Religion and Culture in Inherit the Wind

  • Author(s): Zachary Sheldon
  • When: 2019-09
  • Where: Journal of Religion & Film
  • Stanley Kramer’s Inherit the Wind (1960) has long been considered a classic for its indictment of McCarthyism as allegorized in a dramatic treatment of the Scopes Monkey Trial. But for all its political messaging, the film is also patently up front in its treatment of religious perspectives on culture. The presence of such material may be read allegorically but may also be read in connection with the period of the film’s production, as a statement piece on religious perspectives of media such as film. This article examines the religious messaging in Inherit the Wind in conjunction with religious perspectives of the 1920s and 30s (the time period depicted in the film) and the late 1950s (the period of the film’s making). In so doing, the article offers a new reading of the film, connecting it explicitly to religious perspectives on culture and cultural engagement contemporaneous with the film’s release

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