Deacons for Defense (2003)

TV Movie  |  R  |   |  Drama  |  16 February 2003 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.0/10 from 314 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 2 critic

The words "Black Power" bring back memories of names like Stokely Carmichael, H. Rap Brown, and Eldridge Cleaver, but in Bogalusa, LA a group of harassed Afro-Americans had decided they'd ... See full summary »



(story), (teleplay), 1 more credit »
0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

4 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »


Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Enemy Within (TV Movie 1994)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Colonel Casey discovers what appears to be plans by General Lloyd to use fake military excercises to assist Jack Giddings in his plans to remove President Foster from office. Colonel Casey,... See full summary »

Director: Jonathan Darby
Stars: Forest Whitaker, Sam Waterston, Dana Delany
American Gun (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Seemingly disparate portraits of people -- among them a single mother, a high school principal, and an ace student -- Distinctly American -- all affected by the proliferation of guns in American society.

Director: Aric Avelino
Stars: Marcia Gay Harden, Forest Whitaker, Donald Sutherland
The Marsh (2006)
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  

A young beautiful but stressed out children's writer seeks out a holiday in the country but becomes the lead character in a supernatural mystery she must solve to save her life

Director: Jordan Barker
Stars: Gabrielle Anwar, Louis Ferreira, Forest Whitaker
Ripple Effect (2007)
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  

Fashion designer Amer Atrash, perpetually on the verge of success, is undergoing a personal crisis in both his marriage and his business. Attributing his misfortune to bad karma from a ... See full summary »

Director: Philippe Caland
Stars: Forest Whitaker, Virginia Madsen, Minnie Driver
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A beautiful black gangster's moll flees to Harlem with a trunkload of gold after a shootout, unaware that the rest of the gang, and a few other unsavoury characters, are on her trail. A ... See full summary »

Director: Bill Duke
Stars: Forest Whitaker, Gregory Hines, Robin Givens
Light It Up (1999)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A group of teens is bent on improving the run-down conditions of their high-school.

Director: Craig Bolotin
Stars: Usher Raymond, Forest Whitaker, Rosario Dawson
Body Count (1998)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

A group of thieves attempt to rob an art gallery, but when plans backfire and one of the men winds up dead, the group head down south, running afoul of the law. Along the way, they meet up ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Patton-Spruill
Stars: David Caruso, Linda Fiorentino, John Leguizamo
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

Hitman Dekker is on his last job, out to kill the wife (Jain) of his client, but he starts to waver. The longer he takes to do the job, the more difficult it becomes.

Director: Roy London
Stars: Sherilyn Fenn, Sharon Stone, Forest Whitaker
Feast of All Saints (TV Movie 2001)
Romance | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Set in nineteenth-century New Orleans, the story depicts the gens de couleur libre, or the Free People of Colour, a dazzling yet damned class caught between the world of white privilege and black oppression.

Director: Peter Medak
Stars: Robert Ri'chard, Peter Gallagher, Gloria Reuben
Criminal Justice (TV Movie 1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Denise Moore is robbed and her face is slashed as she is leaving a crack house. At the police station she picks Jessie Williams mug shot and ID's him at a line up. Jessie Williams says he ... See full summary »

Director: Andy Wolk
Stars: Forest Whitaker, Anthony LaPaglia, Rosie Perez
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Four friends steal a valuable statuette for a dangerous black market art dealer, lose it and are forced to play a deadly bluffing game to save their lives.

Director: Paul Rachman
Stars: Olivia Williams, Balthazar Getty, Arly Jover
Bank Robber (1993)
Comedy | Crime | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.4/10 X  

After robbing a bank, the robber hides out from the police in a seedy hotel where he is forced to bribe various tennants for protection as well as their silence which becomes more difficult... See full summary »

Director: Nick Mead
Stars: Patrick Dempsey, Lisa Bonet, Judge Reinhold


Cast overview, first billed only:
Marcus Clay
William Chase
Michael Deane
Reverend 'Rev' Gregory
Gene Mack ...
Paul Benjamin ...
Rose Clay
Serena Lee ...
Lucille Clay
Khafre Armatrading ...
Brooks Clay
Charles Hillibrand
Beau Starr ...
Aaron Walpole ...


The words "Black Power" bring back memories of names like Stokely Carmichael, H. Rap Brown, and Eldridge Cleaver, but in Bogalusa, LA a group of harassed Afro-Americans had decided they'd had enough and took up arms to defend themselves and force the white power structure to listen to them. This took place during "Freedom Summer", 1964, right after the Civil Rights Act had become law. Fact based movie stars Forest Whitaker and Ossie Davis, the former as the founder of the Deacons of Defense and Justice (DDJ) and the latter as a peaceful minister trying to prevent the unavoidable violence that will follow. The story revolves around the white-controlled factory which provides 70% of the town's income and employees 40% of its people. Segregation is still clinging on within the factory, with blacks denied the supervisory positions and forced into separate lunchrooms, bathrooms, and drinking fountains. The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) has its strongest power in this area and, as the DDJ gets armed ... Written by AzRanger <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violent images and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

16 February 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A védelem diakónusai  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


See  »

Did You Know?


[Some members want Marcus removed as leader of the Deacons]
Rev. Gregory: I have been living in fear of the Klan all my life. Was bred in me as a child, and it made me less than a man. But all of that has changed because of you. You freed me, son. You woke up something in me, so don't you stop. Don't you dare stop. And tomorrow, I'm gonna be marching with you, and I'm gonna march every day to change what's happening down here. And there ain't gonna be no change in leadership. Ain't gonna be no steppin' down. ...
See more »


Featured in 10th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards (2004) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Before the Panthers, there were the Deacons.
17 February 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This excellent made-for-cable movies tells the story of a group of blacks in a small mill town who form a defense group to protect themselves from the brutality of the Klan during the dawn of The 1964 Civil Rights Act. The fact-based story centers around the main character played by Forest Whitaker (who gives his best performance in years) who was arrested and beaten by racist cop for protecting his daughter from being beat during a peace demonstration that turned ugly. After that you see his character transform from a "good nigger" who thought he knew his place to a man who realized that his dignity and family were more important than "yes sah-in'" and "no sah-in'" to the racist white townfolks. There's also good turns from Ossie Davis (I don't think this man has ever given a bad performance) and Jonathan Silverman (quite surprising), but the film clearly belongs to Whitaker. A place in American history that has gotten forgotten and buried over the years. A must-see for history buffs.

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

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Let's hear it for the Second Amendment!! chanman72
Part of Our History gkgk
Discuss Deacons for Defense (2003) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: