7 Impactful Human Rights Movies Everyone Must Watch!

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Since time immemorial, humans have been telling stories and narrating incidents. Today, one of our most powerful storytelling forms is cinema. Movies have the power to transport us into a new dimension that taps controversial concepts. Human Rights movies have the power to make the problems of distant countries personal to viewers. Whether it’s a documentary or a non-fictional story, the impact of the film can be extraordinary. In the following blog, these movies are just a few of the films that highlight human rights issues throughout the world. 

Non-Fiction Movies on Human Rights 

Hotel Rwanda (2004) 

“I think when people turn on their TVs and see this footage, they will say, “Oh my god, that’s horrible”, and then they go back to eating their dinners” 

The movie Hotel Rwanda portrays the journey of Paul Rusesabagina, a hotel manager, who leads a happy life with his wife and children in Rwanda. He displays immense courage by saving the lives of many helpless refugees during a communal war. The movie depicts the atrocities of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. It illustrates the effect of violence and civil war already on vulnerable nations. 

Youtube: Movieclips Classic Trailers

Beasts of No Nation (2015) 

“Sun, why are you shining in this world? I am wanting to catch you in my hands, to squeeze you until you can’t shine no more.” 

Beasts of No Nation is listed among the best human rights movies and never reveals the country it is set in. The main character, Agu (Abraham Attah)  loses his family to the violence around him. As a civil war rages, a fierce warlord (Idris Elba) trains him to join his group of guerilla soldiers. It illustrates the effects of poverty and conflict on children within war-torn nations. 

Youtube: Netflix 

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The Report (2019) 

“If the Times had your report, we would print it tomorrow. If it’s gonna come out, it’s gonna come out the right way.” 

The Report narrates the story of an FBI agent Daniel Jones who performs an exhaustive investigation into the CIA’s use of torture on suspected terrorists. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the CIA adopted new interrogation techniques. 

Youtube: Amazon Prime 

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Documentaries on Human Rights

India’s Daughter (2015) 

India’s Daughter follows the aftermath of the brutal gang rape of Jyoti Singh in 2012. The event which took place on an off duty bus raised various concerns throughout the country about women’s safety. The documentary depicts the various protests that emerged following the crime. 

Youtube: Journeyman Documentaries

5 Broken Documentaries (2011)

5 Broken Documentaries is a documentary that is listed among our top human rights movies because it depicts life at the West Bank through footage of protests and Burnat’s own family. The film gives raw insight into the lives of those living within an unstable and impoverished region. 

Youtube: Movieclips Coming Soon 

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When Elephants Fight (2015) 

When Elephants Fight is a documentary based on the underbelly of consumerism and its implications in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It calls for companies to hold themselves accountable for the war and poverty that plague the nation. 

Youtube: Janson Media

Torn Apart: Separated at the Border 

Named among the raw human rights movies, ‘Torn Apart: Separated at the Border’ narrates the story about some 3000 families seeking asylum in the United States who were forcibly separated by the U.S government in the U.S Mexico border. It offers first-person stories of how the immigration crisis has affected two of those mothers and their young children, who were separated from each other for months. 

Youtube: HBO

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Some More Documentaries/Non-fiction Human Rights Movies 

  • On the President’s Orders 
  • The Cave (2019) 
  • Blood Diamond (2006)
  • Anne Frank (TV Show)
  • The Killing Fields (1984)
  • Selma (2014)
  • For Sama (2019)
  • Hooligan Sparrow (2016) 
  • Tricked (2013)
  • 13th (2016)
  • Desierto (2015)
  • He Named Me Malala (2015) 
  • Beyond the Gates (2005)
  • The Whistleblower (2010) 

Human Rights Movies are important and informative as global communities work together to end abuses against the most vulnerable individuals and groups. For more entertaining content, keep following Leverage Edu and subscribe to our newsletter. 

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