Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a day when America remembers and honors the legacy of one of the world’s most famous civil rights activists. And while today is the perfect day to watch one of the many films that have been made about King and his struggle to secure civil rights for all Americans, another great way to celebrate King’s legacy is by learning about some of the many other important human rights activists from around the world. With that in mind, here are 10 films about some of the most important human rights activists that you can watch this MLK Day.
While the movies featured on this list were selected because of their subjects, they are ranked according to critics’ scores on Rotten Tomatoes, from lowest to highest, with awards information via IMDb.
10. The Lady (2012)
Luc Besson, who is probably better known for directing over-the-top action movies like Lucy, The Fifth Element, and La Femme Nikita, changed gears for this low-key biographical drama about Burmese pro-democracy and human rights activist Aung San Suu Kyi. Nobel Peace Prize winner Suu Kyi is well-known for her ongoing efforts to reform Myanmar’s oppressive military junta-controlled government and for her years of detention in the country while under house arrest.
The Lady focuses on Suu Kyi’s relationship with her late husband, Michael Aris and the long period of separation that they had to endure due to her activism. In the film, Michelle Yeoh plays Suu Kyi, while David Thewlis plays Aris. Despite its impressive heroine, The Lady currently only has a 33% approval rating from the critics at Rotten Tomatoes. However, the film garnered multiple awards from various international film festivals, including an International Human Rights Award for Besson from the Cinema for Peace organization.