The Best of Enemies

 (4,154)
7.32 h 13 min2019X-Ray18+
Based on a true story, Ann Atwater, a fearless and outspoken civil rights activist, and C.P. Ellis, a local KKK leader, blaze the way for school desegregation in Durham, North Carolina, in 1971.
Directors
Robin Bissell
Starring
Taraji P. HensonSam Rockwell
Genres
DramaHistorical
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio languages
EnglishEnglish [Audio Description]
Rentals include 30 days to start watching this video and 48 hours to finish once started.
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Producers
Robin BissellDanny StrongFred BernsteinMatt BerensonDominique TelsonTobey MaguireMatthew Plouffe
Studio
STX Entertainment
Content advisory
Violencealcohol usesmokingfoul languagesexual content
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Stream instantly Details
Format
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Devices
Available to watch on supported devices

Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

4154 global ratings

  1. 83% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 11% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 4% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 1% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

joel wingReviewed in the United States on July 25, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Henson & Rockwell lead the cast but it's really organizer Ceesay that brings it all together
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Best of Enemies was based upon a true story. It takes place in Durham, North Carolina in 1971. The two main characters are Taraji P. Henson as Ann Atwater and Sam Rockwell as C.P. Ellis. Atwater is a community activist trying to help out the African Americans of the city. Ellis is the head of the local chapter of the KKK. The two come to loggerheads over the schools which was a major flashpoint in the struggle to integrate America. The movie is about how two opposites on the racial divide could overcome their differences and help the city of Durham.

The story has an important, but mostly overlooked part of the struggle for racial equality. Ellis welcomes a new member into the KKK’s youth corps and tells him that whites are an endangered species. Of course, whites were the majority in America and North Carolina, but the feeling amongst racists was that they were under siege and the victims even though they held all the power. That’s shown by the fact that the KKK is aligned with members of the city council. It shows that the idea that they would have to treat people as equals was a total shock to their entire identity and belief that America was for whites and whites alone.

The main part of the movie is about the community meetings organized by Bill Riddick (Babou Ceesay) to try to come to a resolution about integrating the schools. The first one is just Ellis, Atwater and Riddick. Ellis is cajoled into attending because the white power structure wants him to represent whites rather than anyone else. The idea was that he would block any integration plans that were conceived.

You would expect Atwater and Ellis to dominate the story, but it’s really the work of Riddick that was so crucial to the plot. Rather than having integration coming from a court or a government official it was the community meetings that Riddick organized that made the change.

The movie is very well done and has a touching ending.
18 people found this helpful
Angela Jackson-BrownReviewed in the United States on July 19, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Every school child should have to see this film
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This is a part of American history that most people want to forget, or they never knew about in the first place. This story is important because we are there again. We are heading full circle and until we unflinchingly stare our history in the face, we will be doomed to repeat it over and over again. The cast in this movie was phenomenal. I hope they all receive recognition for their amazing telling of this story. Ann Atwater was an American treasure. I am thankful for all of the Ann Atwater's who fought for her rights and those who didn't feel strong enough to fight for themselves.
28 people found this helpful
Margaret OpineReviewed in the United States on June 29, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
THIS IS AN AMERICAN STORY....THIS IS AN AMERICAN ATTEMPT
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AT TRYIN' TO JUMP-START A TRUE AMERICAN SOCIETY. (WE NOT THERE YET BUT WE STILL TRYIN').....[NOTHING BEATS A FAILURE BUT A TRY]....
FORMER PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER TOLD HIS STORIES ABOUT GROWING UP AS DEPICTED IN THIS TOWN. HE PLAYED WITH SOME ''''DARKER COMPLEXIONS'''....COMPLEXIONS, MIND YOU:(SAME BRAIN) .... YOU KNOW: '''ALL HUMAN'''--- BUT A DIFFERENT '''SHADE''' OF
COMPLEXION......

ANYWAY....HE PLAYED WITH ALL THE KIDS BUT HE STILL GREW UP TO BE A '''WHITE''' MAN.
BUT THEN HE SPENT THE REST OF HIS LIFE TRYING TO BE THE BEST HUMAN HE COULD BE.

