Considered to be Malcolm X’s favorite film, this independent motion picture is about the various manifestations of Black love as experienced by the protagonist, Duff Anderson (Ivan Dixon). Set in the early 1960s in a small town outside Birmingham, Alabama, Duff is an itinerant railroad worker. He is a proud, Black man whose experiences, including frequent defiance against subservience to Whites, with racism drastically impact his professional and personal life.
This impact is especially felt in the scenes that feature Duff and his alcoholic father, Will (Julius Harris), who abandoned him as a child, and in scenes with his own wife, Josie (Abbey Lincoln). She is a daughter who hails from a middle-class family led by the patriarch, a pastor. Touchingly portrayed by the primary acting cast, The Washington Post hailed Nothing But a Man as “one of the most sensitive films about Black life ever made in this country.”