MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 3,590 this week

Bopha! (1993)

 -  Drama  -  24 September 1993 (USA)
6.6
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.6/10 from 660 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 5 critic

In this story of a black policeman during South African apartheid, Danny Glover plays the cop, who believes he's trying to help his people, even while serving as a pawn of the racist ... See full summary »

Director:

Writers:

(play), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

Editors' Spotlight

IMDb Picks: October

IMDb's editors share the movies and TV shows they are excited to see in October.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 1325 titles
created 31 Mar 2012
 
a list of 1425 titles
created 04 Feb 2013
 
a list of 103 titles
created 6 months ago
 
a list of 25 titles
created 3 months ago
 
a list of 27 titles
created 3 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "Bopha!" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Bopha! (1993)

Bopha! (1993) on IMDb 6.6/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Bopha!.

User Polls

2 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Death of a Prophet (TV Movie 1981)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

After breaking ties with the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X became a man marked for death...and it was just a matter of time before his enemies closed in. Despite death threats and intimidation... See full summary »

Director: Woodie King Jr.
Stars: Morgan Freeman, Yolanda King, Mansoor Najee-ullah
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A famous jazz trumpeter finds himself unable to cope with the problems of everyday life.

Director: Leo Penn
Stars: Sammy Davis Jr., Louis Armstrong, Ossie Davis
Ruth & Alex (2014)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A long-time married couple who've spent their lives together in the same New York apartment become overwhelmed by personal and real estate-related issues when they plan to move away.

Director: Richard Loncraine
Stars: Morgan Freeman, Diane Keaton, Carrie Preston
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Charles Burnett's beautiful, poetic masterpiece is novelistic in its narrative density and richness of characterization. Harry Mention, an enigmatic drifter from the South, comes to visit ... See full summary »

Director: Charles Burnett
Stars: Danny Glover, Paul Butler, DeVaughn Nixon
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A patient in a modern day mental institution believes that he is the man who assassinated Tsar Alexander in 1881 and Tsar Nicolas II in 1918. He and his doctor soon slip out of reality and ... See full summary »

Director: Karen Shakhnazarov
Stars: Malcolm McDowell, Oleg Yankovskiy, Armen Dzhigarkhanyan
Monte Carlo (TV Movie 1986)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
Director: Anthony Page
Stars: Joan Collins, George Hamilton, Lisa Eilbacher
Freedom Song (TV Movie 2000)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Director: Phil Alden Robinson
Stars: Danny Glover, Vicellous Reon Shannon, Vondie Curtis-Hall
Drama

A self-trained veterinarian and former Slave tours the country with Beautiful Jim Key, a horse he claims can read and write.

Director: Robert Rodat
Stars: Morgan Freeman
Action

An Airbus A380 with 600 passengers on-board is trapped midway between Los Angeles and Tokyo when every airport in the world is wiped out in a global thermonuclear war.

Stars: Morgan Freeman
Comedy

When an aging playboy meets the love of his life, his lifelong best pal stops at nothing to break up the happy couple.

The Monster I (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  
Stars: Danny Glover
Schweitzer (1990)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

The story of Dr. Albert Schweitzer, his adventurous life and trials in the jungles of Africa.

Director: Gray Hofmeyr
Stars: Malcolm McDowell, Susan Strasberg, C. Andrew Davis
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Rosie Mangena
...
Van Tonder
...
Zweli Mangena
...
Pule Rampa
Michael Chinyamurindi ...
Solomon
Christopher John Hall ...
Naledi Machikano
Grace Mahlaba ...
Thokozile Machikano
Robin Smith ...
Retleif
Julie Strijdom ...
Lucy Van Tonder (as Julie Stridom)
Peter Kampila ...
Nonsizt
Sello Maake ...
Magubane (as Sello Maake Ka-Ncube)
Eric Miyeni ...
Bantebe
Tshepo Nzimande ...
Mandla
Edit

Storyline

In this story of a black policeman during South African apartheid, Danny Glover plays the cop, who believes he's trying to help his people, even while serving as a pawn of the racist government. When his son gets involved in the anti-apartheid movement, he finds himself torn between his family (including long-suffering wife Alfre Woodard) and what he believes is his duty. Written by M

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for language and apartheid-driven violence | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 September 1993 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bopha  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$212,483 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Connections

Referenced in Searching for Debra Winger (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

NO MONEY NO LIFE
Written by Cosmos Chidumule
Performed by Remmy Ongala and Orchestre Super Matimila
Courtesy of Realworld Records, Ltd./Virgin Records America, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Just doesn't click, but still an important film
9 June 2005 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

Although Bopha! is somewhat moving, and it's certainly about an important historical subject, it should have been much more moving than it is, and I don't give films extra points for their non-filmic references, no matter how important the subject is. Looking at the film purely as a self-contained artwork, it has a fair share of problems, including characterization and other script deficiencies as well as oddly flat direction.

