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Cry Freedom (1987)

South African journalist Donald Woods is forced to flee the country, after attempting to investigate the death in custody of his friend, the black activist Steve Biko.

Writers:

(screenplay), (books)

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Josette Simon ... Dr. Ramphele
Wabei Siyolwe ... Tenjy
... Mapetla
Juanita Waterman ... Ntsiki Biko
Evelyn Sithole ... Nurse at clinic
Xoliswa Sithole ... Nurse at clinic
James Coine ... Young boy
... Donald Woods
... Ken
Albert Ndinda ... Alec
Andrew Whaley ... Sub-Editor
Shelley Borkum ... Woods' receptionist
... Steve Biko
... Wendy Woods
... Jane Woods
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Storyline

Donald Woods is chief editor of the liberal newspaper Daily Dispatch in South Africa. He has written several editorials critical of the views of Steve Biko. But after having met him for the first time, he changes his opinion. They meet several times, and this means that Woods and his family get attention from the security police. When Steve Biko dies in police custody, he writes a book about Biko. The only way to get it published is for Woods himself to illegally escape the country. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The true story of the friendship that shook South Africa and awakened the world


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

6 November 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Grito de libertad  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Budget:

$29,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$318,723, 8 November 1987, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$5,899,797, 31 December 1988

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$25,899,797
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Ontario)

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was based on two books by Donald Woods, who is played in the film by Kevin Kline. These are "Biko" (1978) and "Asking for Trouble: The Autobiography of a Banned Journalist" (1981). The film was made and released nine and six years after each book, respectively. See more »

Goofs

An extra that played a heavily wounded protester (shot in the back during the revolts) in Soweto jumped out of his lying position in a lively fashion when other extras (that were supposed to carry him off) started lifting him off the ground. See more »

Quotes

Steve Biko: My lord, blacks are not unaware of the hardships they endure or what the government is doing to them. we want them to stop accepting these hardships - to confront them. People must not just give in to the hardship of life, they must find a way, even in these environments, to - to develop hope - hope for themselves, hope for this country. now I think that is what black consciousness is all about. Not without any reference to the white man. To try to build up a sense of our own humanity - our ...
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Crazy Credits

Opening disclaimer: "With the exception of two characters whose identity has been concealed to ensure their safety, all the people depicted in this film are real and all the events true." See more »

Connections

Featured in Peter Gabriel: Biko (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika
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User Reviews

 
Possibly the best ever work for all involved
9 May 2005 | by See all my reviews

As anyone old enough knows, South Africa long suffered under the vile, racist oppression of apartheid, which completely subjugated the black population. One of the most famous anti-apartheid activists was Steve Biko, who was murdered in jail. Following the murder, reporter Donald Woods sought to get Biko's message out to the world.

In "Cry Freedom", Woods (Kevin Kline) befriends Biko (Denzel Washington) before the latter is arrested on trumped up charges. When Woods attempts to spread Biko's word, he and his family begin living under threat of attack, and they are finally forced to flee the country. The last scene gut-wrenchingly shows police firing on protesters.

As one of two movies (along with "A World Apart") that helped galvanize the anti-apartheid movement, "Cry Freedom" stands out as possibly the best ever work for all involved.


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