Scout Finch (Mary Badham) and her brother Jem (Phillip Alford) live in a small town in Alabama in the 1930's. Their father Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) is the town lawyer. Atticus is appointed to represent a black man in a rape case. The mans name is Tom Robinson (Brock Peters) and he has been accused by a white woman, Mayella Ewell of rape. Atticus takes the case and the kids get harassed by some of their friends because Tom is black.
A crowd try to lynch Tom and its done by people who the Finch's know. The trial gets started and Atticus puts up a good defense. You see Mayella had asked Tom over to do some work. Problem is Tom has a bad hand and for Tom to do what he is supposed to have done would have been almost impossible.
Atticus is able to point out that it could have been Mayella's father who attacked her. Atticus is able to also point out that Mayella was never tested for rape, so she could be lying anyway. Tom is convicted and is shot while being transported to prison.
Mayella's father goes after Scout and Jem because of the accusations by Atticus at the trial. The kids are broken and bruised but will survive. Mr. Ewell is stabbed and dies. The sheriff is called but rather than do something about the death he just calls it an accident.
Okay, I just did something that most of the time I don't do, I gave you the story. Here is why, this is a story that at the time could have been going on in any southern city in the United States. Blacks could very easily have been blamed for anything and all the whites had to do was accuse. Many a black man could be strung up and hung and most of the time nothing would happen to those involved.
This movie shows a period of life in America for most of us that we are ashamed to acknowledge. This is not a true story but it could have been.
Director Robert Mulligan brings us a story and a movie that is rated high on the best of all time. It gives a chilling account of what it was like in the 1930's south. This is a movie that is a must see at some time of one's life. Enjoy.