YMMV: Malcolm X
- Anvilicious: The end, in which Ossie Davis flat-out tells us what to think about Malcolm X.
- Award Snub: The film received a whopping two Oscar nominations for Best Actor (Washington) and Best Costume Design. It won neither.
- Crowning Moment of Heartwarming:
- When Malcolm X finds out about what happened to his street mentor West Indian Archie - whom Malcolm fled when he feared Archie would kill him - he goes to the older man's squalid apartment and finds Archie barely hanging on after a crippling stroke. With Archie stammering that he never really meant to kill Malcolm ("It was all about my rep."), Malcolm promises to help take care of his dying friend...
- Subverted in a scene where Malcolm X is visiting a college campus to talk about the Nation's self-determination/separatist movement. A white college girl comes up and enthusiastically offers to help any she can: "What can I do?" Malcolm quietly replies "Nothing" and walks on as though she wasn't there. And while Malcolm may think himself correct (at the time) in turning down her offer, the sad expression she gives as she watches him walk by tells the audience she really did want to help.
- Misaimed Marketing: "X Brand" potato chips. Yes, they were
KosherHalal. Yes, all the proceeds went to charity. Still...
- Narm: As moving as the ending montage is, the sequence immediately after it, with the schoolchildren shouting "I am Malcolm X!" in succession, comes across as a bit forced and over-dramatic.
- Retroactive Recognition: Frank, Detective Nick Falco, Tigh, just to name a few.
- Tear Jerker: The ending montage.
- Vindicated by History:
- Despite its unexceptional critical reception around the time of its release and its relatively obscure status in the present day, several big-name fans (including Roger Ebert and Martin Scorsese) have proclaimed it to be one of the best films of The '90s. It's also regularly considered in the running for being Lee's best film, second only to Do the Right Thing.
- It was added to the National Film Registry in 2010, meaning that the US government considers the film to be culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.