The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till

2004, Documentary, 1h 10m

32 Reviews 250+ Ratings

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critics consensus

Without sensationalism or flinching from the brutality of the crime, this documentary is an eye-opening call for justice. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

This documentary presents a sobering reminder of the racial tensions that gripped America not so long ago. In Mississippi during the '50s, a black teenager named Emmett Louis Till, who is from Chicago and visiting his great-uncle, whistles at a white woman in public. Not too long afterward, he is kidnapped and murdered. The filmmakers revisit the public outrage that follows, revealing Till's family as being particularly brave for standing up to white racism when it was clearly unsafe to do so.

Cast & Crew

Ceola Beauchamp
Executive Producer
Edgar Beauchamp
Executive Producer
Ali Bey
Executive Producer
Steve Laitmon
Executive Producer
David Dessel
Film Editor
Jim Papoulis
Original Music
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Critic Reviews for The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till

All Critics (32) | Top Critics (18) | Fresh (31) | Rotten (1)

  • Beauchamp, who worked on his film for nine years, dutifully reinterviews the surviving witnesses, and more effectively than any previous documentary or return look at the case, re-creates the atmosphere of a 1950s Mississippi.

    February 17, 2006 | Rating: 3/4
  • This well-focused, short (75 minute) film will be an eye opener for those who didn't live through the era. For those who did, it will be all too familiar.

    February 9, 2006 | Rating: 3.5/5
  • Untold Story is a documentary of compassion and urgency, a film that cries out, as virtually every film and story on this subject does, for justice, something that didn't happen in 1950s Mississippi.

    January 12, 2006 | Rating: 4/5
  • Potent and searing.

    December 2, 2005 | Rating: 3/4
  • You leave the theater feeling moved by a mother's courage, sickened by the crime and a little frustrated, wondering if this unquiet moment in our history will ever rest easy.

    October 14, 2005 | Full Review…
  • Beauchamp expertly excerpts long stretches from the extensive television coverage of the 1955 events, juxtaposing them with present-day interviews with the people who lived though these traumatic happenings.

    October 13, 2005 | Full Review…
  • Beauchamp, who worked on his film for nine years, dutifully reinterviews the surviving witnesses, and more effectively than any previous documentary or return look at the case, re-creates the atmosphere of a 1950s Mississippi.

    February 17, 2006 | Rating: 3/4
  • This well-focused, short (75 minute) film will be an eye opener for those who didn't live through the era. For those who did, it will be all too familiar.

    February 9, 2006 | Rating: 3.5/5
  • Untold Story is a documentary of compassion and urgency, a film that cries out, as virtually every film and story on this subject does, for justice, something that didn't happen in 1950s Mississippi.

    January 12, 2006 | Rating: 4/5
  • Potent and searing.

    December 2, 2005 | Rating: 3/4
  • Eye-opening docu on horrific '50s murder has graphic images.

    March 3, 2019 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Features some sweet moments of reflection by the late Mamie Till during which she wistfully reminisces about the intelligent, curious and animated son taken away from her so brutally and senselessly.

    May 31, 2007 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till

  • Nov 16, 2010
    Can't believe this was only a few decades ago. A good doc about injustice and racism.
    Wu C Super Reviewer
  • Mar 13, 2009
    Probably the most compelling and disturbing documentary I have ever seen! It truly opened my eyes as to racial injustices in the Southern states of the U.S. prior to the 1960s. Emmett Louis Till was a catalyst to the American Civil Rights Movement, and as such, I believe virtually everyone should spare some time to see this.
    Janice : Super Reviewer
  • Aug 18, 2007
    I had to watch this documentary for a sociology class. I was horrified by the brutal murder of this innocent kid. This was a true story, occuring 5 years before I was born.
    Ida K Super Reviewer
  • Aug 28, 2005
    [font=Century Gothic]"The Untold Story of Emmitt Louis Till" is a documentary about 14-year old Emmitt Louis Till, who was tortured and lynched while on vacation with relatives in Mississippi in 1955. This and the failure to convict the killers in a courtroom were one of the main sparks of the Civil Rights Movement. This documentary really does not provide any new information and simply relies on talking heads and archival material.(One of the interviews is with Till's mother who provides the emotional core of the movie.) The most informative parts involve Till's funeral in Chicago and the preparations for that. There is a very odd coda, though. The main point of this documentary is that there are few things more powerful than a mother's grief.[/font] [font=Century Gothic][/font] [font=Century Gothic][color=navy]"Darwin's Nightmare" is a powerful documentary about the thoroughly catastrophic ecosystem of Lake Victoria in Tanzania, a country on the edge of famine as it is. Some years before, Nile Perch were introduced into the lake which not only killed off all the other fish in the lake but also cannibalize themselves. Humans are affected because if they do not have one of the relative handful of jobs involved with the catching and processing of the fish(which are all shipped off to Europe without anything beneficial in return), then they must turn to prostitution, find some other way to survive or starve. But even for the people who do work, life can be risky - HIV/AIDS is rampant, fishing is itself dangerous and the local airport's primitive conditions make things a little risky trying to take off and land. The movie interviews people involved like factory managers, airport security, Russian pilots, a prositute, a minister and a local artist.(No outside experts are interviewed but we can see for ourselves that something is seriously wrong here.) My only complaint is that none of the people lucky enough to work in the factory are interviewed to get a sense of how their lives are. This is an excellent documentary about neo-colonialist attitudes that allow for people to make a buck at the expense of other people they have no interest in helping.[/color][/font]
    Walter M Super Reviewer

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