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Deacons for Defense (2003)

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 »

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4 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »
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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 <Ranger273@azrangers.org>

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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

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Technical Specs


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Did You Know?


[dropping two civil right workers off at the county line]
Lawson: Now the only reason you boys ain't hurtin' is because you got the same skin color as God. But this is a one-time pass. Remember what happened to those northern boys in Mississippi.
[Sheriff smacks Deane across the mouth]
Lawson: Y'all know which way to go.
[Sheriff drives away then Deane walks back]
Michael Deane: Let's go.
Charles Hillibrand: What are you kidding me?
Michael Deane: No, I'm not kidding.
Charles Hillibrand: They're not fooling around, Michael. They *will* kill us. Why are you willing to die for this? ...
See more »


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

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User Reviews

Very average done film.
29 July 2010 | by (Groningen, The Netherlands) – See all my reviews

Nothing outstanding or special about this movie really. In itself there is nothing wrong with its good and powerful, intriguing story but the way it all gets brought the screen isn't the best or most effective way.

It's a made for TV movie, so of course it visually and technically never gets an impressive one to look at. Luckilly it still has some elements to compensate for this, such as the story but also some fine acting by well known actors who make their appearance in this movie. Forest Whitaker looks quite ridicules in his role but at least he really knows how to act and how to play his character.

However the way Forest Whitaker looks in this is unfortunately not the only ridicules aspect about this movie. Even though the story in itself is good, it doesn't always have a good flow to it. It also doesn't always progress very convincing. For instance, the one moment the Forest Whitaker is against all action and involvement with the human right group, in the '60's, who fight for the rights of the colored but the next he does not only gets voted leader, he is the one that screams the hardest, fights the toughest and he is willing to risk everything, even though at first he was incredibly protective and kept himself to the background. Not very convincing. Also quite ridicules how all of the KKK-people get portrayed as evil James Bond-type of villains. On top of that, the colored people get all portrayed as soft-spoken, friendly cat loving people to help to make the contrast of good and evil within this movie even bigger. It doesn't really work too well for any of the movie its realism.

I really like Bill Duke as an actor and I will love him always for some of his movies ("Commando", "Predator") but it seems that he still has a lot to learn as a director.

It's a shame, since the movie itself is trying to tell a real good and intriguing story, that's based on true events. But the movie just doesn't make that much of an impact with it. It all got done in a very average and formulaic way. So it are not only the technical aspect that makes this seems like a very average and cheap movie but also its lacking narrative.



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