Malcolm X, also known as Malcolm X: His Own Story as It Really Happened, is a 1972 American documentary film directed by Arnold Perl. It is based on The Autobiography of Malcolm X. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
Marvin Worth and Perl started working on Malcolm X in 1969, four years after the human rights activist's assassination. The pair initially intended for the film to be a drama, but in the end they made a documentary when some people close to Malcolm X refused to talk to them. Worth recalled in 1993, "I mostly went for the public figure, rather than the private man. I aimed for showing the evolution of the man and what he had to say. I wanted to do it with the public speeches."
Betty Shabazz, Malcolm X's widow, served as a consultant to the film-makers. She was so pleased with the resulting film, she took her six daughters-who ranged in age from six to thirteen-to see it. Afterwards, one of them asked, "Daddy was everything to you, wasn't he?"
According to the Los Angeles Times, Malcolm X garnered "enthusiastic reviews". In his review for The New York Times, Howard Thompson described it as "a generally rounded, often fascinating movie". Thompson also wrote that the film was "surprisingly balanced". Jay Carr wrote in The Boston Globe in 1993 that Malcolm X was "essential viewing". William Hageman wrote in the Chicago Tribune in 2011 that the documentary "does a better job of capturing the times" than Spike Lee's 1992 Malcolm X.