7.5/10
11,305
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
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
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
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
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
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
The George McKenna Story (TV Movie 1986)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

He risked it all to make the grade.

Director: Eric Laneuville
Stars: Denzel Washington, Lynn Whitfield, Debra Artis
Ricochet (1991)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 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
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

Lew Wasserman, the head of MCA/Universal told Sir Richard Attenborough to "clear his shelves of his Oscars for Ghandi , as Cry Freedom was going sweep the board at the Academy awards" and indeed, early, pre-release test screenings resulted in many positive audience reactions. However, this movie proved to be a disaster at the U.S. box-office, and failed to be nominated in any of the major Oscar categories except Best Actor in a Supporting Role, for Denzel Washington. 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

Referenced in Klais? (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
***1/2 out of *****
29 August 2003 | by IdocamstufSee all my reviews

An overlong, but compelling retelling of the friendship between civil rights leader Steve Biko and Donald Woods. The first half of the film is the strongest where we see the bond formed between the two men, and how they help each other out, but the second half isn't as strong, due to the elimination of the Biko character. Still, its a compelling film with great performances by Kline and Washington, in the film that put the latter on the map. Washington was also was nominated for best supporting actor for the first time. Overall, a well made film that could have been trimmed down a bit. 7/10.____________________________________


8 of 14 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



Recently Viewed