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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is remembered as an American hero: a bridge-builder, a shrewd political tactician, and a moral leader. Yet throughout his history-altering political career, he was often treated by U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies like an enemy of the state. In this virtuosic film, award-winning editor, and director Sam Pollard lays out a detailed account of the FBI surveillance that dogged King’s activism throughout the ’50s and ’60s, fueled by the racist and red-baiting paranoia of J. Edgar Hoover. In crafting a rich archival tapestry, featuring some revelatory restored footage of King, Pollard urges us to remember that true American progress is always hard-won.


  • The Guardian
    "This documentary throws the bureau’s appalling dirty-tricks campaign into sharp focus"
    Peter Bradshaw
  • The New York Times
    "’s an exemplary historical documentary — unafraid of moral judgment but also attentive to the fine grain of ambiguity that clings to the facts."
    A.O. Scott
  • Variety
    "...a tensely absorbing documentary..."
    Owen Gleiberman

Festival Participation

  • Toronto International Film Festival - 2020
    Official Selection
  • New York Film Festival - 2020
    Official Selection
  • Critics' Choise Awards - 2020
    Best Archival Documentary
  • San Diego International Film Festival - 2020
    Best Documentary
  • Santa Fe Independent Film Festival - 2020
    Best Documentary Feature
  • IDA Documentary Awards - 2020
  • Chicago International Film Festival - 2020

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