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Director John Sayles' 1984 "Brother from Another Planet" is the Legend of the Drinking Gourd and the history of the underground railroads told with a contemporary urban America voice.
An alien space pilot, the Brother (Joe Morton) crashes his space ship into the Hudson River. His alien-ness gives him special powers -- he heals physical wounds, for example. He also has a heightened sense of hearing and hears the voices of immigrants from the past who came to Ellis Island for freedom, but were transferred to warehouses and camps.