South African journalist Donald Woods is forced to flee the country after attempting to investigate the death in custody of his friend the black activist Steve Biko.

Writers:

(screenplay), (books)
Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An African American officer investigates a murder in a racially charged situation in World War II.

Director: Norman Jewison
Stars: Howard E. Rollins Jr., Adolph Caesar, Art Evans
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A retired British soldier struggles to adjust to everyday life, with increasing difficulty.

Director: Martin Stellman
Stars: Denzel Washington, Dorian Healy, Sean Chapman
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

When police officer Xavier Quinn's childhood friend, Maubee, becomes associated with murder and a briefcase full of ten thousand dollar bills, The Mighty Quinn must clear his name. Or try to catch him, which could be even trickier.

Director: Carl Schenkel
Stars: Denzel Washington, Robert Townsend, James Fox
Malcolm X (1992)
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Biographical epic of the controversial and influential Black Nationalist leader, from his early life and career as a small-time gangster, to his ministry as a member of the Nation of Islam.

Director: Spike Lee
Stars: Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, Delroy Lindo
Glory (1989)
Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Robert Gould Shaw leads the US Civil War's first all-black volunteer company, fighting prejudices of both his own Union army and the Confederates.

Director: Edward Zwick
Stars: Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes
The Hurricane (1999)
Biography | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The story of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, a boxer wrongly imprisoned for murder, and the people who aided in his fight to prove his innocence.

Director: Norman Jewison
Stars: Denzel Washington, Vicellous Reon Shannon, Deborah Kara Unger
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Jazz trumpeter Bleek Gilliam makes questionable decisions in his professional and romantic lives.

Director: Spike Lee
Stars: Denzel Washington, Spike Lee, Wesley Snipes
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Antwone Fisher, a young navy man, is forced to see a psychiatrist after a violent outburst against a fellow crewman. During the course of treatment a painful past is revealed and a new hope begins.

Director: Denzel Washington
Stars: Denzel Washington, Derek Luke, Joy Bryant
Ricochet (1991)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

An attorney is terrorized by the criminal he put away years ago when he was a cop.

Director: Russell Mulcahy
Stars: Denzel Washington, John Lithgow, Ice-T
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

An Indian family is expelled from Uganda when Idi Amin takes power. They move to Mississippi and time passes. The Indian daughter falls in love with a black man, and the respective families... See full summary »

Director: Mira Nair
Stars: Denzel Washington, Sarita Choudhury, Roshan Seth
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

An African American man is hired to find a woman and gets mixed up in a murderous political scandal.

Director: Carl Franklin
Stars: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
Power (1986)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Pete St. John is a powerful and successful political consultant, with clients spread around the country. When his long-time friend and client Ohio senator Sam Hastings decides to quit ... See full summary »

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Richard Gere, Julie Christie, Gene Hackman
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Josette Simon ...
Dr. Ramphele
Wabei Siyolwe ...
Tenjy
John Matshikiza ...
Mapetla
Juanita Waterman ...
Ntsiki Biko
Evelyn Sithole ...
Nurse at clinic
Xoliswa Sithole ...
Nurse at clinic
James Coine ...
Young boy
...
...
Ken
Albert Ndinda ...
Alec
Andrew Whaley ...
Sub-Editor
Shelley Borkum ...
Woods' receptionist
...
...
Wendy Woods
...
Jane Woods
Edit

Storyline

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 Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The true story of the friendship that shook South Africa and awakened the world


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

6 November 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Grito de libertad  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$29,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$5,899,797 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Ontario)

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The picture's opening title card reads: "24th November 1975: Crossroads Settlement, Cape Province, Republic of South Africa:". See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Steve Biko: We are going to change South Africa. What we've got to decide is the best way to do that. And as angry as we have the right to be, let us remember that we are in the struggle to kill the idea that one kind of man is superior to another kind of man. And killing that idea is not dependent on the white man. We must stop looking to him to give us something. We have to fill the black community with our own pride. We have to teach our black children black history, tell them about our black heroes, ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening disclaimer: "With the exception of two characters whose identity has been concealed to ensure their safety, all the people depicted in this film are real and all the events true." See more »

Connections

Referenced in One True Thing (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Possibly the best ever work for all involved
9 May 2005 | by (Portland, Oregon, USA) – See all my reviews

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.


15 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Too much Donald Woods not enough Steve Biko D8Player
Poisoned Tee-Shirts mikepth
A truly great film pearl_paid_peanuts
great movie onlyastateofmind
Version of Nkosi Sikeleli Africa in this movie luccastrel
The countryside mikepth
Discuss Cry Freedom (1987) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?