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Gangster's Paradise: Jerusalema (2008)

Jerusalema (original title)
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A young hoodlum's rise from a small-time criminal to a powerful crime entrepreneur during the turbulent years before and after the fall of apartheid.



6 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Rapulana Seiphemo ...
Lucky Kunene
Jeffrey Zekele ...
Ronnie Nyakale ...
Zakes Mbolelo
Shelley Meskin ...
Leah Friedlander (as Shelly Meskin)
Malusi Skenjana ...
Tony Ngu
Inspector Blakkie Swart
Jafta Mamabolo ...
Young Kunene
Motlatsi Mahloko ...
Young Zakes
Kenneth Nkosi ...
Lucas Sithole
Sally Burdett ...
News reader
Lerato Moloi ...
Loretta Dlamini
Thandy Matlaila ...
Young Nomsa
Mzwandile Ngubeni ...
Young Bull
Gladys Mahlangu ...
Mama Kunene
Patrick Bakoba ...


Starting off with simple smash and grabs, and petty crime, Lucky Kunene quickly graduates to more aggressive heists such as armed robbery and carjacking. Soon, Lucky realizes he needs a bigger score to fulfill his goals of making it big, and escaping from the slums, to a dream house by the sea. Kunene hatches an elaborate and violent plan to make his fortune - hijacking buildings from landlords of Johannesburg tenements by winning the favor of the tenants and then holding their rent hostage from the landowners. His high-profile real estate acquisitions attract the attention of the local police force who have no qualms about using unprovoked brutality to bring him down. His trouble with the law, coupled with an escalating war between a local drug lord, creates a tense standoff: both sides are closing in, and Kunene must stay one step ahead--or his empire, and his life, will come crashing down. Written by Official Site

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Take your dreams by force See more »


Action | Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, language, drug use and some sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

29 August 2008 (South Africa)  »

Also Known As:

Gangster's Paradise: Jerusalema  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$2,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$4,958 (USA) (11 June 2010)


$4,958 (USA) (11 June 2010)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The budget for the film was considerably less than many of the music videos that Ralph Ziman had directed. See more »


Metrorail trains were not colored yellow in 1994, but red. See more »

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User Reviews

Great South African film
2 September 2008 | by (Oslo, Norway) – See all my reviews

The big problem with the local film industry is that for too long it has relied on easy-sell toilet humour or depressing AIDS and poverty epics.

It's refreshing to finally see a competently made local flick that aims to entertain the locals rather than scoop awards at foreign film festivals with deeply serious afro-pessimistic themes (such as Yesterday and Tsotsi.

Basically the story follows 2 male characters from their high school days into their adulthood. They get involved in lives of crime and must choose their own destinies.

This is a generally good and entertaining film. Ordinarily I would point out the negatives, such as the pacing, which drags a bit, especially towards the second half, some uninspired cinematography, some poor acting (especially from the female love interest). BUT, the problem with the SA movie going public is that we compare everything local to Hollywood. I assume this was made on a very limited budget and with pretty inexperienced people so it cannot possibly come close to matching those films for production values.

This film should be judged on its accomplishments taking into account the restrictions, and it does very well.

Jerusalema is, taken in context, an excellent film with plenty of local content and in-jokes. I believe it is important for all South Africans (able to) to support the local film industry to allow more true SA films to be made.

27 of 42 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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