7.4/10
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54 user 23 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:

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 Stereo (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

One of a mini-cycle of late 1980s anti-apartheid movies. The others were A World Apart (1988), A Dry White Season (1989), and Lethal Weapon 2 (1989). The Power of One (1992) followed in the early 1990s. 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

Donald Woods: Ken.
Ken: Yeah?
Donald Woods: You like football, don't you?
See more »

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 »

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 »

Connections

Featured in Peter Gabriel: Play (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika
See more »

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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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