The 1962 American drama film, To Kill A Mockingbird, is often considered to be one of the greatest films ever made. The film is based on the novel by Harper Lee published in 1960. The book was immediately successful, winning the Pulitzer Prize, and has become a classic of modern American literature. The plot and characters are loosely based on the author’s observations of her family and neighbors, as well as on an event that occurred near her hometown in 1936, when she was 10 years old.
To Kill A Mockingbird was directed by Robert Mulligan, with screenplay by Horton Foote. The film is set in a small Alabama town in the Depression-era South in the 1930s. Lawyer Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his children against prejudice. Finch is a scrupulously honest and highly respected lawyer, a role Gregory Peck interprets to perfection. The trial and surrounding events are seen through the eyes of Finch’s six-year-old daughter Scout (Mary Badham.) To Kill A Mockingbird carries its audience on an odyssey through the fires of prejudice and injustice in 1932 Alabama, This process exposes Scout and her brother Jem to the evils of racism and stereotyping.
The film’s cast includes child actors Mary Badham and Philip Alford as Scout and Jem, and John Megna as Dill, (a character modeled on Harper Lee’s childhood friend, Truman Capote.) The film also features wonderful performances by Brock Peters, Rosemary Murphy, William Windom, Frank Overton, and Robert Duvall, who delivers a stunning performance as the Finch’s ominous neighbor.
To Kill a Mockingbird was a huge box office success, earning more than 10 times its budget and an overwhelmingly positive response from critics. It won three Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Peck, and was nominated for a total of eight. Previous to being turned into a film, the book had been translated into more than 40 languages, sold more than 30 million copies worldwide, and was voted one of the best novels of the 20th century by U.S. librarians.
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