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17 user 9 critic

Black Like Me (1964)

Approved | | Drama | 20 May 1964 (USA)
Based on the true story of a white reporter who, at the height of the civil-rights movement, temporarily darkened his skin so that he could experience the realities of a black man's life in the segregated South.

Director:

Carl Lerner

Writers:

John Howard Griffin (book), Carl Lerner (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Whitmore ... John Finley Horton
Sorrell Booke ... Dr. Jackson
Roscoe Lee Browne ... Christopher
Al Freeman Jr. ... Thomas Newcomb
Will Geer ... Truckdriver
Robert Gerringer ... Ed Saunders
Clifton James ... Eli Carr
John Marriott John Marriott ... Hodges
Thelma Oliver Thelma Oliver ... Georgie
Lenka Peterson ... Lucy Horton (as Lenka Petersen)
P. Jay Sidney P. Jay Sidney ... Frank Newcomb (as P.J. Sidney)
Billie Allen Billie Allen ... Vertell
Alan Bergmann Alan Bergmann ... Charles Maynard
Stanley Brock ... Salesman
Heywood Hale Broun
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Storyline

Black Like Me is the true account of John Griffin's experiences when he passed as a black man. John Horton takes treatments to darken his skin and leaves his home in Texas to travel throughout the South. At one stop, Horton encounters a black shoe shine man, Burt Wilson, who befriends him and shows him how to "act right" so that he can fit more easily into the African American culture. It is through Wilson that Horton learns the art of shining shoes. Most of his encounters with whites are quite degrading and disturb him. As a hitchhiker, John meets several white men who refer to black men and women in disparaging ways which angers John. Throughout the movie, John is harassed and persecuted by whites without reason. In one of his many stops throughout the South, John finds himself on a park bench sitting by a white woman. A white man walks by and says, "You'd better find another place to sit." Even though he had a college degree, menial jobs were all that he could find. John meets ... Written by Broncine G. Carter

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"I changed the color of my skin... now I know what it feels like to be BLACK!" See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Latin

Release Date:

20 May 1964 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Czarny jak ja See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

The Hilltop Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Final film of Ralph Dunn. See more »

Goofs

John finds the 'Black and Tan' magazine at a newsstand. The salesman looks right into the camera and clearly has nothing in his mouth. In the very next shot, the magazine salesman is reading and has a cigar in his mouth. See more »

Connections

Version of Chyornyy, kak ya (1969) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Don't stop with the movie; read the book
4 April 2011 | by mielmani-611-90054See all my reviews

Unfortunately, the quality of this movie was hindered by the poor production values of the period, as well as a low budget. This is the true story of John Howard Griffin (in the movie referred to as John Finley Horton, a Caucasian man who cared enough about the issues of racism that he put himself and his family in danger by posing as an African American man who traveled through the then racist Deep South of the United States in the late 1950's. The movie does not entirely succeed in capturing the terror, the weariness, the lack of dignity, and the outright hatred experienced by the lead character simply because of the color of his skin. However, seeing this movie should stimulate one's curiosity enough to read the book, one of the best and most disturbing I have ever read and whose message is still relevant today And for those of you poor souls who believe that this movie is little more than an example of "reverse racism," I suggest you consult a dictionary because there is no such term.


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