• Review Date: February 7, 2008
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2001
  • Running Time: 118 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Humanizing look at start of civil rights movement.
  • Review Date: February 7, 2008
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2001
  • Running Time: 118 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The message of nonviolence, equal rights, and humane treatment for all prevails over discrimination, hatred, and acts of violence.


Scary images of people being arrested, homes firebombed; a woman flashbacks to a man's body hanging from a tree after he is lynched. A man receives threatening phone calls.


Kisses, hugs, and cuddling between man and wife. People dance close in a nightclub. A man describes himself as a homosexual.


Some racial language and a few swear words.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Adults are shown smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie deals with the civil rights movement and segregation in the American South. While not as violent as actual footage from the movement, there are some scary images including fire bombings and arrests as well as a general undercurrent of fear. There is also racial name-calling and stereotypes.

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What's the story?

BOYCOTT is a behind-the-scenes look at the famous Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955. When Rosa Parks, a black, upstanding citizen of the community, refuses to give up her seat to a white man, she is jailed, giving the black community of Montgomery an opportunity to stage a one-day bus boycott to protest bus segregation. A young preacher, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., is selected as the leader of the newly formed Montgomery Improvement Association, the organization that will lead the boycott. The movie follows how a one-day event turned into a standoff that lasted well over a year and gave rise to some of the greatest leaders of the nonviolent civil rights movement.

Is it any good?


This fantastic movie stars underrated actor Jeffrey Wright who brings the iconic Dr. King's humanity and vulnerability to the screen. His portrayal reminds viewers that King was a very young man, new father, and new pastor when he was elected leader of the MIA. He and other organizers, including Rev. Ralph Abernathy (Terrence Howard) and Jo Ann Robinson (CCH Pounder) are shown as real people, often wondering if they were doing the right thing and worried about the repercussions of their actions.

In another smart decision, director Clarke Johnson shot the movie documentary style, creating an intimacy between the audience and characters. Johnson also used a dynamic mix of music and a "what if King lived now" segment to bridge the gap between the '50s and today -- providing an excellent jumping-off point for discussion. DVD extras include more information about key figures in the Montgomery boycott, civil rights facts, and a featurette with the actors and director of the film.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about discrimination and standing up for what is right. Are there people in our time that are discriminated against? Why is discrimination wrong? What methods could kids today use to protest an unjust rule?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:February 24, 2001
DVD release date:January 8, 2002
Cast:Carmen Ejogo, Jeffrey Wright, Terrence Howard
Director:Clark Johnson
Run time:118 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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