7.7/10
225
1 user 5 critic

Scottsboro: An American Tragedy (2000)

The history of the "Scottsboro Boys," a group of African American men who were victims of a racist miscarriage of justice that became a national controversy.

Writers:

, (opening poem)

WAYS TO
WATCH:

See all
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Crime | Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Oscar-winning documentary that documents a murder trial in which a 15-year-old African-American is wrongfully accused of a 2000 murder in Jacksonville, Florida.

Director: Jean-Xavier de Lestrade
Stars: Ann Finnell, Patrick McGuinness, James Williams
Documentary | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A film that successfully argued that a man was wrongly convicted for murder by a corrupt justice system in Dallas County, Texas.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Randall Adams, David Harris, Gus Rose
Legacy (2000)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A documentary that tracks five years and three generations of a Chicago family's life in public housing. The murder of a family member has an immediate impact, but eventually changes them toward a more positive outlook on life in the end.

Director: Tod Lending
Stars: Alaissa Collins, Marquis Collins, Nickcole Collins
Documentary | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

"The Trials of Darryl Hunt" is a feature documentary about a brutal rape/murder case and a wrongly convicted man, Darryl Hunt, who spent nearly twenty years in prison for a crime he did not... See full summary »

Directors: Ricki Stern, Anne Sundberg
Stars: Evelyn Jefferson, Fred Flagler, John Reeves
Witch Hunt (2008)
Documentary | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The story of several families who have their lives destroyed when their hometown is whipped into a frenzy by allegations of child molestation.

Directors: Don Hardy Jr., Dana Nachman
Stars: Jack Cummings, Jackie Cummings, Allen Grafton
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A profile of homeless Romanian children who were born victims of the nation's reckless population growth policy during its communist era.

Director: Edet Belzberg
Stars: Cristina Ionescu, Mihai Alexandre Tudose, Violeta 'Macarena' Rosu
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A gripping, emotionally charged film that follows wrongfully convicted men freed by DNA evidence after decades in prison as they struggle to transition back into society.

Director: Jessica Sanders
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A chilling exploration of the tragic history of the Suh family and the murder that shocked America - when the picture perfect son, Andrew, shot and killed his sister's fiancé at her bidding.

Director: Iris K. Shim
Stars: Bob J. Berlin, Myung Han, Carol Hogan
Documentary | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The story of the child refugees who were transported to Britain to escape the Nazi Holocaust.

Director: Mark Jonathan Harris
Stars: Judi Dench, Lory Cahn, Kurt Fuchel
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A documentary that examines the 1989 case of five black and Latino teenagers who were convicted of raping a white woman in Central Park. After having spent between 6 and 13 years each in prison, a serial rapist confessed to the crime.

Directors: Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Kharey Wise
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

In 1930s Alabama, nine young black men are accused of raping two white women. The judge in the case, unlike the rest of the town, comes to believe that the boys are innocent, and against ... See full summary »

Director: Fielder Cook
Stars: Arthur Hill, Ellen Barber, Paul Benjamin
Documentary | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Explosive developments - implicating both the forensics laboratory of the police department of North Carolina, and Duane Deaver, its chief - recently saw the convicted subject of 'The ... See full summary »

Director: Jean-Xavier de Lestrade
Stars: Caitlin Atwater, Bradley Bannon, Freda Black
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
...
Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Voices (voice)
...
Voices (voice)
...
Voices (voice)
...
Voices (voice)
...
Voices (voice)
...
Voices (voice)
...
Voices (voice)
...
Voices (voice)
Edit

Storyline

A look at the infamous "Scottsboro Boys" case that occurred in Alabama in 1931, in which nine young black men were arrested, tried and quickly convicted in the rape of two white women, despite overwhelming evidence that showed their accusers had falsely accused them and the fact that one of the women later admitted that no rape had in fact occurred (although both had had sexual relations with their boyfriends on the day prior to the "rape"). The case was one of the first that shined a spotlight on what many called the "legal lynchings" that occurred in the South whenever blacks were accused of crimes, especially against whites and most especially against white women. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

January 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Scottsboro - oikeusmurha  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

First documentary directed by Daniel Anker. See more »

Connections

Version of Judge Horton and the Scottsboro Boys (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

Scottsboro Boys
Music by Leadbelly
Performed by Leadbelly
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A penetrating documentary of America's racist and politically-charged climate, circa 1931-1950
22 January 2001 | by (New York, NY, USA) – See all my reviews

Daniel Anker and Barak Goodman's penetrating documentary should have been renamed "Scottsboro: An American Outrage." The many injustices committed by Alabama's legal system and the American media against nine African-American young men for a 1931 crime (the rape of two white women, one of whom later admitted that consensual sex with their own boyfriends occurred the previous day,) a crime that the men did not commit, is recalled with sorrow and anguish by almost all of the documentary's participants.

As the viewer watches, the remembrance of one of many horrific "legal lynchings" of innocent African-Americans throughout the 1880's to the 1950's, and beyond, fuels a sadness, outrage and anger, particularly when one recalls similar circumstances today where scores of innocent (and non-prominent) Black men continue to be convicted of crimes against white females, when insisting their innocence. (For example, the Central Park Jogger case in 1990 New York -- arguably an eerie and disturbing parallel to 1931 Scottsboro case chronicled in the documentary -- and the recent case of Paris Drake, convicted in New York 2000, of brutally assaulting Nicole Barrett with a brick.)

"Scottsboro" looks at the racist attitudes exuded by Southern whites, attitudes responsible for the four-time convictions of each of the nine Black men in the case, in the face overwhelming evidence in the men's favor. The documentary balances this with some ironies, including that of avowed racist and segregationist Alabama governor George Wallace, who admitted that a wrong had been committed against the Scottsboro Nine. Wallace pardoned one of the Nine in 1976. Even some of those in the media who had called for the mens' convictions and executions later realized (too late however) that a terrible mistake had been made.

The political climate is documented, with Jewish New York lawyer Samuel Leibovitz, who (while encountering bigotry himself) steadfastly and doggedly defended all nine of the Scottsboro men until all were freed after serving long prison sentences and facing certain death. The legal battle took well over a decade. And the International Labor Defense, a communist group whose efforts helped internationalize the Scottsboro Nine case and gain large support of a moral and financial nature for the Nine, are given time in Anker and Goodman's documentary.

"Scottsboro: An American Tragedy" is narrated by actor Andre Braugher, and features the voices of several other actors, including Frances McDormand and Stanley Tucci. McDormand and Tucci effectively evoke the times, speaking the voices of some of the real-life participants during the documentary's courtroom scenes. Their work, and that of others places the viewer at the heart of the racial dynamics of the American South.

A wealth of important books on the Scottsboro Nine case exist (see amazon.com), and Barak and Goodman's documentary serves as a good start to a viewer's research on this disturbing injustice of the legal system, not an end.


7 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss Scottsboro: An American Tragedy (2000) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?