Gordon Parks' adaptation of his autobiographical novel. The story centers on Newt, a sensitive and intelligent 15-year-old boy living in the South during the 1920s. An African-American with high aspirations in an age when segregation ruled, Newt's experiences with racism, sex, love, and loss help him develop into a mature individual. In contrast, Newt's friend Marcus is a sullen youth who seems to think only with his fists, and whose life is headed nowhere. But Newt's morality is severely tested when the wrong man is arrested for a murder that Newt witnessed. If Newt discloses the true killer's identity, it could affect both his and Marcus' lives forever.
Won: National Film Registry, 1989 National Film Preservation Board; Outstanding Actress (Evans), 1969 Image Awards
Holds a special place in film history for being the first major studio feature length film directed by an African-American director. - Nick Hartel, DVD TALK