Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: The Learning Tree
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I have loved this film from childhood and have
taped it down through the years.
But in this day and age of DVD, I think it's ridiculous
that they have released all the old "pimps & ho's"
blaxploitation flicks of the late 60's and early 70's,
yet are reluctant to release treaures like this one
as readily!
The late Gordon Parks did an excellent job of bringing
his book (a recount of his coming of age in 1920's Kansas)
to life with vivid performances by some young actors
and a few of the old school legends of that time
who were still around.
It's a wonder they haven't tried to remake it with
some of the good actors of today!
I've always wondered what happened to some of the
actors who played in this film over the years.
I think that they probably also have some great
behind-the-scenes documentary-style footage
as well, which both could make great extras
on the DVD version.
Bottomline, this movie is a piece of living history
and should be restored and enhanced with
the technology of today!
11 comment| 51 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 24, 2004
This movie is a classic because it is real. Not only is the setting incredible, but the clothing, the speeech patterns and the general atmosphere make "The Learning Tree" a potentially powerful and impactful learning tool as swell.

Its the 1920s south and there isn't one black person who doesn't have a grandparent or a great grandparent who doesn't remember those times. The acting in this movie leaves a great deal to be desired, but the story is so powerful that you can relate ot every character. Newt, the young boy (Gordon Parks as a child) is polite, considerate and curious. The movie begins with him lsoing his virginity to a much older person, a young woman who rescues him from a tornado.How Parks pulled off that storm is a wonder to me, because if I'm not mistaken this flick pre-dates the kind of special effects that we see in "Twister." But then agian, they used it in the "Wizard of Oz," so I guess it must be a director's secret.

The key to this movie is that a young boy grows up, falls in love, learns about life when hsi girlfriend runs off with a thug, witnesses a murder and has to decide if he should tell or not. The man who commits the murder is the father of a young bully that Newt always had problems with. THe racism of the sheriff of the town and how black kids were used back then is a key part of the story.

This movie is a treasure. No black studies department or ethnic studies program should be without it. The "learning" that young Newt attained transcended the classroom, but began with a loving family, all sticking together no matter what the odds. That love spread throughout the community. I'm not sure if race relations during that time were as amicable as this movie makes them appear, but the black community of today could learn some lessons from the community that was depicted in "The Learning Tree."

This movie, like "Raisin in the Sun," "Imitation of Life," "Sounder," "Man and Boy" and "The Spook Who Sat By the Door" should be mandatory teaching tools for all high school students, black and white.
11 comment| 51 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 17, 2004
This movie made a very striking and lasting impression on me, I first saw it when I was about 12 years old. It's a movie that both my Grandmother, who is nearly 81, and I, who am 28 years of age now, can both enjoy because it's a drama based on history. It's a learning experience for those who cannot begin to fathom what it was like for blacks in America during those racially charged earlier days in American history.
0Comment| 41 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 30, 2004
I put this film in the same category as such films as Where the Red Fern Grows, The Yearling, or Sounder. It deals with harsh subjects (racism, murder) but in a gentle way or should I say in a way that is straightforward and isn't gratuitous or sensational. I would say its closest modern counderpart is Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored. Definately an underrated classic.
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on March 3, 2002
I rank this right up there with "To Kill a Mockingbird"
(which, I admit, I haven't watched for a few years).
I suspect this film is better at showing what life was like for
Blacks and has a better balanced cast of good, bad, and mixed
characters. This probably didn't catch on as much since the
sex was less politically correct for the time (e.g., white boy
gets black girl pregnant), there are onscreen shootings, and
there is minor onscreen nudity.
Extremely appropriate for high schoolers and up interested
in a strongly moving view of the black experience by a very
major artist and writer (Parks).
0Comment| 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 26, 2003
The story was based off of Gordon Parks real life story. A very good depiction of life in the early part of the century.
0Comment| 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 27, 1999
The Learning Tree is an absolute great film. It really details the trials and tribulations of what African-Americans had to go through in America. It shows the good and evil in Black and White America. I urge everyone to see this film.
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on February 23, 2013
This movie is an excellent depiction of black life during the 1920s and 30s era. As a child who grew up during the civil rights movement this movie was able to give the context and experiences that fueled the movement. The young Kyle is viewing the world through very innocent and noble eyes. He is awakened to a world of injustice and unfairness that helps him develop a moral compass.

I initially saw this movie during the 60s. It left a permanent impression on me and also help to shape my moral compass and sense of justice and fairness. I highly recommend this film for teenagers and young adults. This movie is a treasure and should be added to the National Archives.
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on August 8, 2012
I'm proud to say I had a one-liner in this movie. My Dad was an extra, & my band, "The New Survivors," played the "wrap" party. I stayed in-touch with Gordon Parks until his passing in 2006. Many believe this story is just another in that long line of Southern Story's, but this story was actually written, & filmed in, Mr. Parks' (& mine) birthplace, Fort Scott, Kansas. Kyle Johnson, who plays the lead role, Newt Winger, is the son of "Lt. Uhura on Star Trek," & Sheriff Kirky was played by the late Dana Elcar who had important roles in many notable films including, "The Sting," & in later years, played "Pete," Macgyver's boss on the Macgyver TV series. Mr Parks was a talented & genuine man who has left us with a valuable film, "The Learning Tree," which has been inducted into The National Film Registry.
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on January 12, 2014
I saw this movie as a child, and I have always wanted to see it again. It follows a period in the life of a young teenager back in whatever time era that was. I did not keep up with that. But although times have changed, many of the things this young teenager goes through are timeless. I mean one may never see the racial issues as they saw them back then, but there are many people of all ages who may go through relationships with someone they considered quite significant only to find that the other had relationships elsewhere that could or did create lasting or nowadays fatal concerns. Then there are relationships with friends, family and enemies that may be similar to those in this movie. I won't go into the details here, because the movie is interesting enough. But whoever has ever gone through anything in life may see a bit of themselves right here in one or more of these characters.
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