Cry Freedom (1987)

PG  |   |  Biography, Drama, History  |  6 November 1987 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.5/10 from 9,495 users  
Reviews: 50 user | 20 critic

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.


(screenplay), (books)
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

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



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
Carbon Copy (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

A white corporate executive is surprised to discover that he has a black teen-age son who can't wait to be adopted into the, almost-exclusively-white community of, San Marino, California.

Director: Michael Schultz
Stars: George Segal, Susan Saint James, Jack Warden
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
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
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

A racist cop receives a heart transplant from a black lawyer he hates, who returns as a ghost to ask the cop to help take down the men who murdered him.

Director: James D. Parriott
Stars: Bob Hoskins, Denzel Washington, Chloe Webb
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
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
Power (1986)
    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


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


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


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


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

6 November 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Grito de libertad  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$29,000,000 (estimated)


$5,899,797 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (Ontario)

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This film was part of a cycle of pictures made during the 1980s that featured journalists covering war. The movies include Salvador (1986), Under Fire (1983), Circle of Deceit [Circle of Deceit (1981)], Witness in the War Zone (1987), Cry Freedom (1987), The Killing Fields (1984) and The Year of Living Dangerously (1982). See more »


Although the film is set in South Africa, circa 1977, one of the buses arriving at Steve Biko's funeral plainly bears advertising for Charon's - a Zimbabwean brand of sweets not known in South Africa. See more »


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

Preceding the final credits is a list of other detainees who died in the custody of the South African police. Steven Biko's name appears on the list. See more »


Referenced in Oscar's Greatest Moments (1992) See more »


Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

I cried! Recommend you rent this movie...
18 June 2002 | by (Oregon) – See all my reviews

Cry Freedom was such a touching, unforgettable film. The acting was amazing, and they picked the perfect cast. I watched this at my school last year for the first time, and the first scene made me want to cry! Cry Freedom made me laugh, cry, confused, and made me just want to scream at those people who treated blacks cruelly! I recommend you rent this movie. 10/10

13 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Too much Donald Woods not enough Steve Biko D8Player
A truly great film pearl_paid_peanuts
Poisoned Tee-Shirts mikepth
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: