Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Onscreen

Monday, January 16 is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Whether it’s with a dramatic portrayal or archival documentary footage, you can learn more about Dr. King’s life and legacy with films from our collection.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Films

Selma

Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Ava DuVernay, Selma transports viewers back in time to the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. David Oyelowo leads the talented cast with his portrayal of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The film provides a comprehensive look into the Selma to Montgomery marches and Dr. King’s life during major events of the Civil Rights Movement.

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John Lewis: Good Trouble

In this documentary, former U.S. Congressman John Lewis tells his life story in his own words. Lewis was at the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement and, at times, worked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The documentary specifically covers Lewis’ time with Dr. King in 1957 and also how Dr. King influenced Lewis’ work overall.

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All the Way

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is portrayed by Anthony Mackie in this critically acclaimed film. All the Way is centered on Lyndon B. Johnson’s (played by Bryan Cranston) presidency and his work to pass the Civil Rights Act. The film provides viewers with a greater insight into the relationship between Dr. King and the country’s leadership during the Civil Rights Movement.

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Selma, Lord, Selma

This biographical film brings the events of “Bloody Sunday” and the Civil Rights Movement to the screen unlike the other films listed. The film’s main character, Sheyann, is a 9-year-old girl living in Selma, Alabama during the 1960s. Sheyann and her friends spend time with King and learn from him while he’s visiting Selma to help locals with issues during the Civil Rights Movement. Selma, Lord, Selma allows viewers to experience King’s life and work through the perspective of the children he inspired and influenced.

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