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Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013)

PG-13  |   |  Biography, Drama, History  |  25 December 2013 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 19,535 users   Metascore: 60/100
Reviews: 106 user | 206 critic | 32 from Metacritic.com

A chronicle of Nelson Mandela's life journey from his childhood in a rural village through to his inauguration as the first democratically elected president of South Africa.



(screenplay), (autobiography)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 28 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tony Kgoroge ...
Riaad Moosa ...
Zolani Mkiva ...
Simo Mogwaza ...
Thapelo Mokoena ...
Jamie Bartlett ...
Terry Pheto ...
Evelyn Mase
Zikhona Sodlaka ...
S'Thandiwe Kgoroge ...
Albertina Sisulu
Tshallo Sputla Chokwe ...
Oliver Tambo
Sello Maake Ka-Ncube ...
Albert Luthuli (as Sello Maake)


Nelson Mandela is a South African lawyer who joins the African National Congress in the 1940s when the law under the Apartheid system's brutal tyranny proves useless for his people. Forced to abandon peaceful protest for armed resistance after the Sharpeville Massacre, Mandela pays the price when he and his comrades are sentenced to life imprisonment for treason while his wife, Winnie, is abused by the authorities herself. Over the decades in chains, Mandela's spirit is unbowed as his struggle goes on in and beyond his captivity to become an international cause. However, as Winnie's determination hardens over the years into a violent ruthlessness, Nelson's own stature rises until he becomes the renowned leader of his movement. That status would be put to the test as his release nears and a way must be found to win a peaceful victory that will leave his country, and all its peoples, unstained. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


It is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some intense sequences of violence and disturbing images, sexual content and brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






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Release Date:

25 December 2013 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mandela: Un long chemin vers la liberté  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$84,283 (USA) (29 November 2013)


$8,324,748 (USA) (21 March 2014)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


His trial in 1963 featured in the film was not his only major defense against the state. Between December 5, 1956 and March 29, 1961, he and 29 other freedom fighters either in support of or members of the African National Congress were tried for treason against the government. The trial lasted for nearly four and a half years, and after nearly 12000 documents seized by government officials were reviewed, he and the others were found not guilty. These events are well documented in Mandela's autobiography off of which this film is based between chapters 23 and 39. See more »


When Nelson Mandela is released from prison on 11th February 1990, there is a Mercedes W140 waiting which was first manufactured in August 1991. See more »


Nelson Mandela: I have walked a long walk to freedom. It has been a lonely road, and it is not over yet. I know that my country, was not made to be a land of hatred. No one is born hating another person because the color of his skin. People learn to hate. They can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart.
See more »


Featured in 71st Golden Globe Awards (2014) See more »


See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Mandela movie shows his vision and conviction but also the heartbreaking consequences to his personal life.
9 September 2013 | by (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

I saw this movie on Sept. 8 at the Toronto Film Festival. It was an honest and powerful portrayal of Mandela the man and the toll his striving for a better South African society took on his personal life. The movie showed how his first marriage crumbled because his wife couldn't take his long absences from her and their 4 children while his role in the ANC and the anti-apartheid movement became his greater focus. Although he explained to her that he was doing this work for all of South Africa's black people and the children who were growing up in those oppressed conditions, his own children suffered for his strong convictions for the greater good. He married a woman he truly loved, Winnie, and had 2 daughters with her. Although Winnie supported and fought alongside Mandela for the cause, this family ultimately suffered, too, when he continued his campaign with the ANC and it turned to more drastic means to send a message to the South African government. As a result of his arrest and conviction for those actions, he spent 27 years away from his young family. There were some truly heart-wrenching moments and the actor who played Mandela, Idris Elba, convincingly conveyed the doubts and regrets that Mandela felt in not being able to be with his wife and children all those years.

The movie showed this personal side of the Mandela story well. It skipped through the facts that are well known and easily accessed. This wasn't the focus of the movie. Now knowing the great sacrifices he endured to achieve the freedom he desired for all black South Africans, it made me ever more grateful for having witnessed a small part of the Mandela story. I was part of the "Free Mandela" movement in the late '80's and I saw him speak when he came to Toronto in 1990. Seeing this movie, with it's inclusion of live footage from that time, brought back memories of the emotions of the era, the "Boycott South African goods" campaign, the elation when Mandela was finally freed, and feeling the goosebumps when he spoke. He was, and is, one of the most inspiring, great leaders of our time. I highly recommend everyone go see this movie when it is widely released. It will leave you wanting to learn more about Mandela (I plan to read his autobiography bearing the same name as the movie), and maybe even go out and do your part to make this a better society too, however small the contribution. As Mandela says in the movie, "Alone we have no power, together, we have the power to change the world".

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