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To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite movies of all time. The story line is great and so are the characters. The movie is also very accurate with portraying Alabama in the 1930's. Overall, the movie is centered on the story of Scout and Jem, who are brother and sister. It spans about three years of their lives and their journey from becoming innocent little kids to maturing and gaining knowledge about racism and the evil that the world has to offer. The movie does have two story lines to it. The first story line is dealing with the mystery of the neighborhood bogyman Boo Radley. The second story line deals with the trial of Tom Robinson.
Now there are a lot of main characters in this film, but the ones that stand out to me are Atticus Finch, Scout, Jem, Tom Robinson, Boo Radley, Dill, Mayella Ewell, and Bob Ewell, well there is also the mad dog. Now, Atticus Finch (played by Gregory Peck) is the lawyer who is defending Tom Robinson. He is constantly ridiculed by the town for supporting a black man. He has courage and integrity for standing up for what is right even when he stands alone and when nobody is willing to support him. He also has love and compassion for his kids, which show his humanity. These three qualities made movie goers fall in love with him, which is why he was declared the number one greatest film hero of all time in 2003, by the American Film Institute.
He is also reserved and humble in the fact that he is really good with a gun, but he does not brag about it. Jem was in a bit of a shock when he saw his dad shoot the dog. The dog I think symbolizes the sickness that lies within society. I could be completely wrong, but since Atticus was the one to shoot the dog, I think it has to represent the evil that needs to be cleansed form society. Atticus was taking on society on his own during the trail, just like he was taking on the dog by himself. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056592/
Second there is Jem, which is short for Jeremy Atticus Finch, who is played by Phillip Alford. He is the son of Atticus Finch and is the big brother of Scout. He takes care of her and will try anything to protect her. Throughout the movie he walks her back and forth between school and her play at the end of the movie. When Bob tries to attack them in the woods Jem tries to fight him to protect Scout. My favorite scene is when his pants get stuck on the fence. I love the fact that he is so scared that he just leaves them behind.
Another child of Atticus's is Scout, which is the nickname for Jean Louise Finch, who is played by Mary Badham. I love Scout. She is so funny because she cannot stand it when someone tells her she is acting like a girl and she definitely does not like wearing dresses. She also loves to read and at the beginning of the movie she gets upset when the teacher tells her she should not be reading with her dad at home. Another funny thing about her is that she also likes to stand up for herself meaning she gets into a lot of fights. My favorite scene with her is when she asks Walter Cunningham Jr. "what in the Sam hell are ya doin'" when he pours syrup all over his dinner. She and her brother tend to get a lot of trouble from people around town, because their father is defending Tom.
Now Tom Robinson, who is played by Brock Peters, is the Black man that stands trial for the rape of Mayella Ewell. I feel sorry for him. He has a wife and kids. All he did was "feel sorry for a white woman." I know things were different back then, but still it makes me sad and happy that we have come a long way. I honestly do not know how I would have handled the situation. He did not do anything wrong but, because society back then marked a black man as a liar, there wasn't really anything he could do to defend himself. I am glad there were at least a few honest people back then, and in this movie Atticus Finch represented them as a whole.
Now, when it comes to really strange people we get Mayella Violet Ewell who is played by Collin Wilcox. This woman is completely crazy. She loses her mind in court. I get it that she is ashamed for coming onto a black man and she is also afraid of her daddy, but this chick has some serious issues. I cannot believe that she is seriously willing to let a man die so that she can get rid of the evidence of her shame. I also think her father is just as bad as her.
Robert "Bob" Ewell, who is played by James Anderson, is Mayella's dad. He is a drunk who beats Mayella after he catches her coming on to Tom. He so obviously did it, considering that he is left handed, but of course someone had to pay hard for his daughter's shame. Unfortunately Tom was that person. Bob was the perfect character to represent the drunken, raciest, white man. He is abusive in every way possible. He has no respect for people in general. He dies at the end of the movie after trying to kill Jem and Scout. I have known a man like this and I can say I really hate people who are in any way like him.
The second to last character that stands out to me is Charles Baker "Dill" Harris, who is played by John Megna. Dill is a very weird person. He is the kid that comes and visits every summer and is also friends with Jem and Scout. He along with Scout and Jem are obsessed with Boo Radley. They dare each other to run up to the door and things like that. So now we finally have Arthur "Boo" Radley, who is played by Robert Duvall. He is the neighbor of scout and Jem Finch of course. He has somewhat of a violent past that landed him in prison. They locked him up under the court house, but his dad took him away. So he lives at home and rarely comes out. He is disabled, I think mentally. He also leaves things in a tree for Jem and he saves Jem's and Scout's life. I love the whole story of Boo. It makes the movie really interesting.
So for the story of Boo, we get the first major story line of the movie. The kids and the town fear this man, who it is said, only comes out at night. He apparently has some issues that make him different form others. The kids constantly are daring each other to do things to the Radley's house. I think that this is funny because I can remember growing up that there was one man in the neighborhood that had a bunch of stories circling around him, but none the less, Boo becomes a major character in the movie even though we only see him once at the end. This is significant, because it shows that if you were different back then and if you did not fit society's clear cut standards you were an outcast. I think that things are still the same to a certain extent today.
The other major story line is that of Tom Robinson. Of course he is the one that is on trial for the rape of Mayella. He is also innocent, but since he is a black man he does not stand a chance. He does end up getting convicted, but Atticus tells him he will have a good chance at an appeal. However, Tom was killed afterwards, because according to the sheriff he tried to run and would not stop. This is pretty significant, because it shows just how bad African Americans had it. White people did not consider them as equals and thought of them as liars and people that could not be trusted. I will go as far to say that most did not view them as people at all. After Tom dies Jem and Scout are attacked by Bob, which leads to Bob's death, by the hands of Boo.
Both Tom Robinson's story and Boo killing Bob brings about the significances of the title of the movie. Towards the beginning of the movie Atticus tells the kids that they can shoot all the birds that want if they can hit them, but to kill a mocking bird is a sin, because they don't do anything to harm us. All they do is make music for us. Well, at the end the sheriff tells Atticus that it would be a sin to tell everyone that Boo saved the kids, because the whole town would be all over him with praise. He said it was just wrong to bring attention to a man who does not do anything but keep to himself and that's the way he prefers it. As for Tom he was the mockingbird, all he did was help the woman with her chores. Mayella was the gunman, by sentencing him to death with the lies of her shame. So I guess that they are trying to say that to harm the innocent in anyway is a sin and one should be ashamed if they were to do so.
They story and the characters brought together a great movie, which is based off of the novel. This is one of my favorite movies and I have seen it many times. I think that this movie is worth watching and showing to other classes. It gives insight on how things were back then. Overall, it was a great movie. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056592/