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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.



1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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


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


Their forbidden friendship changed a nation.


Drama | History


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

12 April 1991 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

Der lange Weg  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$4,803,039 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Released straight to video in the UK. See more »


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 »


Odessa Cotter: Miss Thompson, I don't want your children to grow up scared of mine.
Miriam Thompson: It's just that a lot of the whites are scared. I'm a little scared.
Odessa Cotter: We're all scared. What's scarin' you Miss Thompson, who you are, or what Mr. Thompson wants you to be?
See more »


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


Written by George Duning and Steve Allen
Performed by The McGuire Sisters
Courtesy of MCA Records
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User Reviews

Sissy Spacek and Whoopi Goldberg are excellent in The Long Walk Home
20 February 2012 | by (Baton Rouge, La.) – See all my reviews

Just rewatched this movie on YouTube. Taking place during the bus boycott of 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, maid Odessa Cotter (Whoopi Goldberg) resolves to walk but her employer Miriam Thompson (Sissy Spacek) decides to drive her for at least a couple of days of the week to her house. I'll stop there and just say this was quite an inspiring, if intense, drama about how oppressive it could be during that time if you were not only the wrong color but also the wrong gender, that is, if you weren't a white male. I mean, the way Miriam's husband Norman (Dwight Schultz) and his younger brother Tunker (Dylan Baker) felt threatened by the whole thing makes one wonder. And the way Odessa's teen kids, Selma (Erika Alexander) and Theodore (Richard Habersham) were almost completely defeated by those white teen boys definitely gave me a pause. Not to mention how openly bigoted Miriam's mother (Gleaves Azar) said her opinion in front of the help was so blatantly appalling to see. What gives one hope is not only the way Miriam and Odessa communicate with each other, but also the way the narration of the grown Thompson daughter Mary Catherine (voice of Mary Steenburgen, Lexi Randall as a child) assures us how poignantly inspiring the whole time was. So on that note, The Long Walk Home gets a high recommendation from me. P.S. Ving Rhames-several years before his star-making turn in Pulp Fiction-portrays Odessa's husband Herbert with hair. Richard Habersham was Eddie in Do the Right Thing the year before. Younger brother Franklin was played by Jason Weaver who would later be the singing voice of Young Simba in The Lion King. He's also, like me, a Chicago native. And Erika Alexander would become Cousin Pam on "The Cosby Show" after making this.

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