Gangster's Paradise: Jerusalema (2008)
"Jerusalema" (original title)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama  |  29 August 2008 (South Africa)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.8/10 from 9,546 users   Metascore: 53/100
Reviews: 20 user | 30 critic | 8 from

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.



Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

6 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Tsotsi (2005)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Six days in the violent life of a young Johannesburg gang leader.

Director: Gavin Hood
Stars: Presley Chweneyagae, Mothusi Magano, Israel Makoe
The Zookeeper (2001)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A disillusioned ex-Communist is left behind to take care of the animals in the capital's zoological gardens until a U.N. rescue force arrives.

Director: Ralph Ziman
Stars: Sam Neill, Gina McKee, Ulrich Thomsen
Otelo Burning (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

When 16 year old Otelo Buthelezi, his best friend, New Year, and his 12 year old brother, Ntwe, are invited to the beach-house of their new friend, Tau Modise, they step into a world ... See full summary »

Director: Sara Blecher
Stars: Jafta Mamabolo, Thomas Gumede, Sihle Xaba
White Wedding (2009)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A young groom and his best man lost on a road trip, run into a young English doctor.

Director: Jann Turner
Stars: Kenneth Nkosi, Rapulana Seiphemo, Jodie Whittaker
City of Men (2007)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Best buddies Acerola and Laranjinha, about to turn 18, discover things about their missing fathers' pasts which will shatter their solid friendship, in the middle of a war between rival drug gangs from Rio's favelas.

Director: Paulo Morelli
Stars: Douglas Silva, Darlan Cunha, Jonathan Haagensen
Paid in Full (2002)
Drama | Action | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A young man from Harlem, forced to cope with the 1980s drug scene, builds an illegal empire, only to have a crisis of conscience.

Director: Charles Stone III
Stars: Mekhi Phifer, Wood Harris, Chi McBride
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In April 1994, the middle-aged Canadian journalist Bernard Valcourt is making a documentary in Kigali about AIDS. He secretly falls in love for the Tutsi waitress of his hotel Gentille, who... See full summary »

Director: Robert Favreau
Stars: Luc Picard, Fatou N'Diaye, Vincent Bilodeau
Yesterday I (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

After falling ill, Yesterday learns that she is HIV positive. With her husband in denial and young daughter to tend to, Yesterday's one goal is to live long enough to see her child go to school.

Director: Darrell Roodt
Stars: Leleti Khumalo, Lihle Mvelase, Kenneth Khambula
Action | Biography | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The story of french gangster Jacques Mesrine, before he was called Public Enemy N°1.

Director: Jean-François Richet
Stars: Vincent Cassel, Cécile De France, Gérard Depardieu
Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

In April 1994, after the airplane of the Hutu President of Rwanda is shot down, the Hutu militias slaughter the Tutsi population. In the Ecole Technique Officielle, the Catholic priest ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Caton-Jones
Stars: John Hurt, Hugh Dancy, Dominique Horwitz
Drama | History | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Set when the apartheid government was still in control, this powerful South African thriller is based on the true story of a policeman belonging to an elite government squad who was ... See full summary »

Director: Ralph Ziman
Stars: Danny Keogh, Patrick Shai, Seputla Sebogodi
Gangster Paradise (Video 2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Director: Ifeanyi Ikpoenyi
Stars: Grace Amah, Emma Ayalogu, Emma Ehumadu


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


An unflinching look into the crime, corruption and the transgressions of those looking to survive in the most crime-infested district of Johannesburg. 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?


Writer-director Ralph Ziman learned how a gang had stolen a whole building in Hillbrow in Johannesburg through coercion. He began researching the phenomenon by interviewing reporters, police officers, social workers and lawyers, only to discover that the practice is highly commonplace in South Africa. See more »


The boys mention winning the Lotto when walking down the street in the scene set in the 1994. The South African Lotto (National Lottery) started in 2000. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

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.

26 of 41 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Anyone else have problems understanding the language? Jehosaphet
Any chance to watch this movie? felix-awb
why isnt this being shouted about from the roof tops? rupy_
Jerusalema : the title zaida2000
go ronnie! wamatt
Impressive! neilhenegan
Discuss Gangster's Paradise: Jerusalema (2008) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: