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Citizen King

Overview

Part of the American Experience series on PBS, the biopic Citizen King commemorates what would have been the 75th birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Directed by Orlando Bagwell and written by W. Noland Walker the writing/directing team of Africans in America, this documentary explores the last five years of King's life. Using archival materials and contemporary commentary, the story follows the pivotal five years from his famous speech in Washington, D.C., in 1963 to his murder in Memphis, TN, in 1968. It ...
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Overview

Part of the American Experience series on PBS, the biopic Citizen King commemorates what would have been the 75th birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Directed by Orlando Bagwell and written by W. Noland Walker the writing/directing team of Africans in America, this documentary explores the last five years of King's life. Using archival materials and contemporary commentary, the story follows the pivotal five years from his famous speech in Washington, D.C., in 1963 to his murder in Memphis, TN, in 1968. It includes insight from King's closest colleagues along with commentary from journalists, historians, and scholars, as well as employees of the U.S. government. Citizen King was both aired on PBS and shown at the Sundance Film Festival as part of a special screening on January 19, 2004.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Interview with filmmaker Orlando Bagwell
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Andrea LeVasseur
Rather than glorify the civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. as a saint, Orlando Bagwell's documentary Citizen King recognizes that it's easy to idolize a dead hero. Instead, Bagwell chooses to tell the story of a Southern minister who served as an ambassador of good will despite his many opponents. By focusing on the major events of the last five years of King's life (1963-1968), the personal story of a great American leader is able to unfold chronologically with the help of historical footage. Marches, speeches, and various other media appearances reveal a dignified man with an amazing audience and a dynamic and undeniable physical presence. A contemporary perspective is provided by his colleagues in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference who supported him, as well as the U.S. government employees who investigated him. The music of Nina Simone beautifully underscores some poignant moments in King's life, with particular relevance to his courage under intense pressure and constant death threats. Footage of his 39th birthday party, a family dinner, and various candid conversations make for an intimate look at the public leader. Conflicts with white and black leaders are directly addressed, not glossed over. Some of his turbulent relationships involve Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee leader Stokely Carmichael, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, and even President Lyndon B. Johnson. By refusing to canonize the man, Bagwell's documentary presents King's message as still alive and relevant 35 years after his assassination.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/8/2005
  • UPC: 841887050012
  • Original Release: 2004
  • Rating:

  • Source: Pbs (Direct)
  • Region Code: 1
  • Time: 1:55:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Technical Credits
Orlando Bagwell Director, Producer, Screenwriter
W. Noland Walker Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Ed Bareski Editor
Jean-Philippe Boucicaut Editor
Michael Chin Cinematographer
Camara Kambon Score Composer
Mark Samels Executive Producer
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. The Minister [3:52]
2. Birmingham [13:02]
3. March on Washington [7:53]
4. Weight of the World [7:22]
5. Surveillance [4:13]
6. The Nobel Peace Prize [7:57]
7. Selma [9:04]
8. Struggle for Freedom [8:38]
9. Mississippi [7:29]
10. Cicero [7:20]
11. The Heaviest Burden [7:31]
12. Poor People's Campaign [6:17]
13. Memphis [7:56]
14. The Promised Land [11:39]
15. Credits [1:41]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play Movie
   Scene Selections
   Special Feature
   PBS Online
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