.



(screenplay), (novel)
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mrs. Boatwright
Taj Mahal ...
Sheriff Young
Eric Hooks ...
Earl Morgan
Yvonne Jarrell ...
Josie Mae Morgan
Sylvia Kuumba Williams ...
Harriet (as Sylvia 'Kuumba' Williams)
Teddy Airhart ...
Mr. Perkins (as Ted Airhart)
Richard Durham ...
Perkins' Foreman
Wendell Brumfield ...
Deputy #1
Al Bankston ...
Deputy #2
Myrl Sharkey ...
Teacher (as Merle Sharkey)
Inez Durham ...
Court Clerk


The Morgans, a loving and strong family of Black sharecroppers in Louisiana in 1933, face a serious family crisis when the husband and father, Nathan Lee Morgan, is convicted of a petty crime and sent to a prison camp. After some weeks or months, the wife and mother, Rebecca Morgan, sends the oldest son, who is about 11 years old, to visit his father at the camp. The journey becomes something of an odyssey for the boy. During the journey, he stays a little while with a dedicated Black schoolteacher. Written by Ed Cannon <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Family


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

10 May 1973 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Csibész  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Cicely Tyson commented in a TCM interview that director Martin Ritt's cinematographer (principal cameraman), while shooting the famous "homecoming sequence" with Tyson and co-star Paul Winfield, was so moved by their performances that he was certain he missed framing the action properly in the shots and respectfully asked them to do the difficult scene again. They obliged, but a later examination of daily rushes revealed that they got shot and acting perfect the first time, and take 1 was a print. See more »


After Earl and Josie go to bed, after the reunion dinner, the position of Nathan's hand and cup changes. See more »


Edited into Afro Promo (1997) See more »


Needed Time
Written by Taj Mahal
Sung by Lightnin Hopkins
See more »

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User Reviews

Beautiful film with great heart
18 January 2010 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Director Martin Ritt and the cast and crew of this movie have left a great legacy in this simple but moving story of a family's love for one another in the face of great adversity. The family does not succumb to bitterness or hatred but they persevere with hope and great faith in what they can overcome. The story: during the Depression, a family breadwinner is arrested and sent to a year's hard labour for a minor misdemeanour. I saw this movie almost 40 years ago and it made a deep impression. Almost everyone I spoke to who saw it admired it and the reviews were excellent but for some reason, it has been forgotten. I saw the movie again on Martin Luther King Day and rediscovered a story with great universal appeal. The landscape cinematography of Louisiana enhances the movie. Cicely Tyson and Paul Winfield are the stars of the film along with Kevin Hooks as the eldest son. The music is stark with the lyrics of a spiritual and the strumming of a stringed instrument. We witness the cruelty of a heartless town and the courage of a friend who is moved to help. In the end, wounded and battered, the family carry on with great love and respect for one another. This movie is a strong statement because of the great character acting. It is a great testament to the human spirit.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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