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He Named Me Malala (2015)

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A look at the events leading up to the Taliban's attack on Pakistani schoolgirl, Malala Yousafzai, for speaking out on girls' education followed by the aftermath, including her speech to the United Nations.


Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 4 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »



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Credited cast:
Toor Pekai Yousafzai ...
Atal Yousafzai ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:


A look at the events leading up to the Taliban's attack on Pakistani schoolgirl, Malala Yousafzai, for speaking out on girls' education followed by the aftermath, including her speech to the United Nations.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


One Child, One Teacher, One Book and One Pen Can Change the World



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements involving disturbing images and threats | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




Release Date:

22 October 2015 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Él me nombró Malala  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$60,884 (USA) (2 October 2015)


$2,642,899 (USA) (4 December 2015)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The name Malala is a variant of Malalai, which means "sad, grieved" in Pashto. This was the name of a Pashtun woman who encouraged the Afghan forces during the 1880 Battle of Maiwand against the British. Another bearer of this name is Malalai Joya (born 1978), an activist, writer, and a former politician from Afghanistan. See more »


Referenced in Film 2016: Episode #44.8 (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

Should be required viewing for all kids grades 6 and up
16 October 2015 | by (Cincinnati) – See all my reviews

"He Named Me Malala" (2015 release; 88 min.) is a documentary about Malala Yousafzai, the remarkable young lady from Pakistan, whom the Taliban tried to assassinate because she stood up for the right to an education for young girls. As the movie opens, we are told (via animation) where the name Malala comes from (an Afghani folk hero who encouraged/inspired the Afghan army in their battle against the UK). We then immediately switch to the footage of Malala's wounded body being treated after the Taliban's assassination attempt in October 2012--yes, almost 3 years ago to the date). The documentary then switches to "Birmingham, England, 2013", where we see Malala with her two brothers and her parents. To tell you more would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: this is the latest documentary from director David Guggenheim, best known for previous efforts such as Waiting for Superman, and It Might Get Loud. Here he tackles a difficult task, namely how to make an enticing documentary about a remarkable person, without coming across as simply wanting to 'glorify' that person. The answer, as it turns out, is quite simple: show us that person (in this case Malala) in their natural environment, and let us observe the REAL person. And then Guggenheim has another ace up his sleeve: he lets us catch glimpses (and more) of how the Taliban slowly but surely changes the Swat Valley in Pakistan, where Malala and her family lived. I must say, I was quite shocked at what I saw: the Taliban's brutality and determination knows no boundaries. As Malala (or was it her dad) observes at one point: "For the Taliban, it is not about faith, it is about power". Speaking of Malala's dad, it turns out he is quite remarkable well. I wondered why the movie wasn't simply called "I Am Malala" (her autobiography, from which the movie of course borrows), but now that I've seen it, it makes perfect sense, as this is a documentary not just about Malala but also very much about her dad. There is various remarkable archive footage in the documentary about the Taliban, her dad, and of course Malala herself. I must admit that I was worried how the makers of this documentary were going to fill an hour and a half in a way that would keep my attention. I shouldn't have worried. This is a moving documentary that, frankly, left me even more in awe of Malala than I already was. And to think this young lady is still only 18 years old as we speak! I am humbled and also a little inspired after seeing this.

"He Named Me Malala" opened yesterday (yes, Thursday is the new Friday), and the screening where I saw this at here in Cincinnati was attended okay but not great. That is a darn shame. I, for one, happen to think that "He Named me Malala" should be required viewing for all kids in the US grades 6 and up, and certainly I hope that many adults will see this too. "He Named Me Malala" is an inspired, and inspiring, documentary and is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

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