Davis came to public attention in 1969 when she was hired by UCLA as a professor and was then fired for refusing to denounce her involvement with the Communist Party USA and the Black Panther Party.
Less than a year later she went into hiding after she was accused of kidnapping and killing a federal judge.
She was eventually caught by the FBI and was acquitted at trial.
Forty years later, documentary filmmaker Shola Lynch released "Free Angela and All Political Prisoners," featuring interviews with the law officials involved in the manhunt, revealing information even Davis said she didn't know.
"I learned things from the film that I didn't know myself," she said, such as how the FBI tracked her down. "It was kind of shocking to me to learn these things 40 years later."
Speaking at a luncheon Friday in support of the documentary at Brasserie Ruhlmann in New York, Davis indicated she wasn't initially interested in being the focus of a film, The Hollywood Reporter said.
"I've always been rather shy and I like to work not at the center but in the background because I think that's where the most important work gets done," she said. "But I thought it might be important for young people who didn't experience that era, as well as for people who did experience that era, to remember that there was this important victory. Because oftentimes we struggle and we struggle but we have no evidence of the fact that our work actually will make a difference in the world."