7.5/10
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51 user 17 critic

Cry Freedom (1987)

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

Cast overview, first billed only:
Josette Simon ...
Dr. Ramphele
Wabei Siyolwe ...
Tenjy
John Matshikiza ...
Mapetla
Juanita Waterman ...
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
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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:

 »
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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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sir Richard Attenborough, Denzel Washington (Stephen Biko), Kevin Kline (Donald Woods), and Alec McCowen (Acting High Commissioner) all later appeared in Shakespearean films directed by Kenneth Branagh: McCowen played the Bishop of Ely in Henry V (1989), Washington played Don Pedro in Much Ado About Nothing (1993), Attenborough played the English Ambassador in Hamlet (1996), and Kline played Jacques in As You Like It (2006). 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: I just expect to be treated like you expect to be treated. Come on, what are you so afraid of? Once you try you see there's nothing to fear. We're just as weak and human as you are.
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 »

Connections

Featured in The Universal Story (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika
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User Reviews

Good Sir Attenborough epic
20 November 2004 | by (Switzerland) – See all my reviews

I saw the film for the first time in 1987, when it came out. I was touched by this story and I began being interested in other Sir Attenborough movies.

I think "Cry freedom" is not as strong as "Gandhi", nevertheless it's a movie worth to see. Because it talks about the struggles of Steven Biko, the anti-apartheid leader killed by South African government in '77. The film is seen with the eyes of Donald Woods, his friend journalist who quit the country with his family for being "too close to the black battles"...

The first part of the film is really excellent. Kevin Kline and Denzel Washington are extraordinary, the movie is a cinematic joy (good screenplay, good dialogues and good cinematography). The second part, when Woods (Kline) organizes the run of his family from South Africa, becomes more conventional and shot in a very "Hollywood style" (although the film is British!). The message of the movie is neglected in favour of a more spectacular plot.

By the way "Cry freedom" is a good movie because it talks about values like freedom, friendship and respect of human rights.


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