The 10 Best documentaries about Malcolm x

Sep 3, 2023 | Best Of, Celebrities

Do you want to learn more about the life and legacy of one of the most influential civil rights activists in history? Then these documentaries about Malcolm X are for you! From his early years to his transformational journey from civil rights activist to Muslim leader, these powerful films explore the inspiring story of a man who changed history. Whether it’s an intimate portrait or a sweeping exploration of the man and his times, these documentaries will leave you with a newfound appreciation for one of history’s most remarkable figures. So get ready to be inspired as we dive into the fascinating life of Malcolm X! From Spike Lee’s widely acclaimed biopic to lesser known gems, here are some of the best documentaries about Malcolm X that you won’t want to miss.

1. Malcolm X – Make It Plain

Malcolm X was an iconic figure of the civil rights movement in the sixties, and his legacy continues to be felt across generations. His staunch refusal to accept oppression and dedication to justice inspired countless African American men and women to take a stand against racism. Though he began his life as Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska; after prison he emerged as “Detroit Red” – a street hustler. He later became a powerful speaker for the Nation of Islam and opened up to allies of all colors. His untimely death still remains shrouded in mystery, but his spirit of determination and refusal to be silenced will outlive him forever.


2. Who was Malcolm X

Malcolm X was a prominent African American Muslim minister and human rights activist in the 1950s and 60s. He is remembered for his passionate advocacy of Black Nationalism, his outspoken criticism of white oppression, and his powerful oratory skills which drew large audiences to hear him speak. Despite facing opposition from both the white establishment and Black mainstream leadership during this turbulent time.


3. Malcolm X – The Documentary

Malcolm X was an influential African American civil rights activist who is remembered for his passionate advocacy of black empowerment. He was born Malcolm Little in 1925 and experienced a life full of hardship and struggle from a young age. His father was killed when he was just six years old, and his mother was placed in a mental hospital when he was thirteen. This event forced him to live in various foster homes and eventually lead to his arrest, serving a prison sentence at the age of 20.


4. Malcolm X & Muhammad Ali – Best Friends Betrayed By Islam

Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali have been described as two of the most influential civil rights activists and Black Muslims to ever live. Their friendship endured even through differences in their interpretations of Islam, but it was deeply tested by the Vietnam War when Malcolm X publicly denounced the war while Ali refused to fight due to his religious beliefs. This divide magnified their differing ideologies, ultimately leading to the demise of their friendship.


5. The Hate That Hate Produced

Malcolm X was a towering figure in the civil rights movement, and his life story is widely documented in film. The Hate That Hate Produced is one of the most influential documentaries about Malcolm X. Created by Mike Wallace and Louis Lomax, it was broadcast on WNTA-TV in New York in 1959. It chronicles the rise of the Nation of Islam, and Malcolm X’s involvement in the movement. The documentary provides rare access to the organization, with interviews from leaders and footage of events. Wallace and Lomax shed light on the discrimination faced by African Americans at this time, as well as Black Nationalism’s attempts to fight against oppression. As a result of their efforts, The Hate That Hate Produced remains an important source of information about Malcolm X and his legacy. It continues to inspire people today, offering an insightful look into the civil rights struggle of the era.


6. Malcolm X Speeches & Interviews

Malcolm X was a powerful and revolutionary African-American civil rights leader who fought for the rights of minority groups. In his April 12th, 1963 address in Detroit, he advocated for the need to take action and fight for freedom through both legal and extralegal means. He stressed economic independence as being key to achieving justice and noted that “the ballot or the bullet” was what would ensure real change.


7. Malcolm X – Ballot or Bullet

Malcolm X’s timeless speech “The Ballot or The Bullet” has an important message that is still relevant in our current society. In the speech, Malcolm addresses the power inequalities between African Americans and white people in America and calls for self-determination and economic autonomy among African Americans. He believes that they must first use their political power to bring about real change for their communities. This concept is still applicable today, as racial disparities in wealth are persistent and calls for social justice and police reform have grown louder than ever.


8. Malcolm X’s Legendary Speech

Malcolm X’s powerful message of standing up for civil rights and economic empowerment continues to inspire people to this day. His “Ballot or the Bullet” speech is a rallying cry that urges African Americans to take back their own destiny by voting, forming their own political party, boycotting discriminatory businesses, and uniting together. The crux of Malcolm X’s message is that government inaction will not bring about the change Black Americans need – they must take action for themselves. He also recognizes the importance of understanding their history and why it is necessary to make hard choices in order to fight for civil rights in America.


9. Who Killed Malcolm X

Have you ever wondered who killed Malcolm X? This chilling documentary takes a deep dive into the events leading up to and surrounding his assassination in 1965. Focusing on eyewitness accounts, discussions with historians and experts, as well as interviews with those closest to him, this film paints a vivid picture of one of the most unresolved cases in recent history. It looks at how conflict, violence and hatred led to the death of one of the most influential human rights activists in modern history. This documentary is a remarkable exploration into one of the darkest chapters in American history that will take you on an emotional journey as it attempts to answer one baffling question: who killed Malcolm X?


10. Malcolm X – Interview At Berkeley

Malcolm X has been an incredible figure of inspiration throughout history, and this documentary from 1965 captures him in all his intellectual presence. In this interview at Berkeley, he speaks on a variety of topics with passion and clarity. He discusses the concept of self-determination, the importance of education, and how to build a better society for everyone. We can learn a great deal from his words, as they are still applicable today. He speaks on the struggle for civil rights, the power of unity, and the importance of realizing our potential. His insight and courage were unparalleled in his time, and we can still draw strength from Malcolm X’s wisdom even now.

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David B