Screenplay: Horton Foote based on the novel by Harper Lee
Well, is this true? Eh, well, the word "Star" is playing a big role there and Gregory Peck was a huge star in his time, one of the most beloved of the era but yeah, you don't see a lot of his other movies held up as quintessential great films, at least films we'd think of as his films. I would argue nowadays that "Roman Holiday" is probably his best film, but I think everybody thinks of that as an Audrey Hepburn movie before they think of it as a Gregory Peck one. I mean, he's certainly been in good movies, but indisputably great films, eh, (Shrugs) yeah, I can probably see some arguments over "The Omen" or "Spellbound" or some of his other special films, the Oscar-winning "Gentleman's Agreement" for instance, but I wouldn't call them indisputably great and otherwise I don't think anybody's really pining for how underrated "MacArthur" or "Captain Newman, M.D." are these days. It's not a correct assessment of his career, but it's not an unfair one. That said, when you have "To Kill a Mockingbird", Atticus Finch no less, do you even really need any more then one?
I mean, for a movie that's so beloved, from a novel that's arguably even more beloved, it's actually kinda surprising how little the movie comes up in discussions about great movies and film. Oh sure, when Gregory Peck's name's mentioned this is the first movie that everyone names, but how often is it brought up for any other reason?
I certainly am not deleting the film from the history banks; despite all this criticism, I do love the film. It's still stirring after all these years, and yes, if you do find yourself more in Scout's perspective, then watching her father defend an innocent black man, Tom Robinson (Brock Peters) from rape charges is stirring. If the movie comes up anywhere else in regard to "To Kill A Mockingbird"'s greatness as a film, it's that it's a great courtroom drama. And yes, this is a Canon entry for a reason; while Ebert might not have seen the film as viable for his "Great Movies", but for this Canon of Film, greatness helps but it is not an essential requirement.