The setting of the film is South Africa in 1980, in the Moroka section of Soweto, on the outskirts of Johannesburg (although in reality it was shot in Zimbabwe, since Apartheid had not yet ended while filming--that didn't occur until 1994). Historically, 1980 was somewhat of a middle period of internal opposition to Apartheid, which the South African government had begun to press even harder in the 1960s, leading to increasing protests and demonstrations and their attendant violence throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

Bopha! was originally a play by South African writer Percy Mtwa, and was earlier made into a semi-documentary television program that aired on PBS in the United States in 1986. Compared to the play, the film, directed by Morgan Freeman (his only directorial turn to date) significantly changes many of the characters, much of the story, and even the ending, which here is appropriately far more troubled and ambiguous than the "ray of hope" ending of the play.

The story is centered on Micah Mangena (Danny Glover) and his family, wife Rosie (Alfre Woodard) and son Zweli (Maynard Eziashi). Micah is trying to better his family with his income as a policeman, but it's a time when black policeman are seen as traitors to their own people, since they're enforcing the laws of Apartheid. The negative attitude towards them, approaching ostracism and in some cases lynching, even carries over to policeman's families. Despite the risk and periodic threats, Micah hopes that Zweli will follow in his footsteps, as it is a more desirable choice than the alternatives, and at first, Zweli plans to. But in school, Zweli's friends gain courage to organize protests, and Zweli helps them out by arranging a meeting with a famed local anti-Apartheid activist, Pule Rampa (Malick Bowens). Rampa is considered a "terrorist" by the authorities, and merely meeting to discuss such political issues is against the law, so turmoil quickly follows and ends up forcing father and son on different sides of the law.

Although Micah gets a lot of screen time and we learn something about the character, Freeman is unable to overcome an emotional distancing that makes it difficult to become invested as a viewer. Rosie and Zweli get less screen time, and feel even more distant. This especially hurts in the case of Zweli, as his character arc is essential to the impact of the film. For a large chunk of the middle, Zweli inexplicably disappears. The more minor characters can become completely lost and it is not always easy to keep track of them. It's difficult to not feel that Marius Weyers, as Micah's boss Van Tonder--the mostly understanding white guy, and Malcolm McDowell, as the villainous De Villers, aren't largely wasted. This is not to say that the events in the film involving all of the principal characters are not impactful, or that the actors do not turn in decent performances, but there just seems to be something relatively ineffable missing in the "chemistry" between performance, direction, script and editing.

I found it odd that one reviewer described Bopha! as an "action" film. Yes, there are scenes of protests turning to violence, there are scenes of protesters running from the police, being chased and occasionally being shot and so forth, but these are not at all the focus of the film. Far more often, Freeman goes about his realist drama story very deliberately. Some viewers--my wife was one--may feel that the film is too slow. And consider that my wife is from South Africa--she lived in the government's Indian settlement, Lenasia, right next to Soweto, and experienced similar events! So it's not that she was not interested in the material.

Freeman's directorial style is fairly pedestrian. He blocks scenes and conveys actions clear enough. He is rarely "showy" with his cinematography, although there are a couple shots of nice scenery, a nice wide shot of the township standing in for Soweto, a couple shots of sunsets and such. But this is a film that wants to hinge solely on its performances and on a heart-wrenching story in a complex time of turmoil. There are moments, such as a death in jail, a burned structure, characters who are shot, shot at and stabbed, and so on that should be as powerful as just about anything one can see in the cinema. But something about the story just doesn't click. It just feels too lightweight for what it should be, and consider this--I'm a viewer who very easily becomes emotional with such material; I very easily cry when I watch films. Unfortunately, I didn't shed a tear while watching Bopha!

Still, the subject and its handling are competent enough, and the historical content important enough to warrant a slight recommendation, especially for anyone who wants or needs to get a small glimpse into what Apartheid was about. The best film about Apartheid-era South Africa has not yet been made but needs to be. Until then, Bopha! and a handful of others, such as Cry Freedom (1987) and Mandela (1987), will have to suffice.


5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Great film! Orni86
Maynard Eziashi (not the guy for the role) Sanucci
Discuss Bopha! (1993) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?