LIFE & CULTURE

‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’ Is A Timely Reminder Of How Racial Injustice Is Deeply Rooted In Our History

These harrowing events will never end until change is made

After a year of harrowing acts of systemic and racial injustice—including the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor —the time for self-education is long overdue. 

For those looking to add to their line-up of educational collateral, it is necessary that we look back to older cases of injustice to understand how deeply rooted and long-lasting said issues have been.

And with Netflix’s latest film, The Trial Of The Chicago 7, there is yet another notorious story of unjust prosecution and unfair treatment against a person of colour for society to learn from—and be disgusted by.

Directed by Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing, The Social Network), the film is a timely reminder on how the worst parts of history continue to impact others until true changes are made.

Interested? Keep reading for everything you need to know about the film, from the true story to when you can stream it in Australia.

What Is The Plot Of The Trial Of The Chicago 7?

According to the its synopsis, the film follows a “peaceful protest at the 1968 Democratic National Convention” that unfortunately turned into a “violent clash with police and the National Guard.”

“The organisers of the protest—including Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Tom Hayden and Bobby Seale—were charged with conspiracy to incite a riot and the trial that followed was one of the most notorious in history.”

Based on a true story, the real-life demonstration followed the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy and was a protest against poverty, racism and the Vietnam War. The event drew a crowd of around 10,000 participants, many of which faced police brutality at the front lines. With over 650 arrests made and over 1,100 injured, eight men were accused of inciting the riots: David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, John Froines, Lee Weiner, and Bobby Seale.

But it was Bobby Seale, the co-founder of The Black Panther party, who was trialed separately to the other seven due to his race. He was also bound and gagged to his chair in order to prevent him from speaking out.

Ultimately, The Chicago Seven and their lawyer, William Kunstler, disrupted the trial because they saw the proceedings as unjust. And by 1970, all seven defendants were acquitted from charges of conspiracy and all convictions were overturned because of judicial bias and issues with the selection of the jury.

WATCH BELOW: The Trial Of The Chicago 7 Trailer

Who Is In The Cast Of The Trial Of The Chicago 7?

In case you needed more reason to watch the film, it is also jam-packed with an impressive star-studded line up.

Leading the film is Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Watchmen, Aquaman) as Bobby Seale, Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat, The Dictator) as Abbie Hoffman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception, Looper) as Richard Schultz, Michael Keaton (Birdman, Beetlejuice) as Ramsey Clark, Eddie Redmayne (Fantastic Beasts, The Theory Of Everything) as Tom Hayden, and Jeremy Strong (Succession, The Big Short) as Jerry Rubin.

The Trial Of The Chicago 7

Where To Watch The Trial Of The Chicago 7 In Australia

Intrigued? You can watch The Trial Of The Chicago 7 on October 16 on Netflix in Australia.

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