7.4/10
11,710
51 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)

Watch Now

From $3.99 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 5.6/10 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
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
Glory (1989)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 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
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 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
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
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
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Jazz trumpeter Bleek Gilliam makes questionable decisions in his professional and romantic lives.

Director: Spike Lee
Stars: Denzel Washington, Spike Lee, Wesley Snipes
Ricochet (1991)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A District Attorney is terrorized by the criminal he put away years ago when he was a cop.

Director: Russell Mulcahy
Stars: Denzel Washington, John Lithgow, Ice-T
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
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
Edit

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
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

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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the Turner Classic Movies website, "the film was released in South Africa, to a selected audience." 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 The 60th Annual Academy Awards (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Possibly the best ever work for all involved
9 May 2005 | by lee_eisenbergSee 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.


17 of 21 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

Tony Shalhoub and Alex Borstein: Happy to Win Together

"The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" stars Tony Shalhoub and Alex Borstein discuss their wins, their characters' similarities, and what's changed in the 13 years since Tony last won an Emmy.

Watch now

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed