Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a day to reflect on the legacy of one of the most important leaders the world has ever seen, and for those who want a deeper dive into the life and impact of MLK Jr., there are a number of films worth checking out. On this national holiday, we’ve rounded up a list of some of the best MLK Jr. movies to watch and where to stream them. They range from narrative films that take some liberties to dramatize the civil rights leader’s life, to deep-dive documentaries.
Filmmaker Ava DuVernay’s 2014 film “Selma” offers a wonderfully complex portrayal of Martin Luther King Jr. that chronicles the man’s inspiring impact, but also doesn’t neglect his personal challenges. The film covers the events surrounding the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches, with David Oyelowo playing the role of Martin Luther King Jr., Carmen Ejogo playing Coretta Scott King and Tom Wilkinson playing Lyndon B. Johnson. It’s an impactful and emotional film that serves as a great window into the human side of MLK.
Where It’s Streaming: Peacock and FuboTV
The 2020 documentary “MLK/FBI” offers a look into the relationship between Martin Luther King Jr. and the FBI, including the harassment MLK received from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Directed by Sam Pollard, the film covers J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI’s attempts to discredit MLK and goes up through his assassination, using archival footage to tell the story.
Where It’s Streaming: Hulu
The 2001 HBO drama “Boycott” tells the story of the 1955-1956 Montgomery bus boycott, with Jeffrey Wright filling the role of Martin Luther King Jr. Directed by Clark Johnson, the made-for-TV movie also stars Terrence Howard as Ralph Abernathy, Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King (again) and Reg E. Cathey as E.D. Nixon.
Where It’s Streaming: HBO Max
"King in the Wilderness"
The 2018 documentary “King in the Wilderness” zeroes in on the final two years of MLK’s life, leading up to his assassination in 1968. The documentary boasts interviews with those closest to Martin Luther King Jr., as well as archival footage.
Where It’s Streaming: HBO Max and Kanopy
"Eyes on the Prize"
“Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Movement” was a 14-part documentary series that aired on PBS from 1987 to 1990, but six installments are currently streaming on HBO Max that cover the years 1954 to 1965 – including much of MLK’s actions.