Jump to content

Son of the South (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Son of the South
Official film poster
Directed byBarry Alexander Brown
Screenplay byBarry Alexander Brown
Based onThe Wrong Side of Murder Creek
by Bob Zellner
Produced by
  • Colin Bates
  • Stan Erdreich
  • Bill Black
  • Eve Pomerance
CinematographyJohn Rosario
Edited byBarry Alexander Brown
Music bySteven Argila
  • Lucidity Entertainment
  • Major Motion Pictures
  • River Bend Pictures
  • El Ride Productions
  • SSS Film Capital
Distributed by
Release dates
  • August 26, 2020 (2020-08-26) (ABFF)
  • February 5, 2021 (2021-02-05) (United States)
Running time
105 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$5.5 million[1]
Box office$48,582[2]

Son of the South is a 2020 American biographical historical drama film, written and directed by Barry Alexander Brown. Based on Bob Zellner's autobiography, The Wrong Side of Murder Creek: A White Southerner in the Freedom Movement, Lucas Till portrays Zellner, with Lex Scott Davis, Lucy Hale, Jake Abel, Shamier Anderson, Julia Ormond, Cedric the Entertainer and Brian Dennehy (in his final film role) appearing in supporting roles. Spike Lee serves as an executive producer.

It had its world premiere at the American Black Film Festival on August 26, 2020. It was released on February 5, 2021, by Clear Horizon Entertainment and Vertical Entertainment, receiving mixed reviews from critics, however praising Till's performance.


The film opens on April 5, 1961, and focuses on Bob Zellner, who is the son of a Methodist minister, a senior attending all-White Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama. Seeking information with which to write research papers on race relations, Zellner and four fellow students attend an event held in a Baptist Black church to mark the fifth anniversary of the 1955-1956 Montgomery bus boycott.

The event is conducted by Ralph Abernathy and Rosa Parks. When the police arrive to arrest them, the White students evade arrest by fleeing through a back door. Dubbed the 'Huntingdon Five' in a newspaper, a cross is burned on the yard outside Zellner's room by the KKK. Zellner's klansman grandfather, J.O., warns him not to involve himself in the civil rights movement.

Witnessing a mob attack on the Freedom Riders on May 19, 1961, Zellner helps Jessica Mitford get to safety. At first a passive supporter of the movement, Zellner goes on to become SNCC's first White field secretary. Facing suspicion at first from black SNCC activists, he proves his bona fides by protesting alongside them, narrowly escaping a lynching by rural, white southerners while in McComb, Mississippi after participating with a march to the county courthouse on October 30, 1961.

Following the murder of Herbert Lee, Zellner decides to leave the movement and continue his studies in the North. After a violent confrontation with a former "friend," who organized his attempted lynching, Zellner firmly changes course and then commits himself to the movement. The film ends with a montage of Zellner's activism during the '60s on civil rights, including a tribute to his mentor, the late John Lewis.



Development and pre-production[edit]

In February 2019, it was announced Barry Alexander Brown would direct the film, from a screenplay he wrote, while Colin Bates, Eve Pomerance, Bill Black, and Stan Erdreich will serve as producers on the film, while Spike Lee, Frank Barwah, Steven Ray, and Christian D. Bruun will serve as executive producers.[3] In April 2019, Lucas Till, Lucy Hale, Lex Scott Davis, Julia Ormond, Cedric the Entertainer, Mike Manning, Sharonne Lainer, Brian Dennehy, Chaka Forman, Shamier Anderson, Jake Abel, Ludi Lin,[4] Onye Eme-Akwari, Dexter Darden, and Matt William Knowles[5] joined the cast of the film.[6][7][8][9][10]


Principal photography began in April 2019, in Montgomery, Alabama.[11][12]


The film had its world premiere at the American Black Film Festival on August 26, 2020.[13] Before that, Clear Horizon Entertainment acquired U.S. distribution rights to the film.[14] On January 14, 2021, it was announced along with the release of the trailer, that Vertical Entertainment will co-distribute the film in the U.S. and release it in theaters and VOD on February 5.[15]


On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes the film has a 61% rating based on reviews from 18 critics and an average rating of 5.7/10.[16] On Metacritic, the film holds a rating of 60 out of 100, based on 4 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[17] Till's performance received critical acclaim.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Civil rights-themed indie movie expected to begin filming locally in November".
  2. ^ "Son of the South".
  3. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (February 6, 2019). "'BlacKkKlansman's Spike Lee & Barry Alexander Brown Team On 'Son of the South' Film". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
  4. ^ Kroll, Justin (2019-04-26). "'Aquaman' Actor Ludi Lin Joins Spike Lee-Produced 'Son of the South' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 2019-04-26.
  5. ^ McNary, Dave (2019-05-03). "Film News Roundup: Sabrina Carpenter to Star in 'Work It' Dance Comedy". Variety. Retrieved 2019-06-22.
  6. ^ McNary, Dave (April 15, 2019). "Lucy Hale, Lucas Till to Star in Spike Lee's Civil Rights Drama 'Son of the South' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
  7. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (April 16, 2019). "'Love & Mercy' Actor Jake Abel Joins Civil Rights Drama 'Son of the South'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
  8. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (April 24, 2019). "'Maze Runner's Dexter Darden To Play John Lewis In 'Son Of The South'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 24, 2019.
  9. ^ McNary, Dave (2019-05-03). "Film News Roundup: Sabrina Carpenter to Star in 'Work It' Dance Comedy". Variety. Retrieved 2019-05-06.
  10. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (2019-05-07). "Mike C. Manning Joins 'Son of the South'; Makenzie Vega, Nicky Whelan Set For 'Instafame'; Amelia Crouch In 'Eight For Silver'". Deadline. Retrieved 2019-06-22.
  11. ^ WSFA Staff (April 11, 2019). "Extras needed for 'Son of the South' movie filming in Montgomery". wtvy.com. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
  12. ^ "'Son of the South' movie scenes to be filmed at Tuskegee University". wsfa.com. April 9, 2019. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
  13. ^ "Son of the South". American Black Film Festival. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  14. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (August 26, 2020). "Clear Horizon Launches U.S. Distribution Arm With 'Son Of The South' From 'BlacKkKlansman' Editor Barry Alexander Brown". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  15. ^ "Trailer for Son of the South with Spike Lee as Executive Producer". 14 January 2021.
  16. ^ "Son of the South (2021)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  17. ^ "Son of the South". Metacritic.

External links[edit]