To Kill A Mockingbird (1962) - Rotten Tomatoes

To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)



Critic Consensus: To Kill a Mockingbird is a textbook example of a message movie done right -- sober-minded and earnest, but never letting its social conscience get in the way of gripping drama.

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Movie Info

Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning autobiographical novel was translated to film in 1962 by Horton Foote and the producer/director team of Robert Mulligan and Alan J. Pakula. Set a small Alabama town in the 1930s, the story focuses on scrupulously honest, highly respected lawyer Atticus Finch, magnificently embodied by Gregory Peck. Finch puts his career on the line when he agrees to represent Tom Robinson (Brock Peters), a black man accused of rape. The trial and the events surrounding it are seen through the eyes of Finch's six-year-old daughter Scout (Mary Badham). While Robinson's trial gives the film its momentum, there are plenty of anecdotal occurrences before and after the court date: Scout's ever-strengthening bond with older brother Jem (Philip Alford), her friendship with precocious young Dill Harris (a character based on Lee's childhood chum Truman Capote and played by John Megna), her father's no-nonsense reactions to such life-and-death crises as a rampaging mad dog, and especially Scout's reactions to, and relationship with, Boo Radley (Robert Duvall in his movie debut), the reclusive "village idiot" who turns out to be her salvation when she is attacked by a venomous bigot. To Kill a Mockingbird won Academy Awards for Best Actor (Peck), Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Art Direction. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Gregory Peck
as Atticus Finch
Mary Badham
as Scout Finch
Phillip Alford
as Jem Finch
John Megna
as Dill Harris
Frank Overton
as Sheriff Heck Tate
Rosemary Murphy
as Miss Maudie Atkinson
Brock Peters
as Tom Robinson
Ruth White
as Mrs. Dubose
Estelle Evans
as Calpurnia
Robert Duvall
as Boo Radley
Paul Fix
as Judge Taylor
Collin Wilcox Paxton
as Mayella Ewell
James Anderson
as Bob Ewell
Alice Ghostley
as Stephanie Crawford
Crahan Denton
as Walter Cunningham
Richard Hale
as Mr. Radley
Graham Denton
as Walter Cunningham
Steve Condit
as Walter Cunningham
Bill Walker
as Rev. Sykes
Hugh Sanders
as Dr. Reynolds
Jester Hairston
as Spence Robinson
Jamie Forster
as Hiram Townsend
Nancy Marshall
as Schoolteacher
Kim Hamilton
as Helen Robinson
Kelly Thordsen
as Burly Man
Kim Hector
as Cecil Jacobs
David Crawford
as Tom Robinson
Guy Wilkerson
as Jury Foreman
Jay Sullivan
as Court Reporter
Barry Seltzer
as Schoolboy
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Critic Reviews for To Kill A Mockingbird

All Critics (67) | Top Critics (14)

Peck's performance, in tortoiseshell glasses and a cream linen suit, is mesmerizing and serious.

February 23, 2016 | Full Review…
Top Critic

"To Kill a Mockingbird" relates the Cult of Childhood to the Negro Problem with disastrous results.

February 22, 2016 | Full Review…

Gregory Peck stays beautifully within the character of the bespectacled, widowed man, but with its episodes unevenly joined, the script is too repetitive and long.

August 19, 2015 | Full Review…

As Mulligan so deftly demonstrates, the story is in the characters, their failings and fragility, their heroism and nobility of spirit.

February 3, 2015 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Justly celebrated.

August 13, 2011

To Kill a Mockingbird is a time capsule, preserving hopes and sentiments from a kinder, gentler, more naive America.

July 25, 2011 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for To Kill A Mockingbird


A wonderful yet inevitably condensed adaptation of Harper Lee's sublime novel that, despite harmed a bit by some of the changes, is heartfelt, moving and always true to the soul of her story, with Gregory Peck in a fantastic performance even if a bit stiff in the trial scene.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

Phillip Alford and Mary Badham are riveting child actors as Jem and Scout, the naïfs at the center of this somewhat convoluted morality tale. The movie suffers from some old-fashioned weirdnesses like the canned suspense of the shadow creeping towards the children when obviously, the figure casting the shadow (Boo) would be completely visible to them; the canned suspense of when Scout accidentally rolls into the Radleys' yard and Jem and Dill embark on a needlessly elongated rescue attempt with Jem running up to slam the Radleys' front door for no apparent reason; the canned suspense of Boo hiding behind Jem's bedroom door and no one figuring out that he was the one who rescued the kids. So what I'm saying is, there's a lot of hokey canned suspense. The themes of coming-of-age, fatherhood, goodness, tact, humility, fighting against injustice in the face of futility, as espoused by the novel and film are still beautiful, and the entire court sequence with Brock Peters' plaintive testimony, Gregory Peck's masterful closing argument, and Reverend Sykes chastising Scout to stand as her father passes and the entire black congregation rising, are just indelible moments in our cinematic history.

Alice Shen
Alice Shen

Super Reviewer

Gregory Peck takes the lead and provides an exceptional performance in this Harper-Lee-novel-adaptation. To Kill a Mockingbird's impecable direction and accuracy in respects to the book are the highlights of what makes this a smooth and striking film. 4/5

Eugene Bernabe
Eugene Bernabe

Super Reviewer

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