A drama based on the true story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College Texas. In 1935, he inspired students to form the school's first debate team, which went on to challenge Harvard in the national championship.
Donald Woods is chief editor of the liberal newspaper Daily Dispatch in South Africa. He has written several editorials critical of the views of Steve Biko. But after having met him for the first time, he changes his opinion. They meet several times, and this means that Woods and his family get attention from the security police. When Steve Biko dies in police custody, he writes a book about Biko. The only way to get it published is for Woods himself to illegally escape the country. Written by
Denzel Washington was cast for the role of Biko after Richard Attenborough saw him in an episode of St. Elsewhere. See more »
When the Woods family are on the beach planning their getaway (supposedly the beach close to East London, South Africa) the "sea" has vegetation growing out of it (trees, branches etc.). No filming could take place in South Africa at the time, so this scene was filmed at Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe. See more »
As anyone old enough knows, South Africa long suffered under the vile, racist oppression of apartheid, which completely subjugated the black population. One of the most famous anti-apartheid activists was Steve Biko, who was murdered in jail. Following the murder, reporter Donald Woods sought to get Biko's message out to the world.
In "Cry Freedom", Woods (Kevin Kline) befriends Biko (Denzel Washington) before the latter is arrested on trumped up charges. When Woods attempts to spread Biko's word, he and his family begin living under threat of attack, and they are finally forced to flee the country. The last scene gut-wrenchingly shows police firing on protesters.
As one of two movies (along with "A World Apart") that helped galvanize the anti-apartheid movement, "Cry Freedom" stands out as possibly the best ever work for all involved.
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