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America's Dream (1996)

PG-13 | | Drama | TV Movie 17 February 1996
Three tales of African-American characters. "Long Black Song": a farmer with an unfaithful wife. "The Boy Who Painted Christ Black": school principal defends a controversial work by his ... See full summary »


Maya Angelou (story "The Reunion"), John Henrik Clarke (story "The Boy Who Painted Christ Black") | 3 more credits »

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9 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Danny Glover ... Silas (segment "Long Black Song")
Wesley Snipes ... George Du Vaul (segment "The Boy Who Painted Christ Black")
Lorraine Toussaint ... Philomena (segment "The Reunion")
Tate Donovan ... David (segment "Long Black Song")
Norman D. Golden II ... Aaron (segment "The Boy Who Painted Christ Black")
Susanna Thompson ... Beth Ann (segment "The Boy Who Painted Christ Black")
Jasmine Guy ... Elna Du Vaul (segment "The Boy Who Painted Christ Black")
Tina Lifford ... Sarah (segment "Long Black Song")
Carl Lumbly ... Cal (segment "The Boy Who Painted Christ Black")
Bennet Guillory ... Willie (segment "The Boy Who Painted Christ Black")
Danny Kamin ... Mr. Harper (segment "Long Black Song") (as Daniel Tucker Kamin)
RaéVen Kelly ... Lara (segment "The Boy Who Painted Christ Black") (as Rae'ven A'lyia Kelly)
Timothy Carhart ... Prof. Daniel (segment "The Boy Who Painted Christ Black")
Summer Ross Jefferson Summer Ross Jefferson ... Young Philomena #1 (segment "The Boy Who Painted Christ Black")
Vanessa Bell Calloway ... Miss Williams (segment "The Boy Who Painted Christ Black")


Three tales of African-American characters. "Long Black Song": a farmer with an unfaithful wife. "The Boy Who Painted Christ Black": school principal defends a controversial work by his student. "The Reunion": a jazz singer recalls her troubled youth.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

independent film | See All (1) »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for a scene of sexuality | See all certifications »






Release Date:

17 February 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Amerika See more »

Filming Locations:

Dallas, Texas, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby SR


See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Referenced in The 18th Annual CableACE Awards (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

Good, but feels shaved for time
24 December 2018 | by stephenmatlockSee all my reviews

I am reviewing only "The Boy Who Painted Christ Black"

This is a short film based upon the short story by Dr. John Henrik Clarke, and I would first encourage you to find and read the original short story.

The film is an abridged version of the short story, and while it does a fine job with what it does show, it feels a little rushed and unfinished. Snipes does a good job with his role as a black leader in a small town school, struggling to promote excellence and yet abide in a system where he is a pawn of the state who must be certain of his place. Carhart is the white county school superintendent who placates the black community with empty words and promises, but really is in charge of the black schools in order to maintain order and decency. (His language is cleaned up from the short story.) Calloway is a black teacher working to teach and inspire her class, and is a fierce protector of the lives and imaginations and hopes of her charges. And Golden is the young Aaron who paints the picture of the Black Christ because of how he thinks Christ is, is how Christ should look -- "kind, like black people, not like white people."

You could have an interesting theological discussion just about that statement. But the story is bigger than that. It's about pride and vision and compromise and lost dreams and how do you find a place to live in the in-between spots in America, where the dream is dangled before you if you just work hard enough, but the reality is, for a significant portion of Americans, that dream will be continually deferred.

The story ends with some satisfying conclusions, even though it might not tie up all the ends you want finished.

A bittersweet story told forthrightly. Good, could use some further development, and in my opinion would benefit from being as honest as the short story is.

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