A chronicle of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965.

Director:

Ava DuVernay

Writer:

Paul Webb
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3,952 ( 525)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 57 wins & 91 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
David Oyelowo ... Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Carmen Ejogo ... Coretta Scott King
Jim France ... Gunnar Jahn
Trinity Simone Trinity Simone ... Girl #1
Mikeria Howard Mikeria Howard ... Girl #2
Jordan Rice ... Girl #3
Ebony Billups Ebony Billups ... Girl #4
Nadej K. Bailey ... Girl #5 (as Nadej Bailey)
Elijah Oliver Elijah Oliver ... Boy #1
Oprah Winfrey ... Annie Lee Cooper
Clay Chappell ... Registrar
Tom Wilkinson ... President Lyndon B. Johnson
Giovanni Ribisi ... Lee White
Haviland Stillwell ... President's Secretary
André Holland ... Andrew Young
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Storyline

The unforgettable true story chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement. Director Ava DuVernay's "Selma" tells the story of how the revered leader and visionary Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and his brothers and sisters in the movement prompted change that forever altered history. Written by Miss W J Mcdermott

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The gripping story of Martin Luther King Jr's historic struggle for equality. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic material including violence, a suggestive moment, and brief strong language | See all certifications »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The only film that year to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, but not at the Producers Guild of America Awards. See more »

Goofs

A harvest gold blender is in the Kings' kitchen. Harvest gold was first available in the late 1960s. See more »

Quotes

President Lyndon B. Johnson: [Speaking to George Wallace] I'll be damned to let history put me in the same place as the likes of you.
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Crazy Credits

Apart from the production companies involved, there are no opening credits. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Film 2018: Episode #44.6 (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

One Morning Soon
Written by Traditional
Performed by Joyce Collins & Johnita Collins
Courtesy of Tompkins Square, LLC
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User Reviews

 
Dreams
7 January 2015 | by ferguson-6See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. Historical dramatizations can be a tricky business, as delivering both truth and entertainment value is quite challenging. There is always an expert quick to point out any artistic license taken at the expense of historical accuracy. Of course, most movie lovers have come to accept that even the best-intentioned Hollywood looks at history will be at least as focused on selling tickets as educating the public. Because of this, the swirling controversies for this film are neither surprising nor overly distracting from its message.

March 7, 1965 is known as Bloody Sunday and marks one of the most despicable moments in U.S. history. It was also a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement and can be viewed as shrewd strategy from Martin Luther King, Jr. and his organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The movie makes it clear that MLK had a full understanding that Selma, Alabama and it's racist, redneck Sheriff Jim Clark provided the perfect opportunity for a violent reaction to King's demonstrations and protests. It also makes it very clear that there was boundless ignorance, hatred and racism on the part of many southern whites. If the subject matter is somehow not enough to grab your attention, the startling event that occurs 5 minutes in will surely leave you shaken.

The film does an outstanding job of focusing on two pieces of this most complex puzzle: 1. the boots on the ground – the grass roots movement of the people, and 2. the ongoing political debates occurring between MLK and LBJ, between LBJ and his staff, and between MLK and his lieutenants.

The Civil Rights Act had already been passed, so the efforts were in hopes of overcoming the obstacles faced by southern blacks who wished to vote. One of the film's best scenes has activist Annie Lee Cooper (Oprah Winfrey) trying yet again to have her voter registration processed, but being rebuffed by a county clerk through an impossible Q&A session. These intimate moments are where the film excels: Coretta questioning MLK on his love for her, MLK speaking with grandfather of Jimmie Lee Jackson outside the morgue, and MLK turning down the proposal of US Attorney John Doar (Alessandro Nivola).

In an odd twist of casting, four of the leading characters are played by Brits: David Oyelowo as MLK, Tom Wilkinson as LBJ, Tim Roth as George Wallace and Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King. All four are excellent, but it's Mr. Roth as the racist-beyond-belief Alabama Governor Wallace that is the most slitheringly evil, while Mr. Oyelowo gives what can only be described as a towering performance of the man many of us know only from history books and news reels (and a January holiday).

The supporting cast is vast and talented, and because the story spends so much time on the individuals, many of these spend little time on screen. In addition to Andrew Young (Andre Holland), Reverend Hosea Williams (Wendell Pierce), J Edgar Hoover (Dylan Baker), and Lee C White (Giovanni Ribisi), we also see activist Diana Nash (Tessa Thompson), CT Vivian (Corey Reynolds), John Lewis (Stephen James), and Judge Johnson (Martin Sheen). The most bizarre moment has Malcolm X (Nigel Thatch) in a quasi-Mr Rogers depiction as he discussed his new found approach with Coretta.

The original King speeches are owned by another studio so those delivered here by Oyelowo have been re-written and revised, yet the words and Oyelowo's powerful oratory deliver the message loud and clear. While it can be argued that the film delivers only one point of view (the FBI was no friend to the movement), it can just as easily be argued that previous films have done the same thing – only from the "other" perspective (Mississippi Burning, Ghosts of Mississippi).

In what can be viewed as the first serious movie on Martin Luther King, director Ava DuVernay announces her presence with authority. She will have no need to return to her career as a movie publicist, and we will be watching to see what type of projects appeal to her after this. In a brilliant move, the story focuses on a period of just a few months in 1965, rather than tackling the MLK legacy. She presents him as a man with strengths, flaws, doubts, and determination. It's clear why so many followed him, and it's all the more painful to know that so many resisted.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

UK | USA | France

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 January 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Selma See more »

Filming Locations:

Marietta, Georgia, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$571,450, 28 December 2014

Gross USA:

$52,076,908

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$66,787,908
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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