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The Long Walk Home (1990)

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Two women, black and white, in 1955 Montgomery Alabama, must decide what they are going to do in response to the famous bus boycott lead by Martin Luther King.

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1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Mary Catherine (as Lexi Faith Randall)
Richard Habersham ...
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Cherene Snow ...
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Judy (Girl at Oak Park)
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Storyline

Dramatizes the events in 1955-1956 in Montgomery, Alabama, when blacks boycotted public transport becuase they were forced to sit at the back. Odessa works as a maid for the Thompsons, and as well as she is treated, she feels it is her duty to walk to work, even if it means she is exhaused, and gets to work late. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Their forbidden friendship changed a nation.

Genres:

Drama | History

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

12 April 1991 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

Der lange Weg  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$4,803,039 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Released straight to video in the UK. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning of the story, the narrator (the adult Mary Katherine) says that she was 7 years old at the time of the story. Later, when Mrs. Thompson is angrily calling the police, she says "Tell Clyde Sellers that one of his policeman threw my 9-year-old daughter out of Oak Park" when talking to the secretary. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Narrator: 50,000 boycotted the buses in Montgomery. I knew one. Her name was Odessa Cotter.
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Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Zombie Nightmare (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

MISTER SANDMAN
Written by Pat Ballard
Performed by The Chordettes
Courtesy of Barnaby Records, Inc.
By Arrangement with Celebrity Licesing, Inc.
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User Reviews

 
"We're Marching To Zion"
22 April 2007 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

The real life, 1955, bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama provides the backdrop for this fictional story about an upper middle class white homemaker named Miriam Thompson (Sissy Spacek) who gradually becomes disenchanted with racial segregation. Her changed attitude comes about as a direct result of her Black maid, a woman of deep moral principles named Odessa Cotter (Whoopi Goldberg).

Odessa normally would take the bus to work. But she supports the boycott, and therefore chooses to walk the long distance from her shabby house to the manicured, suburban Thompson home. Yet, despite several incidences wherein Southern whites display their hatred of the boycott and of Blacks in general, Odessa, with the support of her own family and her religious faith, maintains a respectful and thoughtful attitude toward Miriam and the Thompson family. The story is told in retrospect, from the viewpoint of Miriam's daughter, Mary Catherine (Lexi Randall), who was seven years old at the time.

There is nothing subtle about this slow paced story. It is forceful and frank. The overt hatred by Southern whites toward Blacks is palpable. In no character is this odious racial superiority more evident than in Miriam's cigar chomping brother-in-law, Tunker (well played by Dylan Baker).

But Miriam and Odessa relate to each other as individuals, not as members of some group. Perceptive and sensitive, Miriam comes to understand that Southern racist attitudes, those feelings and emotions she grew up with, are passed down through generations. "You just don't question it", she tells Odessa, apologetically.

Both Miriam and Odessa are multi-dimensional and sufficiently unique to give the story depth of characterization. The acting is fine. Whoopi Goldberg in particular gives a great performance, along with the always reliable Sissy Spacek. The film's production design and period costumes are credible. Lighting is subdued. I liked the background gospel music, but I could have wished for even more. "We're Marching To Zion" not only is a great gospel hymn; it's also the film's theme.

Technically well made, "The Long Walk Home" has value mostly as historical perspective on an important contemporary social issue. As such, the film's message is just as relevant now as it was fifty years ago.


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