7.5/10
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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)

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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 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 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 »
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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 »

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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 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

This movie was nominated for three Academy Awards, two of them for Best Music, Best Music Score and Best Original Song ("Cry Freedom"), and Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Denzel Washington, but the movie failed to win an Oscar in any of these categories. See more »

Goofs

Tires screeching on dusty dirt road. See more »

Quotes

Donald Woods: Do you know anyone we can trust, who has a car?
Tami: I trust me! And I have a car! The Boers will shit themselves!
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 Richard Attenborough: A Life in Film (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika
See more »

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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).


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