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10 Best Movies Like ‘Rustin’ To Watch If You Loved the Film

Rustin is a biographical drama film directed by George C. Wolfe, from a screenplay by Julian Breece and Dustin Lance Black. The Netflix film is based on the life of civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, who helped Martin Luther King Jr. and others organize the 1963 March on Washington. The film shows us how history erased him from the civil rights movement he helped build just because an openly gay Black man. Rustin stars Colman Domingo in the lead role of Bayard Rustin, with Chris RockJeffrey WrightAml AmeenLilli Kay, and Johnny Ramey starring in supporting roles. So, if you loved the Netflix film here are some similar movies you could watch next.

Selma (Prime Video, MGM+ & Paramount+)

Movies Like Rustin
Credit – Paramount Pictures

Synopsis: SELMA is the story of a movement. The film chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement. Director Ava DuVernay’s SELMA tells the real story of how the revered leader and visionary Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) and his brothers and sisters in the movement prompted change that forever altered history.

The Great Debaters (Prime Video, Pluto TV & Tubi)

Movies Like Rustin
Credit – Harpo Productions

Synopsis: From two-time Academy Award winner Denzel Washington and an ensemble cast lead by Washington that includes Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker, comes The Great Debaters. Inspired by a true story, The Great Debaters chronicles the journey of Professor Melvin Tolson (Denzel Washington), a brilliant but volatile debate team coach who uses the power of words to shape a group of underdog students from a small African American college in the deep south into a historically elite debate team. A controversial figure, Professor Tolson challenged the social mores of the time and was under constant fire for his unconventional and ferocious teaching methods as well as his radical political views. In their pursuit for excellence, Tolson’s debate team receives a groundbreaking invitation to debate Harvard University’s championship team. The film is directed by Denzel Washington and stars Washington, Forest Whitaker, Jurnee Smollett, Nate Parker, Denzel Whitaker, and Kimberly Elise. The Great Debaters was written by Robert Eisele and produced by Todd Black, Kate Forte, Oprah Winfrey and Joe Roth.

The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix)

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Credit: Netflix

Synopsis: What was intended to be a peaceful protest at the 1968 Democratic National Convention turned into a violent clash with police and the National Guard. The organizers of the protest—including Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Tom Hayden and Bobby Seale—were charged with conspiracy to incite a riot and the trial that followed was one of the most notorious in history.

The Butler (Rent on Prime Video)

Movies Like Rustin
Credit – The Weinstein Company

Synopsis: In Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker) tells the story of his remarkable life. Born the son of cotton pickers in early 20th-century Georgia, Cecil witnesses his father’s execution at the hand of his remorseless young boss and is then brought into the plantation house and taught how to be a domestic servant. He escapes Georgia for North Carolina, where a hotel butler teaches him everything he needs to know about working for wealthy white patrons. Cecil is offered a job at a prestigious Washington, D.C., hotel and one day is unexpectedly given the opportunity to join the White House’s domestic staff as a butler. As Cecil serves three decades’ worth of presidents (from Eisenhower to Reagan), his wife, Gloria (Oprah Winfrey), struggles with alcoholism, and his oldest son, Louis (David Oyelowo), joins the civil rights movement.

One Night in Miami… (Prime Video)

Movies Like Rustin
Credit – Amazon Studios

Synopsis: On the evening of February 25, 1964, four icons of sports, entertainment and activism celebrated one of the greatest upsets in boxing history in a modest motel room in Miami. After claiming the World Heavyweight title for the first time, Cassius Clay (Eli Goree) — who would soon change his name to Muhammad Ali — got together with three friends: human rights activist Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), music superstar Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.) and football legend and emerging action-movie hero Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge).

One Night In Miami… is a fictional imagining of the historic night these towering figures spent together. Unbeknownst to the others, Malcolm X, who is about to embark on a bold new undertaking that will put him in grave personal danger, has arranged the gathering in the hope of winning Clay’s support. As the evening progresses in surprising ways, the four men engage in passionate debate about their roles as celebrities and leaders at a pivotal moment in the Civil Rights Movement.

Milk (Max & Prime Video Add-On)

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Credit – Focus Features

Synopsis: Academy Award nominee Gus Van Sant directs Academy Award winner Sean Penn as gay-rights icon Harvey Milk. Mr. Milk (1930-1978) was an activist and politician, and the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in America; in 1977, he was voted to the city supervisors’ board of San Francisco. The following year, both he and the city’s mayor George Moscone were shot to death by another city supervisor, Dan White. Mr. Milk was previously the subject of the Academy Award-winning documentary feature “The Times of Harvey Milk,” but “Milk” — filmed on location in San Francisco — is the first non-documentary feature to explore the man’s life and career.

Malcolm X (Rent on Prime Video & Tubi)

Movies Like Rustin
Credit – Warner Bros.

Synopsis: Often misunderstood, Malcolm X was one of the leading forces of the United States’ Civil Rights Movement. He inspired many–and frightened many–but is destined to be remembered as one of the greatest men of his era. This riveting biography directed by Spike Lee and starring Denzel Washington in an Academy Award-nominated performance reveals the man at the center of a storm of change.

Cry Freedom (Rent on Prime Video)

Movies Like Rustin
Credit – Universal Pictures

Synopsis: The tension and terror that is present-day South Africa is powerfully portrayed in director Richard Attenborough’s sweeping story of black activist Stephen Biko (Denzel Washington) and a liberal white newspaper editor who risks his own life to bring Biko’s message to the world. After learning of apartheid’s true horrors through Biko’s eyes, editor Donald Woods (Kevin Kline) discovers that his friend has been silenced by the police. Determined not to let Biko’s message go unheard, Woods undertakes a perilous quest to escape South Africa and bring Biko’s remarkable tale of courage to the world. The riveting, true story offers a stirring account of man at his most evil and most heroic.

Marshall (Netflix & Rent on Prime Video)

Movies Like Rustin
Credit – Open Road Films

Synopsis: Long before he sat on the United States Supreme Court or claimed victory in Brown v. Board of Education, Thurgood Marshall (Chadwick Boseman) was a young rabble-rousing attorney for the NAACP. The new motion picture, MARSHALL, is the true story of his greatest challenge in those early days – a fight he fought alongside attorney Sam Friedman (Josh Gad), a young lawyer with no experience in criminal law: the case of black chauffeur Joseph Spell (Sterling K. Brown), accused by his white employer, Eleanor Strubing (Kate Hudson), of sexual assault and attempted murder.

Gandhi (Rent on Prime Video)

Movies Like Rustin
Credit – Columbia Pictures

Synopsis: Sir Ben Kingsley stars as Mohandas Gandhi in Lord Richard Attenborough’s riveting biography of the man who rose from simple lawyer to worldwide symbol of peace and understanding. A critical masterpiece, Gandhi is an intriguing story about activism, politics, religious tolerance and freedom. But at the center of it all is an extraordinary man who fought for a nonviolent, peaceful existence, and set an entire nation free. Winner of 8 Academy Awards® including Best Picture, Best Director (Richard Attenborough) and Best Actor (Sir Ben Kingsley), Gandhi’s highly acclaimed cast also includes Candice Bergen, Edward Fox, Sir John Gielgud, Roshan Seth and Martin Sheen.

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