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Home of the Brave

4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Viola Liuzzo, a 39-year-old mother of five, was the only white woman killed during the civil rights movement. Paola di Florio's powerful and poignant documentary rescues from obscurity Liuzzo's tragic untold story. Dramatic archival footage recaptures this turbulent era, and compelling interviews with her children paint a vivid portrait of a shattered family determined to uncover the truth about their mother's murder and the government's campaign to smear her name. Narrated by Stockard Channing.

Special Features

  • Deleted Scenes
  • Viola Liuzzo's FBI file
  • State-by-state civil rights timeline
  • Photos, memorabilia, and propoganda gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Liner notes by New Yorker staff writer Hilton Als

Product Details

  • Actors: Julie Stevens, Stockard Channing, Molly Howe, Viola Gregg Liuzzo
  • Directors: Paola di Florio
  • Producers: Paola di Florio, Alice Rubin, Juliane Crump, Linda Balaban, Lorraine Gallard
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Special Edition
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Homevision
  • DVD Release Date: August 23, 2005
  • Run Time: 75 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009WFFXG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #168,116 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Home of the Brave" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Danny C. Pearce on July 8, 2005
Format: DVD
Having had an opportunity to see this movie over a year ago, I have to admit going to see it without any idea of who Viola Liuzzo was or what part she played in the civil rights movement. The movie tells the story of who Viola Liuzzo was through the eyes of her contempararies and of her children, and the effect that her sacrifice had on all of them. In this sense, and with the very apt narration of Stockard Channing, this story is told with both passion and reverance. Also too, the story tells of all too human frailties in both Viola and her children, and as such deserves all the more respect for trying to portray the fact that all of those that we look up to as heros and/or martyrs are just as human as ourselves. For myself, the movie gave me a much greater understanding of what life was like during that period of my childhood that I had only been briefly aware of during the nightly newscasts. Too, the movie portrays what a terrible price can be paid by family when one stands up for their ideals. I definitely believe that this is a must-see movie for anyone that wishes to truly understand the Civil Rights Movement, or that wishes to understand the power of standing up for one's beliefs.
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Format: DVD
Although nowhere near as well known as Martin Luther King Jr. or Medgar Evers, Viola Liuzzo earned her place in American history by also becoming a martyr to the cause of civil rights. A white woman who was an activist long before it became fashionable to be one, Liuzzo could have chosen to live her life in quiet anonymity, safely ensconced with her husband and five children in their middle class home in Detroit. Instead, she headed to the South to lend her services as a nurse for the civil rights march in Selma, Alabama on March 7, 1965, a day that came to be known as "Black Sunday." For on that day, Liuzzo was gunned down while driving along a deserted road by four members of the Ku Klux Klan. "Home of the Brave" tells us her story.

In form and style, this is a fairly conventional documentary, combining footage from the past with present-day interviews with friends and family members of the victim. Through both memories and documented evidence, the movie paints the portrait of an inspiring woman who recoiled at the injustices she saw in the world around her and ended up paying the ultimate price for her consuming need to rectify them. The most eye-opening aspect of the film involves the way in which, after her death, Liuzzo became the object of greater government scrutiny than even the men who perpetrated the crime.

The movie shows the rippling effect Viola's death had not only on society as a whole but on the lives of her children as well. It was her murder that inspired President Johnson to sign into law the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which essentially ended the use of poll taxes and literacy tests for voting in this country.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The title of this documentary is very misleading and the subject of the film is far too important to be overlooked. I remember watching the television news report of the murder of Viola Liuzzo when I was a teenager in the 1960s. This story made a profound impact on me. So much so, that I remember the bullet riddled station wagon and I have always remembered her name--Viola Liuzzo. Being an African-American teenager at the time, I understood just how important the civil rights movement was when they murdered a white woman. Since that time, in my travels and years of teaching English at college and in high school, I always ask people if they know the name Viola Liuzzo and sadly, no one says yes. So I remind them. This documentary is painful to watch when you understand just how she was slandered and maligned, how her family had to live with the pain of losing her and the insult of having her reputation destroyed because she was doing a good thing. I teach my students about heroes, people who set aside their personal lives aside for the greater good of the people. Mrs. Liuzzo is a real hero. And she deserves a place in history. I share this film with my colleagues in the history department, hoping that they can make that happen. I want people to remember Viola Liuzzo.
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Format: DVD
Home of the Brave is an excellent documentary about Civil Rights activist Viola Liuzzo. Liuzzo was a Detroit housewife who was murdered by the Ku Klux Klan after the famous Selma-to-Montgomery march in 1965. As the film notes, people have largely forgotten Viola; that is unfortunate because her story teaches us many lessons about democracy.

I was familiar with the basic outlines of Liuzzo's story, so I did not learn a lot about her involvement in the Civil Rights movement. The interviews with Liuzzo's children are the most-fascinating aspect of Home of the Brave. It is easy to see that most them are still struggling to come to grips with their mother's murder. One son, Tony, has become a leader in the Michigan Militia and expresses intense paranoia. Daughter Mary takes an emotional trip to Selma to visit the site of her mother's murder. Another son, Tommy, has moved to Alabama, changed his last name, and has had no contact with his siblings for over 20 years.

My only complaint about Home of the Brave is that I wished the film had more depth in places. I would have liked more background on Viola; her motivations for going to Selma are still a bit mysterious. The story of the State of Alabama's attempts to prosecute the Klansman for her murder is grossly oversimplified. In the end, a 75-minute film may simply not be long enough to tell Viola's story.

As someone who has spent most of his life in Alabama, I found the film particularly moving. It is difficult to believe that segregation was one of the pillars our society until recently; Home of the Brave helps explain why the South and the U.S. will continue to struggle with equal rights issues during my lifetime.

Viola's story reminds us that one courageous person can help create a better world; unfortunately, she also reminds us that courage often comes with a high cost.
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