10 Martin Luther King Movies for History Buffs

Martin Luther King Movies

Martin Luther King Jr. is an iconic figure in the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. He dedicated his life to pursuing equality, justice, and peace.

To commemorate his extraordinary life and impact, filmmakers have created a collection of Martin Luther King movies that brings his story to the silver screen. 

The films range from critically acclaimed biopics to powerful documentaries that offer broader insights into racial inequality struggles.

Buckle up for this lineup of Martin Luther King movies, a profound portrayal of the essence of his remarkable journey.

1. Selma (2014)

  • Cast: David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tom Wilkinson. 
  •  IMDb rating: 7.5/10

In this flick, you’ll witness David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr. in all his grandeur.

You’ll even find it hard to believe your ears when his speeches begin to hit like a zinger. He delivered an outstanding performance. 

The story is a gripping tale of courage and determination that will tug at your heartstrings.

It has a cast that brings together exceptional performances in a blended symphony of talents. 

2. Boycott (2001)

  • Cast: Jeffrey Wright, Terrence Howard, CCH Pounder. 
  •  IMDb rating: 7.4/10

Rosa Parks decides she hasn’t got time for backseat blues. But she doesn’t know her defiance would set the wheels in motion for one heck of a ride.

This is one of the Martin Luther King movies that present Montgomery, Ala, where the Civil Rights Movement’s dramatic chapter unfolded.

Witness Rosa Parks, the fierce front-seat warrior, rubbing shoulders with the giants of history, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Boycott, uses archival footage to transport you smack-dab into the strained atmosphere of the 1950s.

3. King (1978)

  • Cast: Paul Winfield, Cicely Tyson, Ossie Davis. 
  • IMDb rating: 7.8/10

Journey through the life of the legendary Martin Luther King Jr., from his early ‘holy-rollin’ days.

He began as a Baptist minister in the peachy city of Atlanta during the ’50s and built up to the moment that rocked the nation in 1968.

Will he overcome the ‘jailhouse blues’ and ‘hose-down horrors’? Will his powerful speeches resonate through time and space?

One thing’s for sure, this flick among Martin Luther King movies will load you up with history and the importance of equality. 

4. Our Friend, Martin (1999)

  • Voice Cast: Edward Asner, Angela Bassett, Lucas Black. 
  • IMDb rating: 6.6/10

In Our Friend, two teens embark on an epic adventure through the wibbly-wobbly corridors of history.

They do this with one goal in mind, to meet the legendary Martin Luther King Jr. himself. Can you dig it?

Watch these teens go through the good, the bad, and the “I Have a Dream” moments. So that you know, this isn’t your ordinary time-travel tale.

It’s an inspiring escapade that proves that one man’s dream can change the world. 

5. Betty & Coretta (2013)

  • Cast: Mary J. Blige, Angela Bassett, Malik Yoba. 
  • IMDb rating: 6.0/10

In a world rocked by tragic loss, two extraordinary women are bound by fate.

Betty & Coretta is the spellbinding saga of Coretta Scott King and Dr. Betty Shabazz. Theirs is a friendship so powerful it could topple towers of prejudice. 

With Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X gone, the world trembled in uncertainty.

When the shadows of grief loomed large, these fierce women didn’t curl up. They marched forward like queens leading a civil rights charge. 

7. King: A Filmed Record… Montgomery to Memphis (1970)

  • Cast: Martin Luther King Jr., Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward
  • IMDb rating: 7.8/10

This film presents Martin Luther King Jr. in light of the sizzling hot seat of the 1955 bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama.

It quickly jumps forward to the dazzling heights of his relentless pursuit of racial equality.

We’ve got Harry Belafonte, the king of cool crooners, Paul Newman, and the unmistakable voice of James Earl Jones. 

This isn’t just one of those old Martin Luther King movies. It is a high-flying and heart-wrenching tribute to a legend.

8. The Witness: From the Balcony of Room 306 (2008)

  • Cast: Samuel L. Jackson (narrator)
  • IMDb rating: 8.2/10

Directed by the mastermind Adam Pertofsky, this film is no joke because of its Oscar nomination under its belt.

It even vied for the prestigious title of “Best Documentary Short Subject” at the 81st Academy Awards. A real heavyweight contender. 

From the balcony of Room 306, you’ll be drawn to pivotal moments that will blow you away.

The film honors the incredible life and untimely departure of Martin Luther King Jr.

9. King in the Wilderness (2018)

  • Cast: Martin Luther King Jr., Harry Belafonte, Clarence B. Jones
  • IMDb rating: 7.2/10

Join the fun as MLK juggles civil rights and Congress while diving headfirst into activism.

King in the Wilderness is an unmissable ode to an extraordinary man who shook the world with his words and actions.

The film is packed with strength, tears, and many fantastic moments. King’s speeches are so powerful you may be moved to wipe a tear or two.

Brace yourself for one of those Martin Luther King movies about the struggle and a conclusion that is well deserved. 

10. Eyes on the Prize (1987)

  • Cast: Julian Bond, Alfre Woodard, Martin Luther King Jr.
  • IMDb rating: 9.1/10

They say the eyes are the windows to the soul, but in this award-winning documentary, they become the portals to history.

Although it is one of the Martin Luther King movies, it is not just about King alone.

It is a star-studded show featuring a whole constellation of brave souls who fought alongside him.

This movie experience will make you want to hug the nearest history book. 

After all, who said history couldn’t be both enlightening and entertaining?

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