4 Little Girls (1997) - Rotten Tomatoes

4 Little Girls (1997)

4 Little Girls



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

On September 15, 1963, four happy, intelligent African American adolescent girls, Addie Mae Collins, Carol Denise McNair, Cynthia Wesley and Carole Rosamond Robertson, went to the basement of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama to attend Sunday school. In the middle of the lesson, a bomb blast rocked the church, killing the girls, and sending a shockwave through the black community that now is considered to have launched the Civil Rights movement of the '60s; it is a shock that continues to be felt today. Using a combination of archival photos and interviews with the slain teens families, peers and interviews with such historical commentators as Walter Cronkite and politicians such as former Governor George Wallace, director Spike Lee has created an unforgettable, powerful documentary that successfully tells the emotional tale of the girls and their families, while also providing a larger look at the long range sociopolitical effects of the senseless tragedy and at the pervasiveness of racism that allows the perpetuation of such tragedies.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Documentary, Special Interest
Directed By:
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 8, 2002
HBO Documentary

News & Interviews for 4 Little Girls

Critic Reviews for 4 Little Girls

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (8)

There isn't an ounce of flab or hype, and the story it tells is profoundly affecting.

Full Review… | September 22, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A compelling, straightforward account of a deeply sorrowful and pivotal event in the civil rights movement.

Full Review… | May 16, 2008
Top Critic

The big part of Lee's film commemorates the lives of the '4 little girls' who died, through the memories of parents, siblings and friends.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

4 Little Girls brilliantly captures a moment in American history and tells an achingly painful story of injustice and family loss.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

There is mostly sadness and regret at the surface in 4 Little Girls, but there is anger in the depths, as there should be.

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

It is Lee's job as a film maker to imbue these images with life, and that's a task he easily accomplishes.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for 4 Little Girls

This marked Spike Lee's first attempt at a feature length documentary, and the results do not disappoint.

The subject matter, as you'd expect, is not new ground for him. In fact, he'd wanted to take a look at the story of how the deaths of four girls in Alabama played a role in the Civil Rights Movement for a long time...he just didn't get the opportunity until the late 90s.

Perhaps that is a good thing though. With such a touchy subject like this, it can be beneficial to let it settle so new perspectives can be gained. And, in the case of the surviving family and friends of the victims, it takes a lot of time to be ready and able to confront the past.

The film is quite well done. Yeah, there is a political message underneath it, but thankfully that aspect is downplayed, and the film is done mostly straightforward, with the events speaking for themselves, instead of Lee going at it Michael Moore-style.

It's all very sad, and moving, and powerful, but it's done tastefully and with great amounts of respect. The film doesn't just focus on the event itself, but also the Civil Rights Movement in the South at large. I kind of expected and hoped for this, anyway.

Even if you already know a great amount about the times, places, and events chronicled in this film, it's still a worthy piece of work for one's collection, especially as a scholarly/historical aid. For newcomers, it will be a very insightful, and probably shocking look at racial hatred and the tragic violence that too often is linked with it.

Regardless of how you feel about Spike Lee personally, this is essential viewing.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Brilliant Black director Spike Lee creates a compelling documentary on the lives of young Black people in the 50s. It's really good, if you like his work, you will want to see this movie as well.

Aj V

Super Reviewer

An Outstanding Film. This is a selection of the 1997 Toronto International Film Festival, and I must say that its one of there best selections to Date. Spike Lee is the Director of this movie and I will admit that I haven't enjoyed many of his films in the past but this one blew me away and touched my heart and opened my eyes to a city I have been many times, though this happened in 1963 I am sure that the people who were involved will and should never forget the racial injustice that was put upon the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. A must see for everyone no matter your race. Thank You Spike Lee, 5 stars

Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

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