As the Civil Rights Movement came to fruition in the early 1960s, the book struck a chord. So did the equally classic 1962 movie version.
The movie has quite a pedigree behind the camera. Alan Pakula produced it (today perhaps even more renowned as a director), Robert Mulligan directed, Elmer Bernstein wrote the musical score, and the screenplay was written by Horton Foote, the Texan playwright, who had written extensively for television drama and later wrote many acclaimed movie scripts, including Tender Mercies for Robert Duvall.
Harper Lee was a consultant on the movie and present for the filming (mostly on a backlot in California.) She and other participants formed lifelong friendships on that set. She and Gregory Peck in particular remained close. As she watched the first scene being shot she was seen to shed a few tears: he reminded her so much of her father.
Young Mary Badham, who played the six year old “Scout,” also kept in touch with Peck for the rest of his life. She felt close to him immediately on the set, and between takes would be seen hanging onto him in his lap. She called him “Atticus” ever after.