The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1974) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: Beginning during the racial turmoil of 1960s Louisiana, 110-year-old ex-slave Jane Pittman grants an interview to a persistent journalist and relates the remarkable story of her life. Orphaned early, she toils on a plantation until a chance meeting with a white Union soldier named Brown changes her… Runtime: 110 min Release Date: 31 Jan 1974
"It's the NOBILITY that you respect..." (by Gavno)
With these words Miss Jane Pittman, speaking of an ancient, imposing oak tree, sums up her own 110 years of life. And they also sum up this magnificent, made for TV film.I saw this film, only once, when it was first aired on CBS. In those times of the Vietnam antiwar protests and Civil Rights struggles, it made an indelible impression on a young college student... an impression that has remained, strong and bright now as it was then, over the 30 years since it's initial release.When at long last the film became available on DVD, getting it was a no brainer. Even tho it's 30 years old <more>
now, the film has lost none of it's emotional impact.This film and one other I WILL FIGHT NO MORE FOREVER, outlining the battle by Chief Joseph to lead his people to freedom away from the reservation were sponsored by the Xerox Corporation. Both projects were a spin off of the "Xerox Park" experiment; an attempt to spur technological progress in a cloistered hothouse environment of intellectuals, while at the same time fulfilling their perceived social responsibility to enhance American culture.The Xerox Park experiment produced a number of worthwhile products; it advanced electronics and computer technology to lay the foundations that produced the first personal computers, it produced what I consider the best book outlining strategic thought in chess that's ever been written, and it's direct sponsorship produced these two films.THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MISS JANE PITTMAN is is an historical tour de force that tells the story of Black people in America from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement and the space age in the 1970s, as seen through to eyes of a 110 year old woman who had lived through it all.With simplicity and an immense dignity Jane Pittman speaks of the Reconstruction period in the deep South, with it's struggles for Black self determination and betterment, the constant terror of the Ku Klux Klan to thwart those efforts, and the legacy of racism that White America used as it fought those efforts at social advancement and equality, right up to the present day.Cicely Tyson's performance as Miss Jane is MAGNIFICENT. The makeup that gradually changes her from a young woman in her 20s to a 110 year old woman is remarkable.The ending is one of the most emotional and moving things ever produced for a TV movie... with simple, fearless dignity, Miss Jane Pittman makes her final, and most magnificent stand against the racism that she'd known all her life.A film not to be missed. Ten stars.
An Outstanding and Moving History Lesson! (by JHW3)
I saw this movie when it first aired back in 1974, at age 13. Having grown up in an all white, Chicago suburb, all I knew about American's of African descent came from my history classes in grade school, classes which taught me that, many years ago, these peoples' forebears were slaves in America, that Lincoln had set them free, and that now they are free and equal. So I always wondered why they constantly seemed to be protesting, rioting, and committing crimes, as reported daily on the news? What do they have to so angry about now?This movie really opened my eyes for the first time <more>
and gave me a clue as to why these Americans were, and often still are, very angry. I never knew that any of the deplorable treatment of these Americans had gone on after slavery ended, and I was even more horrified to learn that this kind of treatment had continued into my lifetime, which began in 1961, and beyond.Such treatment as white's having a water fountain from which to drink, while black's were only provided with a pipe sticking out of the ground, if even that; the forcing of black women to give up their seats on buses to white men; black's not being allowed in white diners, white hotels, etc.; all of this was going on in America during my short lifetime, and I never knew it.The only thing that I ever cared about was that the Vietnam War would end before I was eighteen, so the protests against the war I could understand. Black protests for equal rights I couldn't understand, because as I stated, I thought they had equal rights.Well, this movie made me understand for the first time reality of equality did not exist in America. Since first seeing this movie, I have always felt that this movie should be mandatory viewing in every grade school history class in America.
A tale of incredible Endurance and Resilience. (by chemiche3)
The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman is a powerful story. Miss Jane's story of the 110 years of her life is incredible. How anyone could survive the horrors that she endured from slavery to freedom to carpetbaggers to even seeing the Civil Rights movement is almost unfathomable. The sad thing is that much never really changes for blacks over the 110 years even though they are free. Discrimination, lynching and the Ku Klux Klan are part of daily life.Miss Jane never realizes her dream of reaching Ohio the North . She loses everyone precious to her, her foster mother, Big Laura, her son, <more>
her husband, her godson. The only time she was really truly happy was during her brief marriage to Joe Pittman, a cowboy who's killed by an albino 'devil' horse. Yet, one wonders if her actions didn't cause Joe's death. She sharecrops and does what she needs to do to survive. Miss Jane remains a feisty admirable old woman to the end.The scene at the water fountain where Miss Jane dares the rednecks to try and stop her from drinking from the 'White's Only' fountain is so powerful. The expressions on the actors' faces white and black are so real.Cicely Tyson does an excellent job playing a 110 year old woman. In fact it's hard to believe that she is not an old woman. This film is far shorter than Roots and in my opinion should be required viewing for all American High School students.
Landmark American television Film. (by frncsbrennan)
A landmark in American television film; perhaps a landmark in American film, period. Cicely Tyson heartily deserved both Emmys she won for this role, and deserved some more awards as well. This is the story of a hundred and ten year old woman, who was a former slave, and who recounts her life to a young white journalist in the year 1962. This film authentically recounts U.S. history from the the end of the Civil War, Reconstruction, the turn of the century, and up to the Civil Rights period of the 1960s. Miss Pittman's walk to the fountain is a great scene, and welled up some tears in my <more>
This was an incredible film. Kudos to all involved. Incredible performances and the story is very touching.Particularly powerful to me as I am a white male, 35 years old, adopted by African Americans when just month's old, who were my babysitters when my real parent's decided to skip out on me. They were already of age at the time and my mom is still kicking at 80. She has had plenty of stories to share with me from her own experiences as well as her parents and family. The details from family events and stories with those portrayed in the film show incredible similarity.See this <more>
This movie is clearly comparable to 'Roots', another 1970's TV epic. The heart and soul of the film involves the infliction of hatred by whites on the African American from the time of legal slavery and through the turbulence of the 1960's civil rights movement. My wife remembers watching this film in grade school, and if nothing else it sure does educate. There are many moments that blatant torture of blacks is depicted in a historically vivid and all too real way. As I sat watching this film I couldn't help but ponder about how horrific people throughout history have <more>
behaved toward those that were deemed a threat, simply by virtue of their color, class or association. The movie skillfully captures how one group of American people suffered over the course of many generations.
A woman by the name of Jane Pittman is being interviewed about her life. The year is 1962. The place Louisiana. She is approximately 110 years old which made her a treasure trove of knowledge. She quickly guides the interviewer through certain memorable parts of her life that span slavery up through to the current era of freedom rides and challenging the Jim Crow laws.The movie, for the topic, is not very heavy. There's no way they could skirt around slavery, Jim Crow, and other atrocities but it was done in a very subdued manner. It's a nice movie and Cicely Tyson does a proper job. <more>
I only wish this were a real account of a real person.