Gregory Peck, Mary Badham, Phillip Alford, John Megna, Frank Overton, Rosemary Murphy, Ruth White, Brock Peters, Estelle Evans, Paul Fix, Collin Wilcox, James Anderson, Alice Ghostley, Robert Duvall, William Windom, Crahan Denton, Richard Hale
Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck), a lawyer in the Depression-era South, defends a black man (Brock Peters) against an undeserved rape charge, and his kids against prejudice.
A few months ago I read Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" for the first time. It was before she died, by the way. I absolutely loved the novel, and I was a hundred percent positive this film, although it's a classic, would have disappointed me, because you know, hardly movies are as good as novels are. I couldn't have been more wrong, because Mulligan's "To Kill a Mockingbird" is a remarkable, utterly moving drama that really does justice to one of the best books ever written.
For those of you who are not familiar with it, the story is told through the eyes of Jean Louise Finch. It is about her father, Atticus Finch, and her family, and it takes place over several months of many years earlier. It is a beautiful psychological insight on childhood, about kids fantasies and the reality that surrounds them. But most important, it is a wonderful, and powerful story about racism and prejudice in our society, not only in the 1930's, but sadly today as well.
The moral of the book - man is scared of the unknown, and fear and ignorance can lead a man to do horrible things - is delivered to perfection thanks to Horton Foote's brilliant screenplay.
Robert Mulligan's direction manages to make the film both sentimental and powerful, as anyone who has read the novel would have wanted it to be, and it is has infinite sensitivity: in every single scene there are the sincere, innocents eyes of the young protagonists.
Gregory Peck gives an excellent performance as Atticus Finch, a man who believes in the integrity of justice, yet recognizes the failings of the justice system. He brings to the screen the exact same character Harper Lee put on paper. Brock Peters is terrific as Tom Robinson, the black man falsely accused of raping a white girl. The trio of kids also does a great job, and in his screen debut Robert Duvall brings to life Boo Radley, the mysterious neighbor, and conveys great emotions with no dialogue at all.
Everyone should watch this film, because it really makes you understand what life is like when you live in a society that rejects you and discriminates against you all the time without a valid reason.
Atticus Finch: If you just learn a single trick, Scout, you'll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.