Academy to Celebrate 50th Anniversary of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’

The film features Gregory Peck as a Depression-era lawyer struggling against a prejudiced system to exonerate an African-American man falsely accused of rape.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will showcase a new digital restoration of “To Kill a Mockingbird” in celebration of the film’s 50th anniversary on Wednesday, April 11, at 7:30 p.m. at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. The evening will feature an introduction by talk show host Tavis Smiley and an onstage discussion with Oscar-nominated actress Mary Badham. The digital restoration is courtesy of Universal Pictures, which is marking its centennial this year.

Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Harper Lee, “To Kill a Mockingbird” (1962) became as much of a classic as its source, and the defining film of Gregory Peck’s career. Produced by Alan J. Pakula and directed by Robert Mulligan, the film features Peck as a Depression-era lawyer struggling against a prejudiced system to exonerate an African-American man falsely accused of rape.

For his iconic portrayal of Atticus Finch, Peck earned his fifth Best Actor nomination and only Oscar. Co-star Robert Duvall made his film debut as the mysterious Boo Radley, while a 10-year-old Badham also made her first screen appearance as Atticus’s daughter Scout. The film unfolds as a coming-of-age story, as Scout learns about injustice, human frailties and the definition of heroism. Badham’s Oscar nomination for her performance made her the youngest actress with that honor at the time.

“To Kill a Mockingbird” earned a total of eight Academy Award nominations and won three awards.

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