The Last White Knight

Watch The Last White Knight

  • NR
  • 2012
  • 1 hr 19 min
  • 7.2  (165)

The Last White Knight is a documentary film directed by Paul Saltzman and released in 2012. The film delves into the life of Shelby Foote, a prominent Southern historian who's known for his grandiose narrations of the Civil War. As a storyteller, Foote was a master of his craft, but the film uncovers a shocking truth about his past that reveals a much darker side to the famous historian.

The film tells the story of an unlikely friendship that occurs between the director, Saltzman, and Delay de la Beckwith, the son of Byron De La Beckwith - the man who assassinated civil rights activist Medgar Evers in 1963. Delay is also the godson of Foote, and it is through their relationship that the story unfolds. Saltzman initially wanted to make a film about Foote, but his curiosity about Delay's past and the role Foote played in it led him in a different direction.

The film offers a unique perspective on the Civil Rights movement and its impact on the South, as it offers a glimpse into the mentalities that propelled people such as Bryon De La Beckwith to commit horrific acts. It also illuminates how, for many, adherence to the 'Lost Cause' narrative continues well beyond the Civil War. Foote, who was undoubtedly a talented writer, struggled to shake off the Southern narrative that he himself had perpetuated in his writing.

The Last White Knight is not just about Shelby Foote or even the Beckwiths; it's about the South's reckoning with its violent past and the complex relationship between race, identity, and heritage. The documentary's strength lies in its ability to piece together different perspectives and stories to paint a fuller and more nuanced picture of Southern life in the twentieth century. Saltzman has done a great job of weaving together interviews, historical footage, and contemporary scenes to create an immersive and compelling narrative.

The film is not perfect, however. Some have criticized its portrayal of Foote as overly sympathetic, given his apparent inability to recognize the harm caused by his persistent romanticization of the Confederacy. Moreover, the documentary can be slow-paced, and the significant amount of time dedicated to Delay de la Beckwith's personal life may strike some as unimportant to the main story. Nonetheless, these weaknesses do not detract much from the overall quality of the film.

In conclusion, The Last White Knight is a thought-provoking documentary that sheds light on the complicated relationship between Southern heritage, identity, and race. With interviews from several prominent figures in the Civil Rights movement and other experts, the film examines a dark period of Southern history and how it continues to impact the region to this day. While it may not be a perfect documentary and may not appeal to all audiences, it is undoubtedly worth watching for anyone interested in the history of the United States and the causes of racism and discrimination in the South.

The Last White Knight is a 2012 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 19 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.2.

Where to Watch The Last White Knight
The Last White Knight is available to watch free on Plex and Tubi TV. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent The Last White Knight for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 19 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.2  (165)