Gregory Peck lends his legendary dignity to the role of Atticus Finch, Harper Lee’s iconic small-town attorney. Penned for the screen by Horton Foote, the movie was an instant classic, as lawyer Finch rises above the naked racism of Depression-era Alabama to defend a crippled black man (Brock Peters) falsely accused of rape by a lonely, young white woman.
Finch’s quiet courage is seen through the eyes of Scout (Mary Badham), his 6-year-old daughter, and embraced by an emerging generation of lawyers as the epitome of both moral certainty and unyielding trust in the rule of law.
When the accuser’s drunken, incredulous father glares and asks Atticus, “What kind of man are you?” the unspoken answer is easy: both the self-assured lawyer and upright human being we all hope to be.
Trivia: Three Oscar wins. Finch was Lee’s mother’s maiden name.
Beyond courtroom drama: Find new movies on our 2018 all-time favorites list.