Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis


Best Senior Thesis in Religious Studies

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Religious Studies

Reader 1

Gaston Espinosa

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.


Film is a medium that has, and continues to, immortalize some of the world’s greatest people. From political figures to artists to fictional characters, Hollywood’s representation of a human subject in a film has a lasting impact on the legacy of that person. For famous racial-ethnic minority religious activists, the manner in which they are represented varies greatly and this affects how their accomplishments and methods are interpreted. This thesis seeks to explain how famous racial-ethnic minority religious leaders are depicted in Hollywood films. Using the biographical films of Mahatma Gandhi, Cesar Chavez, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Malcolm X as cases; this project will analyze how these biopics represent the religiosity of their subject. Additionally, this analysis will include a discussion of how racial-ethnic minorities are portrayed in each film and what kinds of religious stereotypes are affirmed and refuted by each filmmaker.