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About the Film

It is one of the most iconic images of our time: two African-American medal winners at the 1968 Olympics standing in silent protest with heads bowed and fists raised as “The Star Spangled Banner” is played.  Fifty years later, that singular event remains deeply inspiring, controversial and even misunderstood as one of the most overtly political statement in the annals of sport. 


The Stand: How One Gesture Shook the World is a revealing exploration into the circumstances that led runners Tommie Smith and John Carlos to that historic moment at the Mexico City Games, mining the great personal risks they took and the subsequent fallout they endured. Through intimate interviews with the participants and witnesses involved in that moment, along with compelling images and archive, the film explores the 1968 Olympics human rights stand in the context of a critically important and volatile time for the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.


While the film documents this lasting moment in American history, The Stand also remains faithful to what was, for athletes and millions of Olympic fans around the world, a riveting 200-meter footrace between the fastest runners of the day, young people in their athletic prime striving to be the best on one October day in Mexico City.


Tommie Smith.jpg

Tommie Smith

1968 Olympic 200m gold medalist

John Carlos.jpg

John Carlos

1968 Olympic 200m bronze medalist

Ralph Boston.jpg

Ralph Boston

1968 Olympic team member

Harry Edwards.jpg

Harry Edwards

Activist and mentor

Paul Hoffman.jpg

Paul Hoffman

1968 Olympic team member

Tom Farrell

1968 Olympic team member

Cleve Livingston

1968 Olympic team member

Mel Pender

1968 Olympic team member

Larry Quested

1968 Olympic 200m finalist

Edwin Roberts

1968 Olympic 200m finalist

Patty VanWolvelaere

1968 Olympic team member

Francoise Hamlin

Associate Professor in History and Africana Studies, Brown University

Richard Lapchick

Activist and historian

Brian Meeks

Chair, Department of Africana Studies, Brown University

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