20 Years Later Shawshank is Still Cashing In

20 years in, “The Shawshank Redemption” isn’t just a great film, but one of the few that still generates generous returns for all involved.

I saw this article on MSN detailing just how ‘Shawshank’ continues to make money and how some of the actors still get recognized for their roles all these years later.

The article goes on to explain how a film like “Shawshank” is a goldmine for film libraries who license movies to television networks. “Shawshank” might be viewed as the rising tide that lifts all boats when it’s packaged with other less desirable films, but yet can still bring back a decent return for the studio. The film has made more than $100 million since its 1994 theatrical release.

The Men Who Would Play Mandela

On December 5th, the world said goodbye to Nelson Mandela, one of the truly great leaders of the 20th century.

The freedom fighter who fought tirelessly against a racist government regime, only to be imprisoned for 27 years on a barren island, and to be elected president just four years after being released, is the stuff of fairy tales — but all of it incredibly true. Not only was Mandela’s journey the stuff of legends, but it made for good theater as well. So it should come as no surprise that Nelson Mandela’s rise from prisoner to president has been adopted numerous times on the big screen and Mandela himself portrayed by a variety of actors. Here’s a list of a few of them starting with the most recent.

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom” (2013)
 Mandela portrayed by Idris Elba

Winnie” (2011)
 Mandela portrayed by Terrence Howard

Invictus” (2009)
 Mandela portrayed by Morgan Freeman

The Color of Freedom” (2007)
 Mandela portrayed by Dennis Haysbert

Mandela and de Klerk” (1997)
 Mandela portrayed by Sidney Poitier

A Salute to Black Military Film Roles on This Memorial Day

Today we remember all of those who risked their lives and who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms.

Film has often done an excellent job of telling these various war stories and allowing us to get more of an intimate look at the men and women behind the uniforms.

For black veterans the medium of film has also served as a way of illuminating their stories to the mainstream public at large. Whether it was due to racism or simply just being forgotten about, film has allowed the stories of more (certainly not enough though) veterans of color the opportunity to not only have their stories told, but get the proper due for their heroism.

Here are some films featuring African Americans and their roles in the armed forces and protecting our freedom:

Louis Gosset Jr. “An Officer and A Gentleman” (1982)

Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman “Glory” (1989)

Samuel L. Jackson  “Assualt at West Point” (1994)

“The Tuskegee Airmen” (1995)

Cuba Gooding Jr. “Men of Honor” (2000)

With the exception of “An Officer and A Gentlemen,” all these films are based on true events. Truth be told, I would have known a lot less about these people and their stories if not for their onscreen depictions. In fact, these movies did more than educate. One of them even cleared a name.

The film “Assualt at West Point,” which featured Samuel L. Jackson, was based off the true story of Johnson Chestnut Whittaker, who was the first black man to be accepted into West Point. Whittaker was assaulted by his peers and accused of faking the incident. Whittaker was found guilty and subsequently expelled in 1881. By the time “Assualt at West Point” had aired in 1994, a movement to clear Whittaker’s name was in full effect, and in 1995 then President Clinton presented a posthumous commission to Whittaker’s family.

It is important that we not forget the sacrifices of those who have served in the armed forces have made for us on this day. Not everyone has a movie made about their lives or achievements, but every person who has ever fought for this country certainly deserves the respect and gratitude of all Americans on this Memorial Day.