Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird

My Favorite Scene: To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) “All Men Are Created Equal”

To Kill a Mockingbird is rare adaptation of a literary classic that matches its source material.  Harper Lee’s novel of a principled man defending an African-American accused of rape in Depression-era Mississippi was brilliantly brought to the screen over 55 years ago.  It’s unfortunate that Mockingbird is as relevant now as it was when it was released in 1962.  The sad paradox of the American experiment is that while our founding documents declare, as Atticus Finch does in his closing argument, that all men are created equal, the reality of American life has never achieved that ideal.  All men-all people-are created equal, but they are not treated as such.  Inequality and racism still exist, and no law can legislate them away.  Change, if it comes, will come from the courage of decent men and women to stand up and do the right thing at the right time.  That’s why the example of Atticus Finch still matters, and why his words still need to be heard today.  Mockingbird is, quite simply, one of the best films of all-time, one everyone should see, and one that leaves its viewers better for having seen it.  Those films are so rare.  They’re not just classics; they’re treasures.Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird

6 thoughts on “My Favorite Scene: To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) “All Men Are Created Equal””

  1. We are all groping blindly in the dark, trying to find meaning in a world that just seems to stare back at us blankly. Our methods of coping are terrible, and we all know it, and we hate ourselves because of it. Racists hate their own skin than anyone else’s. That is why they push other people down. Racists are in need of such constant validation that they invent a social strata with the defining characteristic that they are on top.

    In the USA we need to cling to our documents, because they are an absolute good. The founding fathers were blindly groping in the dark like everyone, but while they were laying out the blueprint for America, they were thinking and seeing clearly. There is not really a paradox in America, America is just the first place in the history of the world where imperfect humanity has been given such a strong nudge in the right direction, where the guiding hand of justice and equality has been so clearheaded and firm. We were organized well, two hundred or so years ago. If enough of us keep the faith, we can keep the momentum going, and if we, as a nation, learn to hope again, great things will happen.

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    1. The paradox is those documents were written by men who largely owned other men as property, didn’t consider women at all, or even white men who didn’t own property at the time. The sentiment is timeless, but there’s never been a time in our history where the country’s greatest sin hasn’t been at odds with its noblest ambitions.

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      1. The fact that the founding fathers themselves fell so short of thier own words is evidence that those of us who care need to try and keep the country aimed in the right direction, always. It won’t happen by magic. Human nature points us the other way.


      2. Sorry that might have been true but it sounded trite. My actual comment is that we are living in weird times, and I don’t know how frightened to be yet, because the reasons for the weirdness have not yet made themselves clear. I look back at the founding fathers, and am astonished, because no one else in the history of the world in thier position has ever given up power instead of consolidating it. I do not understand what happened when they thought up the country, because as you point out, they did not live by thier own standards, and some of them participated in one of the worst evils ever thought up by mankind. Slavery is pretty everpresent through history…if Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, and then sank even lower as we know he did, he was in the company of powerful men in numbers beyond counting, stretching down through the ages. This country is one of the biggest anomalies in the history of the world, in a very, very good way, and the fact that there is a paradox at all in this place is like a ray of light. I am not downplaying the horrors that Atticus Finch stood against. He is the greatest hero in all of film and modern literature, as far as I am concerned. We all need to follow his lead and fight the shadows. I just like to do my part to insert some positivity into an increasingly shadowy time. We picked the best time and place in human history to exist, relatively speaking.

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      3. I think everyone is struggling with that right now: how scared to be. That’s part of the reason I chose to feature Mockingbird and Finch’s words. They are a timeless call to the best in all of us.


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