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Inherit The Wind Movie Summary


Produced by Robert Papazian, directed by David Greene, and starring Kirk Douglas and Jason Robards, Inherit the Wind is an adaptation of the play by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee. The play Inherit the Wind was inspired by the "Monkey Trial" of 1925 in which a schoolteacher was arrested for teaching evolution to his class and put on trial. However, the movie Inherit The Wind should not be considered a documentary or even a true account of the trial, but instead a dramatic movie that takes the event and moulds it to convey a strong message to the audience.

Inherit The Wind Characters Summary

Hillsborough is an average 1925 American town full of Bible believing citizens, but when Burt Cates, a local schoolteacher, is discovered to be teaching evolution to his class, great concern is felt among the townspeople who then jail Cates for trial, creating a stir across the nation. Prosecuting Cates is Matthew Brady, the passionate Bible scholar played by Kirk Douglas who is determined to bring his nation back to God. Defending Cates is Henry Drummond, one of the leading defense attorneys and atheists in the country played by Jason Robards. These two title characters battle in the courtroom where most of Inherit The Wind is set up until the final verdict.

Inherit The Wind Themes Summary

From the opening credits through to the very last minute Inherit the Wind celebrates the human mind and will as the greatest gifting of all, claiming that it is the very key to our existence and hence all thoughts, ideas, and theories should be free from restrictions; that all humans should make their own judgments and choices of their own free will and that nobody has the right to control other's thoughts or beliefs. Yet, in delivering the message to the audience Inherit The Wind itself strongly manipulates the audience's thoughts and emotions, swaying their beliefs particularly in the direction of atheism. Atheists in Inherit The Wind are depicted as broad-minded and tolerant intellectuals who suffer at the hands of the ignorant and narrow-minded Christian bigots. This portrayal is an attempt to influence the audience to abandon their religious beliefs in favour of their mind. "Darwin brought us to a hilltop from which we could look back and see the way we came. But for this great insight we must abandon our faith." -Drummond.

Inherit The Wind Film Critique

The theme of Inherit the Wind is not only delivered strongly through a dramatic and interesting plot but also through dramatic and convincing acting. Both Brady and Drummond are particularly well acted with Brady being played with suitable passion as the character who had everything but by the end of Inherit The Wind had lost it all. In comparison, Drummond is played as the dry and humanistic atheist who prevails until the end. Both of these characters are presented flawlessly by the talented actors who play them.

Accompanying the characters and plot is the skillful use of cinematography, particularly the camera and musical aspect. In the courtroom both of these factors are used to full effect, enhancing the mood greatly. Moving music played during dramatic speeches along with close-up camera views of the speaker and sweeping views of the courtroom all come together to create a memorable movie experience.


Inherit the Wind is a well made movie featuring high quality acting and cinematography along with an interesting and entertaining story. However, Inherit The Wind should practise what it preaches rather than digressing so largely from the historical facts of the "Monkey Trial" in order to present a biased viewpoint to its audience. In spite of this, Inherit the Wind is a still worthy of recommendation, but only to an audience possessing firm scruples and who are interested in a dramatic clash of opinions and beliefs.

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