7.5/10
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17 user 66 critic

The First Grader (2010)

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The story of an 84 year-old Kenyan villager and ex Mau Mau veteran who fights for his right to go to school for the first time to get the education he could never afford.

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Writer:

17 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Oliver Litondo ...
Tony Kgoroge ...
Charles Obinchu
Alfred Munyua ...
Teacher Alfred
...
Teacher Elizabeth
Vusi Kunene ...
Mr. Kipruto (as Vusumuzi Michael Kunene)
Agnes Simaloi ...
Agnes
Kamau Mbaya ...
Kamau Chege
Emily Njoki ...
Young Maruge's Wife
Lwanda Jawar ...
Dan 'Churchill' Ndambuki ...
DJ Masha (as Daniel Ndambuki 'Churchill')
Hannah Wacera ...
Maruge's Daughter
John Kimani ...
Maruge's Baby Son
Macharia Kamau ...
DJ's PA
Abubakar Mwenda ...
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Storyline

Set in a mountain village in Kenya the film tells the remarkable true and uplifting story of a proud old Mau Mau veteran who is determined to seize his last chance to learn to read and write - and so ends up joining a class alongside six year-olds. Together he and his young teacher face fierce resistance, but ultimately they win through - and also find a new way of overcoming the burdens of the colonial past. Written by Unknown

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It's never too late to dream.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some disturbing violent content and brief nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Language:

Release Date:

24 June 2011 (Ireland)  »

Also Known As:

Az iskolakezdő  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$20,437 (USA) (13 May 2011)

Gross:

$330,533 (USA) (29 July 2011)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Tony Kgoroge is a frequent collaborator with director Justin Chadwick, having also appeared in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013), another film Chadwick directed. See more »

Quotes

Jane Obinchu: Mmzee, why does someone as old as yourself want to go to school?
Kimani Ng'ang'a Maruge: I want to learn to read.
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Crazy Credits

During the initial credits, there is 1. a photo of the real Maruge with some students. 2. a scene with the DJ mentioning Maruge's trip to the UN, and predicting that a Kenyan will ascend to the White House. 3. more scenes of the children at the school See more »

Connections

Featured in Breakfast: Episode dated 20 June 2011 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Courage
Artist: Vieux Farka Touré (as Vieux Farka Toure) Featuring Issa Bamba & Eric Herman
Composer: Eric Herman
Master: Modiba Productions LLC
Publisher: Eric M Herman Publishing
Used by permission.
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User Reviews

 
An inspiring and sensitive retelling of events
2 May 2012 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

This is a very moving account of actual events that took place 2003-2005, with a little poetic license in the retelling. The principle actors are brilliant, but some of the other characters are a little overdrawn. However, I think this kind of caricature may be derived from Kenyan culture.

I thoroughly enjoyed the character development as well as the pacing of the story. It is also set in dramatic Kenyan landscapes which are enthralling. Having visited Kenya briefly in 2006, this brought back a lot of good memories of the country and the people. The smiles of the children you see amid the poverty is exactly how I remember it.

As others have said, it isn't a movie for children, but should be on the "to watch" list for adolescents and adults.


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