7.5/10
11,313
51 user 22 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)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

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

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A retired British soldier struggles to adjust to everyday life, with increasing difficulty.

Director: Martin Stellman
Stars: Denzel Washington, Dorian Healy, Sean Chapman
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An African American officer investigates a murder in a racially charged situation in World War II.

Director: Norman Jewison
Stars: Howard E. Rollins Jr., Adolph Caesar, Art Evans
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

An Indian family is expelled from Uganda when Idi Amin takes power. They move to Mississippi and time passes. The Indian daughter falls in love with a black man, and the respective families... See full summary »

Director: Mira Nair
Stars: Denzel Washington, Sarita Choudhury, Roshan Seth
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

When police officer Xavier Quinn's childhood friend, Maubee, becomes associated with murder and a briefcase full of ten thousand dollar bills, The Mighty Quinn must clear his name. Or try to catch him, which could be even trickier.

Director: Carl Schenkel
Stars: Denzel Washington, Robert Townsend, James Fox
Glory (1989)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Robert Gould Shaw leads the U.S. Civil War's first all-black volunteer company, fighting prejudices from both his own Union Army, and the Confederates.

Director: Edward Zwick
Stars: Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes
Power (1986)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

After a close friend drops out of politics, a political consultant helping to find a replacement finds a web of corruption and deceit as well.

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Richard Gere, Julie Christie, Gene Hackman
Carbon Copy (1981)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

When a rich white corporate executive finds out that he has an illegitimate black son, things start falling apart for him at home, at work and in his social circles.

Director: Michael Schultz
Stars: George Segal, Susan Saint James, Jack Warden
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

An African-American man is hired to find a woman, and gets mixed up in a murderous political scandal.

Director: Carl Franklin
Stars: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A racist cop receives a heart transplant from a black lawyer he hates, who returns as a ghost to ask the cop to help take down the men who murdered him.

Director: James D. Parriott
Stars: Bob Hoskins, Denzel Washington, Chloe Webb
The Hurricane (1999)
Biography | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The story of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, a boxer wrongly imprisoned for murder, and the people who aided in his fight to prove his innocence.

Director: Norman Jewison
Stars: Denzel Washington, Vicellous Shannon, Deborah Kara Unger
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

An angel comes to Earth to help a preacher save his church and his family.

Director: Penny Marshall
Stars: Denzel Washington, Whitney Houston, Courtney B. Vance
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Josette Simon 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
Edit

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:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 November 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Grito de libertad See more »

Filming Locations:

Avondale, Harare, Zimbabwe See more »

Edit

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 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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Despite the fact that this was filmed in Super 35, "Filmed in Panavision" is listed in the end credits. See more »

Goofs

When the Woods family are on the beach planning their getaway (supposedly the beach close to East London, South Africa) the "sea" has vegetation growing out of it (trees, branches etc.). No filming could take place in South Africa at the time, so this scene was filmed at Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe. See more »

Quotes

Wendy Woods: I know you. You're willing to tear our lives to see Donald Woods on a book cover. And you're using Steve's death as an excuse.
Donald Woods: Bloody hell!
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 »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
The timeless message of Cry Freedom
23 April 2003 | by lmperrySee 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).


32 of 37 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 51 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed