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“Milk,” “Malcolm X,” “Norma Rae” and other films recognize the virtue of self-sacrifice
Martin Luther King Jr. captivated America with his calls for social equality and justice. Yet his story has bedeviled filmmakers who want to bring it to the big screen. Oliver Stone, Lee Daniels and Paul Greengrass are just a few of the big name directors who have struggled to get projects about the Civil Rights icon off the ground.
That's not to say that Hollywood hasn't created films that lionize public figures, sports heroes and average joes and janes who stood their ground against implacable forces. Be it William Wallace standing down his English oppressors in "Braveheart" or activist "Malcolm X" preaching a more radical brand of political empowerment or Harvey Milk galvanizing San Francisco's gay community in "Milk" these characters have the power to inspire moviegoers and remind them about the brave men and women who envision and demand change.