When a protest or an event takes an ugly turn and becomes violent, a riot may ensue. These events are often started by protesters who believe they have a righteous cause and they feel a need to stand up for themselves and not back down. Riots may triggered by real-life events or angry rhetoric. Here are 5 films inspired by real-life riots.
This film took a look at a real-life prison riot that took place in Minnesota. When warden Frank Eyman (played by himself) is away, the 35 prisoners in the isolation block decide to riot. These are among the most violent criminals in the prison and they are led by Red Fraker (Gene Hackman). Cully Briston (Jim Brown) wants no part of the unrest and merely wants to do his time. He ends up protecting some of the prison guards who are threatened by the riot.
"Riot: Real Life Stories Behind the Devastating L.A. Riots of '92" (1997)
This film looked at the Los Angeles riots of 1992 that were partially inspired by the treatment Rodney King received at the hands of the Los Angeles Police Department. The rest of the nation was shocked when rioters were caught on film looting stores and cavalierly walking out with stolen items. Directors Alex Munoz and David Johnson tried to show the desperation and hopelessness that the rioters felt as they chose to participate in their lawless activity.
"Riot on Sunset Strip" (1967)
In this film, a Los Angeles police lieutenant hears the complaints of local business owners who don’t like seeing hippies and other youth hanging out in front of their businesses and intimidating potential customers. Walt Lorimer (Aldo Ray) tries to place a curfew on the group to control them, but he is unable to maintain the edict. This drama was based on much of the violence in the Los Angeles riots in the 1960s.
"The Hurricane" (1999)
This is the story of boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter (Denzel Washington) who was arrested and convicted for the murder of a bar owner in Patterson, New Jersey in the 1960s. At the time, Carter was a leading contender for the middleweight boxing championship of the world. His conviction was ultimately overturned, but at the time of his arrest, Patterson was a powder keg because of racial tensions that escalated into riots. The police wanted to make an arrest quickly to quell additional violence.
Zoot Suit (1981)
This film tells the story of the Sleepy Lagoon murder trial in which a group of young Mexican-Americans were wrongfully charged with murder of Jose Diaz in 1942. As a result of the accusations, the Zoot Suit riots took place in 1943. In those riots, Los Angeles sailors and marines squared off with Zoot Suit-wearing Mexican-American youngsters who were angry about their treatment by society in general and the accusations in the Diaz murder.