7.8/10
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36 user 15 critic

4 Little Girls (1997)

TV-14 | | Documentary, History | 9 July 1997 (USA)
A documentary of the notorious racial terrorist bombing of an African American church during the Civil Rights Movement.

Director:

Spike Lee
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 9 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Maxine McNair Maxine McNair ... Self - Mother of Denise McNair
Chris McNair Chris McNair ... Self - Father of Denise McNair
Helen Pegues Helen Pegues ... Self - Denise's Aunt
Queen Nunn Queen Nunn ... Self - Neighbor of Denise McNair
Arthur Hanes Jr. Arthur Hanes Jr. ... Self - Defense Attorney for Bob Chambliss
Howell Raines ... Self - New York Times Editor
Harold McNair Harold McNair ... Self - Denise's Uncle
Carole C. Smitherman Carole C. Smitherman ... Self - Denise's Childhood Friend (as Carole C. Smitherman Esq.)
Wamo Reed Robertson Wamo Reed Robertson ... Self - Carole's Aunt
Dianne Braddock Dianne Braddock ... Self - Carole's Sister
Carolyn Lee Brown Carolyn Lee Brown ... Self - Carole's Childhood Friend
Alpha Robertson Alpha Robertson ... Self - Mother of Carole Robertson
Wyatt Tee Walker Wyatt Tee Walker ... Self - Former Executive Director of SCLC
Fred Lee Shuttlesworth Fred Lee Shuttlesworth ... Self - Pres. of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights
Florence Terrell Florence Terrell ... Self - School Teacher
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Storyline

This film recounts the people and events leading up to the one of the most despicable hate-crimes during the height of the civil-rights movement, the bombing of the 16th Street Church in Birmingham, Alabama. In that attack, four little African-American girls lost their lives and a nation was simultaneously revolted, angered and galvanized to push the fight for equality and justice on. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@execulink.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The story of four young girls who paid the price for a nation's ignorance. See more »


Certificate:

TV-14 | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Spike Lee first became interested in making a film about the Birmingham bombing as a student at New York University in 1983. After reading a New York Times Magazine article about the incident, he was moved to write to Chris McNair, the father of Denise, one of the victims, asking for permission to tell her story on film. McNair turned down the young, aspiring filmmaker's offer. According to McNair, he changed his mind about supporting Lee's film idea due to learning about the depth and precision of Lee's research. See more »

Quotes

Howell Raines: A day in 1957, in the afternoon, the evening newscast, there's a piece of film of a gang of white men beating Fred Shuttlesworth, in the street outside of Phillips high school where he'd taken his children. With chains they beat him to the ground. And the reason it was riveting for me, I was fourteen years old, was that the police said they couldn't find the men who did it. And I recognized one of the men. I knew who he was. I'd seen him at Jack Cash's barbecue and I knew the police hung out at...
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Soundtracks

Alabama
Written by John Coltrane
Used by permission of Jowcol Music Publishing (BMI)
Performed by John Coltrane
Courtesy of MCA Records
By arrangement with Universal Music Special Markets
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User Reviews

One tight piece of work
3 September 2006 | by oyasonSee all my reviews

Spike Lee has done us all a favor in the production of his documentary 4 LITTLE GIRLS, which chronicles the events around the bombing of 16th Avenue Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, on September the 15th, 1963. The families of three of the victims Denise Mcnair, Cynthia Wesley and Carole Robertson are interviewed for this film. Some information is offered up on the fourth victim, Addie Mae Collins. The history is also presented in the context of the Civil Rights movement, and several witnesses of the period- Fred Shuttlesworth, James Bevel, and Wyatt Tee Walker among others appear here.

The film also offers some coverage of the trial of Robert Chambliss as ringleader/lead conspirator in the case, which took place fourteen years later. Apparently Chambliss had a long history in the series of bombings which took place in Birmingham between 1949 and the 16th Street Bombing, which itself galvanized sections of the country in the struggle for civil rights as few events ever would. Typical of Spike Lee, some small focus is lent to the fact that violent harassment of the black church continues in this country to this day.

In summation, 4 LITTLE GIRLS offers a tight glimpse at a chapter of history whose impact is (amazingly enough) largely forgotten by all too many of our fellow citizens. And Spike Lee, in his completion of this ambitious project, has finally demonstrated the depth of his commitment to a richer representation of African American political and cultural struggle.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 July 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

4 Little Girls See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$13,528, 13 July 1997

Gross USA:

$130,146

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$130,146
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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