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Ghosts of Mississippi (1996)

PG-13 | | Drama, History | 3 January 1997 (USA)
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A Mississippi district attorney and the widow of Medgar Evers struggle to finally bring a white racist to justice for the 1963 murder of the civil rights leader.

Director:

Rob Reiner

Writer:

Lewis Colick
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Alec Baldwin ... Bobby DeLaughter
James Woods ... Byron De La Beckwith
Virginia Madsen ... Dixie DeLaughter
Whoopi Goldberg ... Myrlie Evers
Susanna Thompson ... Peggy Lloyd
Craig T. Nelson ... Ed Peters
Lucas Black ... Burt DeLaughter
Joseph Tello Joseph Tello ... Drew DeLaughter
Alexa PenaVega ... Claire DeLaughter (as Alexa Vega)
William H. Macy ... Charlie Crisco
Ben Bennett Ben Bennett ... Benny Bennett (as Lloyd 'Benny' Bennett)
Darrell Evers Darrell Evers ... Himself
Yolanda King Yolanda King ... Reena Evers
Jerry Levine ... Jerry Mitchell
James Van Evers James Van Evers ... Van Evers
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Storyline

Ghosts of Mississippi is a real-life drama covering the final trial of Byron De La Beckwith, the assassin of heroic civil rights leader Medgar Evers. The movie begins with the murder on June 12, 1963 and the events surrounding the two initial trials which both ended in hung juries. The movie then covers district attorney Bobby De Laughter's transformation and alliance with Myrlie Evers, Medgar Evers' widow, as he becomes more involved with bringing Beckwith to trial for the third time 30 years later. Byron De La Beckwith was convicted on February 5, 1994, after having remained a free man for much of the 30 years after the murder, giving justice for Medgar Evers' family. Written by Joel Schesser <joelsd@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In 1963, civil rights leader Medgar Evers was murdered in his own driveway. For 30 years, his assassin has remained free. Is it ever too late to do the right thing? See more »

Genres:

Drama | History

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for a strong scene of violence and for racial dialogue | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 January 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Fantasmas del pasado See more »

Filming Locations:

Greenwood, Mississippi, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$36,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$168,012, 22 December 1996, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$13,052,741, 16 March 1997
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS (8 channels)| Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

William H. Macy, Spencer Garrett and Bill Smitrovich later appeared in Air Force One (1997). See more »

Goofs

When DeLaughter is brushing his son's hair in the bathroom, the child actor looks off-camera (either at his parent, the director, or a cue card). See more »

Quotes

Charlie Evers: I don't believe in the system Bobby DeLaughter... but I believe in you
Charlie Evers: If I had got in the same room as Byron De La Beckwith I would've snapped his chicken neck with my bare hands
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Soundtracks

Dixie's Land (I Wish I Was in Dixie)
(uncredited)
Written by Daniel Decatur Emmett
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User Reviews

A story worth telling, well told
15 July 2001 | by GeofbobSee all my reviews

Based on fact and directed by Rob Reiner, Ghosts recounts the investigation, and retrial in 1994 - after two mistrials in the 60s - of Byron de la Beckwith for the racist shooting in 1963 of Medgar Evers, an NAACP activist. The film has gained renewed topicality with the recent conviction of another white supremacist for the Birmingham, Alabama, Baptist Church bombing, also in 1963.

Alec Baldwin gives a solid, and sometimes stolid, performance in the central role of prosecuting DA, Bobby DeLaughter (pronounced DeLaw), himself from Mississippi's white uppercrust, whose marriage hits the rocks because of his pursuit of the case. James Woods, convincingly made up to look over 70 for most of the movie, is electrifying as the arrogant, hateful Beckwith. Whoopi Goldberg portrays Medgar's widow with a lot of dignity and even a touch of humour, but it would have been understandable if she had also displayed a little more bitterness.

The movie is possibly not as powerful as Reiner hoped, partly no doubt because he was restricted by the facts. In particular, the retrial seems to have thrown up little or no new evidence, thus making the courtroom action less dramatic than in a fictional movie. Perhaps a greater criticism is that the intense focus on Baldwin/DeLaughter, who is in almost every scene, tends to turn him into the hero of the movie; whereas it should be Medgar Evers, who as a civil rights activist in one of the most bigoted areas of the USA deserves everyone's undying admiration.

Despite the movie's flaws, it is gripping for most of its 130 minutes, and this was certainly a story worth telling.


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