The true story of a 1925 trial that pit two bullheaded lawyers against
one another to debate the legality of teaching evolution in public schools.
Inherit the Wind (1960)
Directed by Stanley Kramer
Written by Nedrick Young and Harold Jacob Smith
Starring Spencer Tracy, Fredric March, Gene Kelly, Donna Anderson, Dick York, Florence Eldridge, Harry Morgan, Claude Akins
Based on the stage play by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee
Oscar Nominations - Best Actor (Spencer Tracy), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing
There's an old saying. Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. We've been down these roads before. We're constantly spinning in one direction, and we delude ourselves into thinking we've made progress. In reality, we're right where we've always been, free thinkers trapped inside a bubble surrounded by God-fearing, bible thumpers who are screaming louder and crazier than we are. Inherit the Wind is just as relevant now than when it was made, if not more so. It's a film about the morality of religion, or rather the immorality that appears whenever that religion is questioned. Featuring three incredible performances from Spencer Tracy, Fredric March, and Gene Kelly, this film should be taught in schools as a lesson in the biggest hindrance to progress this world has ever had.
In 1925, a schoolteacher named John Scopes was arrested and tried in Dayton, Tennessee for having the audacity to teach evolution in a public classroom, which was against state law. God was the only law, and anyone who stood against Him was shunned and ridiculed as an atheist and a sinner. This film simply changed the names of those involved, but the story is pretty much the same. Tracy plays Henry Drummond, an experienced lawyer who believes in truth over God, and he represents teacher Bert Cates (York). On the other side is bible thumper Matthew Harrison Brady (March), who has deluded himself into thinking he's God's attorney who is there to smote the sinner. It's insane, and it turns into a national case.
This film was based on a play that was written as an allegory for McCarthyism, and that's apparent throughout. More so, I think it's astonishing that we are still having these problems. We are still being led by a generation that holds God above their constituents, and all that has done is sow hatred, exclusion, and pain into the fabric of our society. I love films that (for lack of a better expression) punch God in the face, and remind us that the real paradise can be found right here on earth. It's in the way we choose to treat one another, and the way we encourage morality, truth, decency, and love.