Native Son (1986)


No Top Critics Tomatometer score yet...


Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Previously filmed in Argentina in 1951, black author Richard Wright's powerful race-conscious novel Native Son was remade in this barely released 1986 version. The story involves Bigger Thomas (Victor Love), an angry Depression-era Chicago black who hopes to elevate himself through his chauffeur's job with a prosperous white Gold Coast family. The family's daughter (Elizabeth McGovern) takes advantage of Bigger's servile status by ordering him to drive her to a rendezvous with her … More

Rating: PG (adult situations/language, violence)
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Richard Wesley
In Theaters:
Live Home Video


as Bigger Thomas

as Mary Dalton

as Mrs. Dalton

as Mr. Dalton

as Buckley

as Britton

as Mrs. Thomas

as White Man #3

as Reporter #3

as Reporter #2

as White Man #4

as Reporter #1

as Bartender
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Native Son

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (4)

The film makers haven't listened to Wright. They appear to have been aiming at the same genteel audience that insists on seeing something sentimental and upbeat even in a television movie-of-the-week about AIDS.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Transforms the novel into an all-too-genteel crime story, denuded of rage, devoid of social and historic context.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Unfortunately, drama translates as melodrama and speechy, preachy dialogue tells us we're watching something that's good for us.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

The movie understands that the story really is about the killer's point of view. It is not the story of a crime, not a docudrama, not a sociological essay.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Ultimately, the film fails because of Silver's fears of offending the audience, the same fear that Wright himself faced and overcame.

Full Review… | August 20, 2010
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Well-intended but deadly dull

January 11, 2004
Kalamazoo Gazette

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