The Learning Tree (1969)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Autobiographical drama based on photographer Gordon Parks's 1963 novel, about the coming-of-age of a black teenager in rural Kansas during the 1920s.
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Warner Bros. Pictures


Alex Clarke
as Marcus
Dana Elcar
as Sheriff
Joel Fluellen
as Uncle Rob
Richard Ward
as Booker
Mira Waters
as Arcella Jefferson
Russell Thorson
as Judge Cavanaugh
Peggy Rea
as Miss McClintock
Carole Lamond
as Big Mabel
Kevin Hagen
as Doc Cravens
James 'Jimmy' Rushing
as Chappie Logan
Dub Taylor
as Spikey
Felix Nelson
as Jack Winger
George Mitchell
as Jake Kiner
Saundra Sharp
as Prissy
Don Dubbins
as Harley Davis
Jon Lormer
as McCormack
Morgan Sterne
as Mr. Hall
Thomas Anderson
as Pastor Broadnap
Philip Roye
as Pete Winger
Hope Summers
as Mrs. Kiner
Bobby Goss
as Skunk
Alfred Jones
as Cap'n Tuck
Zooey Hall
as Chauncey Cavanaugh
Thomas Charles Anderson
as Pastor Broadnap
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The Learning Tree

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (3)

The Learning Tree is a sentimental, sometimes awkward, but ultimately moving film about the growing-up of a black teenager in rural Kansas during the 1920s.

Full Review… | October 16, 2007
Top Critic

The restraint, the composure, the sufficiency of the sentimental gesture constitute a small gift for memory and a real victory in the first stages of this filmmaker's career.

Full Review… | May 8, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

It's conventional and rather toothless.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Falls into the path of giving a message more than it does letting things emerge organically.

Full Review… | August 25, 2011
Movie Views

Forty years ago, pioneer Gordon Parks had to step with extra care filming 'The Learning Tree' lest the door shut behind him.

Full Review… | August 4, 2009
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

No excerpt available.

December 17, 2007
Old School Reviews

Audience Reviews for The Learning Tree

A Grand Classic of Black Cinema brilliantly directed by Gordon Parks!!! Being the first feature to be directed by black man for a major film studio,this film shows 1920's Kansas as a brutal,hostile racist place and the experiences four friends encounter during the era of Jim Crow in the Midwest. Brilliant performances throughout from not only debut actor and newcomer Kyle Johnson,but also from Estelle Evans and Dana Elcar.

Mister Caple
Mister Caple

Super Reviewer

before gordon parks became a director of note with shaft(1972), he was a renowned photographer. he also took reflections of his childhood in the south and wove them in to this lyrical and poetic film about growing up black during the depression.

darryl clark
darryl clark

the learning tree was somewhat of a racist movie....but not all people was racist in this movie....this movie taught me alot about how some people can judging a book by its cover and not even reading the book.....or simply judging someone because they're different, how they look, their skin color, their culture....not trying to find out or accepting, but quit to judge....there is good in some people no matter the color of their skin...blacks in this movie had somewhat of a good life, but they got looked down on.....the men folks got called "boy" alot....and of course the "N" word...but u know the ignorant ones was the one calling names.....the teacher made the black students feel like they couldn't go to college and make something out of themselves...just because of the color of their skin....said that all they was good for is to be cooks and porters....was a very interesting movie.....

Sweet Poetic Roni
Sweet Poetic Roni

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