6.7/10
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60 user 31 critic

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.

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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:
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Dixie DeLaughter
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Peggy Lloyd
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Joseph Tello ...
Drew DeLaughter
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Claire DeLaughter (as Alexa Vega)
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Ben Bennett ...
Benny Bennett (as Lloyd 'Benny' Bennett)
Darrell Evers ...
Himself
Yolanda King ...
Reena Evers
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Jerry Mitchell
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>

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Taglines:

From the director of A Few Good Men comes a compelling true story. 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 »

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Details

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Release Date:

3 January 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fantasmas del pasado  »

Filming Locations:

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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:

(8 channels)|

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Bobby DeLaughter and his new wife are in bed, she is reading "North Toward Home", a memoir by Jackson (Mississippi) native Willie Morris, former editor of Harper's, who was an uncredited consultant on the movie and who later wrote about the making of the movie and its implications on Jackson. See more »

Goofs

When calling from the movie theater, Alec Baldwin goes to a pay phone in the lobby and dials the number without inserting any coins and is able to connect without it being a collect call. See more »

Quotes

[about Medgar Evers' widow pursuing the murder case for decades]
Bobby DeLaughter: I think about her keeping this thing alive all this time. Imagine a woman loving a man so much.
Charlie Crisco: Hell, I can't even get a woman to love me while I'm still alive.
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Connections

Referenced in 30 Rock: 100: Part 1 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free
Music by Billy Taylor
Lyrics by Billy Taylor and Dick Dallas
Performed by Dionne Farris
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
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User Reviews

Not bad -- but we've been here before
22 June 2000 | by See all my reviews

I've seen this movie several times on the pay channels (the joys of modern television!). Overall the film is pretty good, and doesn't seem to take great license with history, which is refreshing. My only serious beef about this movie is the same as with Mississippi Burning and other films about the civil-rights struggle: Why do all of these movies insist on providing a white male central character, out to do good for the oppressed black people? Why not do this movie from the POV of Evers' widow, or brother? Because the (white male) power structure in Hollywood feels that audiences won't relate to stories without having a WASP in the middle of the action. This is not to minimize Bobby DeLaughter's role in bringing Byron de la Beckwith to justice; it's just to say that DeLaughter came along very late in the overall history of this case.

So, as to be expected, we're shown that DeLaughter braves ostracism, family conflict, and a death threat (probably a lot of them in real life). All very true, but we lose the fact that the Evers family went through all of this and more in 30 years of keeping the flame alive.

There are some good performances in here, especially James Woods, who had to be having a blast playing de la Beckwith, a mental midget and virulent racist in real life too. Baldwin is okay as DeLaughter but as bland as he normally is, even while affecting the Delta accent. Whoopi Goldberg is very good as the contemporary Myrlie Evers Williams, but ridiculous as the young widow in the flashback sequences. She's obviously too old, and it leaves you wondering if they were just too cheap to pay another actress or if Goldberg's ego is so large that she wouldn't allow it. The actor who played Evers' brother is so outstanding in such a small amount of screen time, you have to wonder why they didn't do more with him.

It's not a bad movie by any stretch, and it does give us a chance to see a little of what Medgar Evers was all about. I only wish that the film had been more about Medgar and Myrlie and much less about DeLaughter. As one other reviewer commented, this feels more like a made-for-TV movie than a theatrical release.


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