7.5/10
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51 user 21 critic

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:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie's closing credits declare that the picture was "filmed principally in the Republic of Zimbabwe, and completed in Kenya, the United Kingdom, and at Lee International Film Studios Ltd., Shepparton, England, with post-production at Twickenham Studios, Middlesex, England". See more »

Goofs

During the opening sequence, actual photos from the contemporary ghetto, and a few of actual police action in the ghettos, are shown interspersed with recreations for the film. While very accurate, there are a number of small inconsistencies that reveal the disparity.

Most notable are newspaper clippings and posters on walls behind characters (such as the clipping behind the studying girl) which are similar though clearly different, and the police vehicles; the mine-protected vehicles in the stills were not available outside South Africa at the time of filming, so are replaced with Land Rovers and cargo trucks. See more »

Quotes

Steve Biko: You can beat or jail me or even kill me, but I am not going to be what you want me to be!
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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 »


Soundtracks

Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika
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User Reviews

 
The timeless message of Cry Freedom
23 April 2003 | by See all my reviews

I show this film to university students in speech and media law because its lessons are timeless: Why speaking out against injustice is important and can bring about the changes sought by the oppressed. Why freedom of the press and freedom of speech are essential to democracy. This is a must-see story of how apartheid was brought to the attention of the world through the activism of Steven Biko and the journalism of Donald Woods. It also gives an important lesson of free speech: "You can blow out a candle, but you can't blow out a fire. Once the flame begins to catch, the wind will blow it higher." (From Biko by Peter Gabriel, on Shaking the Tree).


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