Nelson Mandela, in his first term as the South African President, initiates a unique venture to unite the apartheid-torn land: enlist the national rugby team on a mission to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
The film tells the inspiring true story of how Nelson Mandela joined forces with the captain of South Africa's rugby team to help unite their country. Newly elected President Mandela knows his nation remains racially and economically divided in the wake of apartheid. Believing he can bring his people together through the universal language of sport, Mandela rallies South Africa's rugby team as they make their historic run to the 1995 Rugby World Cup Championship match. Written by
Before production began, Morgan Freeman and Lori McCreary made a trip to South Africa to get Nelson Mandela's blessing for the film. According to McCreary, Freeman started off by saying, "Madiba, we've been working a long time on this other project, but we've just read something that we think might get to the core of who you are..." Before he had finished, Madiba said, "Ah, the World Cup." For McCreary, that was "when I knew we were heading in the right direction." See more »
The England fans can be seen waving Union Jacks, even though the different countries of the United Kingdom play separately (Scotland and Wales, which also play as single nations and were both in the 1995 Rugby World Cup). This does actually happen frequently at English Matches, but Scottish and Welsh fans do not wave the Union Jack when supporting their own teams. See more »
High School Boy:
[seeing passing motorcade]
Who is it, sir?
High School Coach:
It's the terrorist Mandela, they let him out. Remember this day boys, this is the day our country went to the dogs.
See more »
During the first part of the end credits, pictures are shown of the real life characters that were portrayed in the movie. Those images are then followed by a scene of South African kids playing rugby. See more »
Invictus is an enjoyable film, Morgan Freeman is great as Mandela and it's an inspiring story. The movie revolves around the 1995 Rugby World Cup and Mandela's attempt to unite South Africa behind its rugby team. Mandela develops a relationship with team captain Francois Pienaar (Matt Damon)playing the role of mentor and motivational coach.
Although it's well-made and worth watching. As a rugby fan I was a little disappointed with the action on the field although most ordinary film-goers may not notice. I am not convinced the director (Clint Eastwood) really understands the game and the actors hired to play the Springboks didn't really look the part. At 5'10" Matt Damon is a little small to play the 6'3" and 240 lb Pienaar. Pienaar was a popular charmer with a ready smile and a real ambassador for South African rugby. Damon still seemed to be playing Jason Bourne. It was an intense performance but it wasn't how I remembered Pienaar.
South Africa had not been allowed to play in previous world cup tournaments and the years of isolation had left the Springboks uncompetitive. They were seeded ninth coming into the tournament but exceed expectations by reaching the final. The action focuses on the final match with New Zealand. New Zealand had an amazing wing (running back) in the 20 year old Jonah Lomu who at 6'5" and 265 pounds seemed unstoppable. South Africa really were the underdogs. It was also the only time that the All Blacks have managed to reach the final since 1987. They usually get beat by the French (1999, 2007) or Australia (1991 and 2003)in the quarters or semis.
Overall it's nice for rugby to finally receive some recognition from Hollywood, because it's a major global sport. It's a good film.
I discovered that "Invictus" is a short poem by the English poet William Ernest Henley. The title is Latin for "unconquered". It was first published in 1875.
96 of 122 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?