Best of the Web
Just as the book is a classic of American literature, its film adaptation is a classic American movie. Don't just take our word for it—take Harper Lee's. She called screenwriter Horton Foote's adaptation of her book "one of the best translations of a book to film ever made." Gregory Peck won an Academy Award for his performance as Atticus Finch and became one of Lee's close friends.
In one of those weird cases of pop culture synchronicity, Hollywood released back-to-back biopics of writer Truman Capote in the mid-2000s. His lifelong friend Harper Lee makes an appearance in each. In this film, which focuses on the period Capote spent researching and writing In Cold Blood, Catherine Keener plays a taciturn, supportive Harper Lee.
This movie retells Truman Capote's life in a mock-documentary format. Sandra Bullock plays Lee, whose character is explored more in depth in this film that in its earlier counterpart. Both movies are well-made and take a unique approach to their common story.
This film adaptation of Truman Capote's autobiographical novel paints a luscious portrait of the rural Southern towns where he and Lee grew up. The scenes between the Capote-inspired character and the tomboy Isabel modeled on Lee are particularly touching.
This is an excellent documentary about the infamous Scottsboro case, which transpired after two impoverished white women accused nine black teenagers of rape in the 1930s. The movie does an especially great job of presenting the complex social politics of the Depression-era South in which the trial took place.
In 1955, 14-year-old Emmett Till was savagely murdered by a gang of white men for allegedly whistling at a white woman. Outrage over Till's murder helped spark the American Civil Rights Movement. This excellent PBS documentary describes the world of social injustice and racial inequality that led to real-life tragedies, such as Till's death, and inspired fictional accounts, like Tom Robinson's trial.