Theatrical Release: January 9, 2015


A chronicle of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965.

Dove Review

“Selma” is the title and town of this historic film, based on the real-life events surrounding a Civil Rights march on a bridge in Selma, Alabama. Blacks from Selma and across the country wanted to draw attention to the Civil Rights movement and, specifically, their right to vote. The result was violent as police officers beat people with clubs and gassed them. Later on, Dr. King himself led a similar march that wound up being much more peaceful. And one third of the second group was white.

The excellent cast includes David Oyelowo as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King, Tim Roth as George Wallace, Martin Sheen as Judge Frank Minis Johnson, Oprah Winfrey as Annie Lee Cooper, and Tom Wilkinson as President Lyndon B. Johnson. This terrific ensemble cast brings the past to life with their nuanced and dramatic performances. And Oyelowo does a remarkable job re-creating Dr. King’s speeches.

The sacrifice and cost of the Civil Rights movement are dramatized in a powerful way, including the explosion inside a church that took the lives of four innocent girls. Although the history is well presented, along with the compelling acting, the movie contains several utterances of strong language in addition to violent moments on screen. People are beaten with clubs and shot, and some of these scenes are plainly a shocking reminder of atrocities committed in the 1960s. Due to language and violent content, we are unable to award the movie our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal.

Content Description

Faith: None
Integrity: None
Sex: Sounds of a couple having sex are heard briefly.
Language: GD-5; J H. Ch*ist-1; Ch*ist Sake-1; F-2; Ba*tards My Lord-1; SOB-1; D-7; Slang for breasts-1; H-5; S-5; BS-1; Spook-1; use of the word "nig*er"-several times; A-2.
Violence: Blacks beaten with clubs and shot; whites beaten, kicked and punched; others are punched; bloody faces from beatings; four girls killed in a church explosion and a child's body is seen in debris with blood on head; tear gas is used; people are shoved.
Drugs: Smoking of cigarettes; drinking in a few scenes.
Nudity: None
Other: Racial prejudice of some whites against blacks; blacks put in jail; it's said one racist sheriff would beat up Elvis and Jesus if they came to his town; racist sign.


Company: Paramount
Writer: Paul Webb
Director: Ava DuVernay
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 127 min.
Reviewer: Edwin L. Carpenter