The Rosa Parks Story (2002) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Rosa Parks Story (2002)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Rosa Parks Story Photos

Movie Info

Angela Bassett plays the title role in this meticulously detailed biography of pioneering civil rights activist Rosa McCauley Parks. Even as a child, Rosa stands separate from her fellow African-Americans; instead of being shipped off to a shabby public school, she is enrolled in a private classroom run by Quakers, who encourage the girl to transcend the severe limitations of legalized segregation in her home state of Alabama. In her late teens, Rosa marries barber Raymond Parks (Peter Francis James), a politically savvy and outspoken proponent of equal rights for all. For many years suffering in silence as the iniquities of the South's Jim Crow laws consign her to second-class-citizen status, Rosa finally joins the local branch of the NAACP with the encouragement of her childhood friend Rebecca "Johnnie" Carr (Tonea Stewart) -- much to the dismay of husband Raymond, who feels that the organization is ineffective in its ongoing battle against the white power structure. Rosa's personal struggle against institutionalized racism reaches its zenith on the night of December 1, 1955, when, bone-weary after a long day's work as a seamstress at a Montgomery department store, she refuses to give up her seat on a bus to a white man -- and is promptly arrested. Thus are the wheels set in motion for the first major Civil Rights demonstration of the 1950s, with Rosa rising to heroic status in the eyes of her people, an event that also profoundly alters the life of local religious leader Martin Luther King Jr. (played by the Reverend's son, Dexter Scott King). Mostly filmed on location in Alabama, The Rosa Parks Story features Cicely Tyson as Rosa's strong-willed mother Leona and Mrs. Parks' longtime friend Rebecca Daniels Carr in a cameo role. The film was shown as part of CBS' celebration of Black History Month on February 24, 2002.


Angela Bassett
as Rosa Parks
Peter Francis James
as Raymond Parks
Cicely Tyson
as Leona McCauley
Tonea Stewart
as Johnnie Carr
Von Coulter
as E.D. Nixon
Dexter Scott King
as Martin Luther King Jr.
Afemo Omilami
as Minister
Sonny Shroyer
as James F. Blake
Mike Pniewski
as Clifford Durr
Charde Manzy
as Young Rosa
Charles Black
as Grandfather Edwards
Nick LaTour
as Older Boycott Man
Timothy Parham
as Elijah Banks
Gwen Waymon
as Jo Ann Robinson
Susan Williams
as Virginia Durr
Patsy Benson
as Registrar
Johnnie Carr
as Older Boycott Woman
Janelle Cochrane
as Mrs. Rymer
Polly Craig
as Mrs. Wycliff
Helen Ingebritsen
as Miss Barton
Tori Jones
as Rowena
Latoya Simone-Howell
as Young Johnnie
Chris Mixon
as Mr. Bradley
Carl Pittman
as Reporter
Ronald McCall
as Fred Gray
View All

Critic Reviews for The Rosa Parks Story

All Critics (2) | Top Critics (2)

Angela Bassett brings out complex layers of humanity in CBS' The Rosa Parks Story, a tasteful and stylish biopic as much about love and inspiration as it about the birth of the Civil Rights Movement.

November 6, 2018 | Full Review…
Top Critic

What Bassett accomplishes as Parks is the kind of heroism so difficult that it ought to have been impossible.

February 1, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Rosa Parks Story


I adore Angela Bassett and I think she did such a great job. This movie tells Parks' history from childhood all the way up to the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The movie was laced with real footage from the civil rights movement. It was a nice touch. There were many scenes that were simple yet packed a punch.

Dannielle Albert
Dannielle Albert

Super Reviewer

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