11 of The Most Racist Movies Ever Made

11 of The Most Racist Movies Ever Made

song-of-the-south
Song Of The South (946)
Disney’s attempt to promote racial unity in the 1946 film “Song Of The South” was a complete failure. Based on post-Civil War plantation life, the story is difficult to watch, especially its portrayal of the ex-slave, Uncle Remus, who is so happy with his circumstances in the South.
Time magazine called the film “topnotch Disney.” In 2003, the Online Film Critics Society ranked the film as the 67th greatest animated film of all time. A special Academy Award was given “To James Baskett for his able and heart-warming characterization of Uncle Remus.”

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Gone With The Wind (1939)
“Gone With The Wind” glorifies the South during the time of slavery by suggesting that the region was better off during that era. It features heroine Scarlett O’Hara whose husband dies fighting for the Confederate Army in the Civil War. After her loss, the film drags viewers through a series of her hardships, implying that her life was so much better before Abraham Lincoln emancipated the slaves.
Frank S. Nugent for the The New York Times found it to be an “interesting story beautifully told”.
At the 12th Academy Awards held in 1940, Gone with the Wind set a record for Academy Award wins and nominations, winning in eight of the competitive categories it was nominated in, from a total of thirteen nominations.

white-dog
White Dog (1982)
Movies are sometimes uncomfortable to watch when race is the topic, but Paramount didn’t seem to care when it made “White Dog.”  In this film, a madman trains a white German Shepherd to attack and kill Black people. The dog is eventually rescued by a Black owner, who tries to reverse the dog’s racist training.
At the conclusion of the film, the dog is accidentally trained to start killing white people instead and it is quickly shot dead.
Dave Kehr, of the Chicago Tribune, praised Fuller for “pulling no punches” in the film and for his use of metaphors to present racism “as a mental disease, for which there may or may not be a cure”.

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10,000 BC (2008)
This film, “10,000 BC,”  has a template that is frequently found in Hollywood films. The white hero, against all odds, is able to gain support of Black tribes to help kill an enemy, so he can rescue his love.
The film received largely negative reviews from critics, stating that the movie is mainly visual and lacks a firm screenplay.

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King Kong (1933)
In “King Kong” movies, especially the 1933 version, Blacks are depicted as subhuman, or primate. In this film, Blacks didn’t even have a distinct way of communicating, only grunting and growling. There are also underlying racist comparisons between King Kong and Black men. King Kong was forcibly taken from his land and brought to the United States in chains. He breaks free then meets his demise due to his insatiable desire for a white woman.
Variety thought the film a powerful adventure.

the-birth-of-the-nation
The Birth of a Nation (1915)
“The Birth of a Nation” is a silent movie that was released in 1915 to critical acclaim for its portrayal of African-Americans, played by white actors in blackface. The film portrayed the Ku Klux Klan as victims of African-Americans.
The film earned $10 million in its initial release, and over the next 35 years increased its total to $50 million, holding the mantle of the highest grossing film until it was overtaken by “Gone with the Wind“.
breakfast-at-tiffanies
Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961)
“Breakfast At Tiffany’s,” is considered an American classic. However, because it features a minstrel-show, buck-toothed portrayal of a Japanese-American, played by Mickey Rooney, the film has also been strongly criticized for its classic American racism.
The film was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

fantasia
Fantasia (1940)
This entire list could have been dedicated to Disney projects, but “Fantasia” is one of the most blatant violations committed by animation filmmaker. Even in Fantasia’s beautiful, magical landscape, the black centaurs are hoof-polishing handmaidens for prettier, superior Aryan centaurs. Disney tried very hard to erase this from movie-goers’ memories by releasing later versions—minus the pickaninny centaur slaves.
Roger Ebert rated the film four stars out of four, and noted that throughout Fantasia, “Disney pushes the edges of the envelope”.
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Soul Man (1986)
The comedy “Soul Man” was a misguided attempt to expose the ridiculousness of racism using humor – and the blackface wasn’t the reason. Although “Soul Man” did accomplish some of its objectives, the film also reinforced a number of the stereotypes that it sought to disparage. Having a shoe polish-coated character beat out the African-American applicants for an academic-based Harvard scholarship targeted to them, was a grave miscalculation.
In 2008, New York Press‘s contrarian critic Armond White would cite the movie as predicting the rise of Barack Obama, who entered the real-life Harvard Law School in 1988, and White declared that Soul Man was “easily the best movie ever set at Harvard.”

Littlest Rebel
The Littlest Rebel (1935)
It would have been all too easy to populate this list with pickaninny caricatures from the ’30s, but the 1935 Shirley Temple film “The Littlest Rebel,” just had to make the cut. The film’s main purpose was to drive home the message of how happy Black folks were as slaves, so happy they sang and danced all day.
Bill Gibron, of the Online Film Critics Society, wrote at the time: “The racism present in The Littlest Rebel, The Little Colonel and Dimples is enough to warrant a clear critical caveat.” However Gibron, echoing most film critics who continue to see value in Temple’s work despite the racism that is present in some of it, also wrote: “Thankfully, the talent at the center of these troubling takes is still worthwhile for some, anyway.”