Selma (2014) - Rotten Tomatoes


Selma (2014)



Critic Consensus: Fueled by a gripping performance from David Oyelowo, Selma draws inspiration and dramatic power from the life and death of Martin Luther King, Jr. -- but doesn't ignore how far we remain from the ideals his work embodied.

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SELMA is the story of a movement. The film chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement. Director Ava DuVernays SELMA tells the real story of how the revered leader and visionary Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) and his brothers and sisters in the movement prompted change that forever altered history.(C) Paramount

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David Oyelowo
as Martin Luther King Jr.
Carmen Ejogo
as Coretta Scott King
Tom Wilkinson
as Lyndon Baines Johnson
Giovanni Ribisi
as Lee C. White
as James Bevel
Wendell Pierce
as Reverend Hosea Williams
Lorraine Toussaint
as Amelia Boynton
Tim Roth
as George Wallace
Oprah Winfrey
as Annie Lee Cooper
André Holland
as Andrew Young
Omar J. Dorsey
as James Orange
Tessa Thompson
as Diane Nash
Colman Domingo
as Ralph Abernathy
Martin Sheen
as Frank Minis Johnson
Dylan Baker
as J. Edgar Hoover
Niecy Nash
as Richie Jean Jackson
LaKeith Stanfield
as Jimmie Lee Jackson
Stephan James
as John Lewis
Haviland Stillwell
as President's Secretary
Nigel Thatch
as Malcolm X
Jeremy Strong
as James Reeb
Yamanee Coleman
as Church/Funeral Attendant
Corey Reynolds
as CT Vivian
Ruben Santiago-Hudson
as Hudson-Bayard Rustin
Trai Byers
as James Forman
John Archer Lundgren
as Deputized Klansman
E. Roger Mitchell
as Reverend Frederick Reese
Tara Ochs
as Viola Liuzzo
Kent Faulcon
as Dr. Sullivan Jackson
Charity Jordan
as Viola Lee
Christine Horn
as Female Marcher
Preston Baker
as Hotel Patron/Selma Citizen
John Lavelle
as Roy Reed
Stan Houston
as Sheriff Jim Clark
Dane Davenport
as Klansman #1
Clay Chappell
as Registrar
Greg Maness
as LBJ's Aide
Ledisi Young
as Mahalia Jackson
David Silverman (XI)
as Anthony Liuzzo
Elizabeth Diane Wells
as Marie Reeb (as Elizabeth Wells Berkes)
Fred Galle
as Alabama State Attorney
Amahre Palmer
as Civil Rights Activist
Nadej Bailey
as Girl #5
Montrel Miller
as Young Marcher
Walter Hendrix, III
as AA eFx Marcher
Joseph Oliveira
as National Guardsman
Charlandra L. Jacobs
as Funeral Attendee
Michael Shikany
as Archbishop Iakovos
Clint Crane
as National Guardsman
Kenny Cooper
as Black Marcher
Aaron Brewstar
as Alabama State Trooper/Selma Alabama Police
Brian Kurlander
as Voice on Recorder
Dexter Tillis
as Angry Marcher
Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut
as Church/Funeral Attendant
Mark Cabus
as State Attorney
John Merical
as Reporter
Andrew Bleidner
as LBJ's Marine Guard/White House Aide
Brandon O'Dell
as Reeb's Companion
Charles Black
as Elderly Marcher
Samuel Lee Fudge
as Young Marcher
Kyle McMahon
as Senator John J. Williams
Gordon Meyer
as Deputy Sheriff
J.J. Green
as Marcher
Tim Battle
as Dallas County Deputy
Patti Schellhaas
as Congressional Aide
Raven Ferguson
as Female Marcher
Ronan Brookes
as Montgomery Police Officer
Thom McGlon
as Sheriff Posseman
Travis Turner (II)
as Press/Reporter
Ryan Fontaine
as National Guardsman
Qualen Bradley
as Male Marcher
Kathy Alderman
as Angry White Woman
John Collier
as Montgomery Police Officer
Mike Taylor
as Man on Street
Jasmine Taylor
as Female Marcher
Carol Anne Taylor
as White Supporter
Scotty Bishop
as Racist Spectator
Rachelle Wicker
as Funeral Attendee
Christopher Anthony Carr
as Racist Spectator/White Marcher/Press Background
Thomas Hughes
as Deputized Klansman
AngelAnn Green-Orr
as Church Attendant
Todd Sassano
as National Guardsman
Donald Horner
as Court Room Attendant
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Critic Reviews for Selma

All Critics (313) | Top Critics (89)

One of the most effective, well-crafted historical biopics that I've ever seen... giving us a moment in history that feels immediately familiar to the moment we are currently living in.

January 22, 2021 | Full Review…

Excellent acting, very good directing, a good tight script -- a little bit of pacing issues and... other characters are nowhere near as investing as Martin Luther King is.

October 5, 2018 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

If you don't mind the technical confusion it's a gripping story, and a great credit to DuVernay and co-writer Paul Webb who were unable to use King's original speeches for copyright reasons.

October 4, 2018 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

Ava DuVernay's Selma is a beautifully observed drama of public and private lives, of personal narratives and historic moments.

October 4, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Selma is an always-gripping, often-bruising film, with fantastic performances and a solidly written script that contextualizes King's work in an effectively impactful way.

October 4, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

I this movie has some of the most powerful moments I've seen I think all year.

October 3, 2018 | Rating: 9.2/10 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Selma


The story of Martin Luther King's efforts to give black Americans the right to vote in the 1960s is mostly engaging and interestingly portrayed. Some conversations could have used some trimming, there are a few slow parts. But the acting is top notch, especially Oyelowo is fantastic during King's speeches. It is the ending with original footage from the walk that is particularly touching and well done. Especially when you realize what a step backwards we seem to be taking currently.

Jens S.
Jens S.

Super Reviewer

There is a problem with the revolution: too often the ends are forgotten in times of plenty. Because of that we are often inflicted with poor quality calls to enlightenment whose substance is so poor as to subvert their intended purpose(remember "The Butler"?). The opposite is true here. Masterful historical storytelling whose purpose is never forgotten. Must see.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

Such a travesty that David Oyelowo and Ava DuVernay were not nominated for Best Actor and Director Oscars. Oyelowo could and should have easily swept awards season (since McConaissance wasn't in the picture :-P) with his resonant basso and gut-rumbling delivery of MLK's marcato articulation. His dynamic gestures as well as his wide, knowing eyes carry the wins and losses of the Selma protest march and almost foreshadows the tragedy to come. Ava DuVernay's perceptive direction interweaves several concurrent threads: from the earth-shattering bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church, to Annie Lee Cooper's stalwart struggles to vote, to MLK and Coretta Scott's marital strife.

Alice Shen
Alice Shen

Super Reviewer

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