Take a Giant Step

Watch Take a Giant Step

"From Playground to hunting ground - in a bar!"
  • PG
  • 1959
  • 1 hr 39 min
  • 6.9  (486)

Take a Giant Step is a coming-of-age drama film from 1959 which showcases the story of a young African-American boy named Spencer Scott (Johnny Nash) who lives in Harlem with his parents. Spencer is a gifted student with aspirations of becoming a writer, but he finds himself struggling to balance his aspirations with the expectations of his parents and the racial prejudices of the society.

The movie begins with the scene where the young Spencer goes to his high school and is faced with racial discrimination from his white classmates. He is called derogatory names and is constantly made to feel inferior. Spencer's parents, Frank (Frederick O'Neal) and Peg (Estelle Hemsley), are not fully supportive of their son's passions for writing and often discourage him from pursuing them, insisting that he should focus on getting good grades and getting a job.

Despite this discouragement, Spencer continues to write and is often seen jotting down notes in his notepad. One day, he meets a white girl named Ginny (Barbara Sammeth) at a local dance, and they begin a timid romance. When he takes Ginny home to meet his parents, they are shocked to see that she is white and are deeply concerned about the implications of such a relationship in a society where interracial relationships are not accepted.

The bulk of the plot revolves around Spencer's struggle to come to terms with his identity and navigate the racial prejudices of his society. He is forced to confront and challenge his own prejudices when he is given a chance to attend a predominantly white school. There, he is exposed to a new set of challenges as he finds himself among a group of students who are racially insensitive and discriminatory. However, he also meets a sympathetic and kind teacher, Mr. Harrison (Frederick O'Neal), who begins to nurture his literary talents and inspire him to pursue his passions.

Through his experiences, Spencer begins to understand that there is much more to life than the racial tensions surrounding him. He comes to see that he is not inferior to his white peers and that his accomplishments and dreams are just as important and valid as theirs.

Johnny Nash delivers an incredible performance as Spencer, portraying the character's struggles, passions, and aspirations with depth and nuance. Estelle Hemsley and Frederick O'Neal are also impressive in their roles as Spencer's parents, and Ruby Dee shines as Spencer's supportive and understanding aunt. The film's direction by Philip Leacock is skillful and deliberate, capturing the essence of the story and bringing the characters to life.

Overall, Take a Giant Step is a poignant and thought-provoking film that offers a glimpse into the challenges and realities of being a young black boy growing up in 1950s Harlem. The movie challenges its audience to confront their own prejudices and to see beyond the racial tensions that divide society. This is a must-watch film for anyone interested in coming-of-age dramas or films with social commentary.

Take a Giant Step is a 1959 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 39 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.9.

Take a Giant Step
Where to Watch Take a Giant Step
Take a Giant Step is available to watch, stream, download and on demand at Amazon Prime, Apple TV Channels and The Roku Channel. Some platforms allow you to rent Take a Giant Step for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 39 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.9  (486)