I LIKED THIS STORY A LOT (ABOUT PEOPLE BECOMING PEOPLE)....AND I WAS REMINDED OF
THE '''MARVA COLLINS'''' STORY. MARVA TAUGHT KIDS IN HER LIVING ROOM THAT GREW UP TO BE LIKE: A JUDGE AND A PILOT....IF MEMORY SERVES ME...AND OTHER VOCATIONS.
(LOOK IT UP. SEE THAT MOVIE TOO: '''''The Marva Collins Story"''.)

THANKS FOR THIS PRODUCTION. I AM GIVING IT AS A GIFT AND I BOUGHT ONE FOR MY LIBRARY.
14 people found this helpful
ldemarReviewed in the United States on March 4, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
this is what it is all about
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Sometimes the things human beings do, in their ignorance and fear, are monstrous. Ann's face looking into the eyes of that white hood and becoming frozen - you just knew she'd experienced something monstrous. And yet when becoming aware of the wound of the "monster" she couldn't help but ONLY see the human being inside, hopeless and hurting. This is a big story, even bigger than black/white, man/woman, rich/poor. It is just one more story that illustrates that sometimes the only thing that divides human beings is ignorance and programming - and that is hard to get out from under.

if you see something, or are doing something, or are enabling something that feels in your gut to be wrong or horrifically wrong, yet you fear listening to your gut and doing something about it, understand that once you are brave enough to allow yourself to see past your programming and really look at it instead of putting your head back in the sand - once you take that first step out of your comfort "safety" zone, your fear will evaporate and you will become bold. ...and you see here, I stopped being afraid of run-on sentences : ) )

“Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

"You can only get into the hearts of others by YOU being vulnerable yourself." Carlos' Master Class commercial (just saw the commercial 5 minutes ago)
14 people found this helpful
janaReviewed in the United States on July 7, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Most Excellent!
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Wow! Great story....doesn't matter that it was predictable cause the wonderful moments were still just as impactful and satisfying. Love Rockwell and Henson...amazing actors no matter what they're in. This was Oscar caliber for Henson tho. If you'd like to see another flick that really showcases Rockwells talent? Check out Matchstick Men....awesome!! Rockwell can be incredibly hilarious as well. I rarely give out 5 stars but this movie definitely deserves them.
18 people found this helpful
Nikol HaslerReviewed in the United States on June 20, 2021
3.0 out of 5 stars
Another white savior film
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I love historical portrayals of true events around the civil rights movement. This one surely had promise.

I enjoyed seeing the way these charettes were conducted and found it an interesting approach to solving local issues.

However. (sigh) I am so sick of movies where some white person comes around and suddenly goes from hating all black people to not only no longer hating them, but being the hero that swoops on in and saves the day. It furthers a white narrative that POC can only flourish if the nice, brave white people step in to help. Enough, already. I want to see more movies that glorify the accomplishments of the black community by banding together and making change.
One person found this helpful
IronAngelReviewed in the United States on August 6, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Story of Fierce Courage and Fierce Change - Loved it!
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Educational and thoroughly enjoyed. I was born in 1972 and this took place in 1971 so it was so interesting to see what the world was like back then. Such a historical story that we all can relate to. On the other hand, it is hard to watch and see such division between the races. I had no idea black Americans did not get the same textbooks whites did??? The unfairness just shakes me to the core. But thank God for such brave souls such as Miss Atwell and CP Ellis. The bravery these individuals had to have in order to invoke positive change is amazing to me. I certainly did not hear about this in my history classes growing up. Also this took place in the South...oh my! I highly recommend this film for anyone that was curious how integration came about. I do love "Cookie Lyon" who played the lead role. She is an amazing, powerful and beautiful actress. I hope to see her in many more roles/films in the future.
2 people found this helpful
ModernDayOldSoulReviewed in the United States on July 7, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Wonderful Movie!
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Such a great underrated movie. Cast is excellent. Story is told very closely to how it really happened!
12 people found this helpful
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