Based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Harper Lee, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD is a beguiling indictment of bigotry and much, much more. There is so much going on in this film that to boil it down to one theme is very hard. To say it's about learning to walk in another man's shoes to understand what they are like is to neglect the equally powerful coming of age, loss of innocence and noble parenting themes that are part of its power.
The story is told from the point of view of the children of small town lawyer Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck, GUNS OF NAVARONE). Scout (Mary Badham, THIS PROPERTY IS CONDEMNED) is his tomboy daughter, who also narrates the film as a recollection. Jem (Phillip Alford, SHENANDOAH) is his older son, who gets into a fair share of trouble, but spends a greater deal of his time keeping his sister out of worse fixes. For the summer, they become friends with a peculiar young boy named Dill Harris (John Megna, THE CANNONBALL RUN). They inform Dill about the many legends of their town. Mean old Mrs. Dubose (Ruth White, MIDNIGHT COWBOY) hides a Confederate pistol under her lap blanket when sitting on her porch. Nathan Radley (Richard Hale, BEN-HUR) is the meanest man in town and keeps his grown son Boo (Robert Duvall, APOCALYPSE NOW) locked up in the basement because he's dangerous. The Radley house is a constant realm of fear for which only the bravest kid dares to go on the porch or peer into the window.