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40 Years A Prisoner

Documentary film 40 Years A Prisoner chronicles one of the most controversial shootouts in American history, the 1978 Philadelphia police raid on the radical back-to-nature group MOVE, and the aftermath that led to a son’s decades-long fight to free his parents.

Directed by Tommy Oliver (1982), the film illuminates the story of a city grappling with racial tension and police brutality with alarming modern-day relevance. In addition to examining that fateful day through eyewitness interviews and archival footage, the film follows Mike Africa Jr., the son of two MOVE members imprisoned for the death of a police officer, and his lifelong commitment to finding out the truth about what really happened and fighting for the release of the parents that he has only ever known through prison walls.

 Meeting MOVE and the Making of 40 Years A Prisoner

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EXTRA4:44
A Culture Closeup

Filmmaker Tommy Oliver and artist Black Thought have a discussion about the film and why it’s important to keep MOVE’s story alive today.

40-years-a-prisoner
EXTRA4:30
Inspiring Music

Artist Questlove shares how the story of the MOVE Organization and years of racial injustice in Philadelphia inspired the original music made by The Roots for the film.

40-years-a-prisoner
EXTRA2:04
Meeting MOVE

Filmmaker Tommy Oliver and artist Black Thought discuss their earliest memories of the fight for justice in Philly, meeting members of the MOVE organization and how the film came to be.

Extra Content
Epilogue

In this special epilogue, Mike Africa Sr. and Debbie Sims Africa reflect on their struggles over the last four decades and share a glimpse of what life is like now that they are free and reunited with their family.

Find out more information and get support regarding prison reform, civil rights, racial inequality, and more.

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