At its heart, this is a love story: the true events of the lives of Richard and Mildred Loving, whose arrest for interracial marriage in Virginia in 1958 led to a long legal battle that made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Not long after they begin dating, Mildred gets pregnant, and the couple drives to Washington, D.C., to get married. Virginia was one of 24 states that outlawed interracial marriage. Back home, they try to keep their marriage a secret, but the local sheriff finds out and arrests them. To avoid prison, Richard and Mildred plead guilty and agree to move out of state, but they soon decide to move back home to be near family. With the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, their case eventually reaches the high court, which invalidates Virginia’s law. The film was written and directed by Jeff Nichols, who drew heavily from the 2011 documentary The Loving Story by Nancy Buirski.
Trivia: In Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court declared Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act of 1924 unconstitutional, which effectively struck down similar laws across the country.
See our August 2018 cover story: “The 25 Greatest Legal Movies.”
Attribution: Text by Kevin Davis; art by Sara Wadford and cinemamaterial.com; gallery by Andy Lefkowitz.