7.4/10
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51 user 23 critic

Cry Freedom (1987)

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

Writers:

John Briley (screenplay), Donald Woods (books)
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 Wabei Siyolwe ... Tenjy
John Matshikiza ... Mapetla
Juanita Waterman Juanita Waterman ... Ntsiki Biko
Evelyn Sithole Evelyn Sithole ... Nurse at clinic
Xoliswa Sithole Xoliswa Sithole ... Nurse at clinic
James Coine James Coine ... Young boy
Kevin Kline ... Donald Woods
Kevin McNally ... Ken
Albert Ndinda Albert Ndinda ... Alec
Andrew Whaley Andrew Whaley ... Sub-Editor
Shelley Borkum Shelley Borkum ... Woods' receptionist
Denzel Washington ... Steve Biko
Penelope Wilton ... Wendy Woods
Kate Hardie ... Jane Woods
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Storyline

Donald Woods (Kevin Kline) is chief editor of the liberal newspaper "Daily Dispatch" in South Africa. He has written several editorials critical of the views of Steve Biko (Denzel Washington). 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 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 November 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cry Freedom See more »

Filming Locations:

Avondale, Harare, Zimbabwe See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$29,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$318,723, 8 November 1987

Gross USA:

$5,899,797

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$5,899,797
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Ontario)

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The filmmakers intended to shoot in South Africa as early as October 1986, with permission from select prominent figures, including Oliver Tambo and Winnie Mandela. After interviewing Mandela, the chief production crew was tailed around by the South African gestapo all the time, and was forced to leave South Africa. Also, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) deliberately misinterpreted Producer and Director Sir Richard Attenborough's decision to shoot the movie in October, and instead broadcast the "news" of his starting a revolution sponsored by Russia. 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 ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Preceding the final credits is a list of other detainees who died in the custody of the South African police. Steven Biko's name appears on the list. See more »

Alternate Versions

On certain versions, the list of detainees who died in custody (see "Crazy Credits") is followed by a message: "Since the re-imposition of Emergency Regulations on 11th June, 1987, no further information regarding political detainees has been forthcoming." See more »


Soundtracks

Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika
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User Reviews

 
An exceptional film
2 April 2002 | by Guy ChapmanSee all my reviews

This film is, quite simply, brilliant. The cinematography is good, the acting superb and the story absolutely breathtaking. This is the story of Donald Woods, a white South African who thought himself a liberal until he found out the reality of apartheid. Kevin Kline is completely convincing - so much so that when Donald Woods himself appeared on TV some years later, I recognised him from Kline's portrayal. Denzel Washington also turns in a masterful performance, as ever.

I urge you to watch this. It is long, but it is worth your patience because it tells such an incredible story. Remember, folks, this really happened.


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