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Jasper, Texas
Jasper Texas
Actors: Roy T. Anderson, Demore Barnes, John Bayliss, James Bearden, Samantha Bee
Director: Jeffrey W. Byrd
Genres: Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense, African American Cinema
R     2004     1hr 54min

This extraordinary true drama, set in the small town of Jasper, TX in 1998, explores the aftermath of the horrible death of James Byrd, Jr., the African- American who was dragged to his death by three white men. An outrag...  more »

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Movie Details

Actors: Roy T. Anderson, Demore Barnes, John Bayliss, James Bearden, Samantha Bee
Director: Jeffrey W. Byrd
Creators: Ousama Rawi, Jeffrey Cooper, Jonathan Estrin, Michael Greene
Genres: Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense, African American Cinema
Sub-Genres: Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense, African American Cinema
Studio: Showtime Ent.
Format: DVD
DVD Release Date: 02/03/2004
Original Release Date: 06/08/2003
Theatrical Release Date: 06/08/2003
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 54min
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 1
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English

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Member Movie Reviews

Mena C. from JONESBORO, GA
Reviewed on 9/18/2011...
It was a good movie, just painful to watch knowing this actually happened to someone.
Steven H. (sehamilton) from BIRMINGHAM, AL
Reviewed on 6/20/2011...
The highlights of this movie are the outstanding, restrained performances of John Voight and Louis Gossett, Jr., as the Sheriff and Mayor (respectively) of Jasper, TX. The tragic death of Mr. Byrd is shown in short flashback sequences, sparing the viewer the full horror of what took place. The autopsy photos displayed during the trial, however, are difficult to view. The story focuses on the residents' ability to pull together, confront the racial issues existing in the town, and move toward a substantive reconciliation. This is all the more incredible seen against the backdrop of the efforts of the media, New Black Panthers, and KKK to foment a full-scale race war. Well worth seeing.

Movie Reviews

A disturbing but necessary movie that had to be made.
Joseph N. Sassone | Tustin, CA USA | 09/12/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I rented this movie when it first hit the video stores & later wound up purchasing a copy on DVD. It was sickening to watch the scene where James Byrd gets dragged to death by the three racist, young white men. I own a book on the tragedy & the book goes into much greater detail regarding the events which led up to the brutal murder. John King, the ringleader, is believed to have been sexually assaulted by a group of blacks in prison & this supposedly made him a bonafide racist. If that's true it doesn't justify in any way what he did to Mr. Byrd, who was just a random victim. I was jumped by four blacks in 1980 when I was 14 (I'm caucasian) & it was definitely racially motivated. For a number of years afterward I had racist feelings but have long since gotten over them. Racism is WRONG & simply cannot be tolerated. Racism must be fought wherever it is encountered because we are all human beings and all equal in the eyes of God. We should focus on our similarities & not on our differences. The KKK is not nearly as strong as it once was & is fading fast. Getting back to the movie, I thought it was good that they showed many blacks & whites trying to bridge their differences (especially the church communities). When the KKK & Black Panthers came to Jasper to start trouble, the town (blacks & whites) stood up to both groups. It was satisfying to watch those three scumbags get what they deserved. Two got the death penalty & the third got life without parole, I believe. Hopefully this will send a clear message to bigots everywhere that this isn't the 19th century anymore & if they commit these violent, hate crimes they will forfeit their own lives. May James Byrd rest in peace."
Made-for-cable depiction of a real hate crime
R. Kyle | USA | 09/25/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"In 1998, three white men picked up James Byrd, Jr., an African American. After beating him and stripping him naked, they chained him to the back of their pickup and dragged his naked body across country ground for approximately three miles. While the defendants claim that Byrd was already dead, forensic evidence disputes this claim. All three men were found guilty of murder in the first degree. Two of the three defendants, John King and Lawrence Russell Brewer, were sentenced to death though both remain on Texas's Death Row. Shawn Allen Berry, the youngest of the three, was only sentenced to life in prison.

The film begins with the Sheriff being called out to the scene and only shows the crime itself in flashbacks. The drama here is more about race relations in the town, the relationship between the white Sheriff and African American mayor, and the trial itself. While details are loosely based on the case, this depiction does not reach documentary quality.

The acting was stellar. Showtime did an excellent job picking Voight as Sheriff and Gossett as the mayor. These two men came off as very real and could almost lose you in the story. If you can handle the brutality and the sheer pain of the situation, Jasper, Texas is definitely worth watching.

Rebecca Kyle, September 2009