7.1/10
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25 user 48 critic

Goodbye Bafana (2007)

Goodbye Bafana is the true story of a white South African racist whose life was profoundly altered by the black prisoner he guarded for twenty years. The prisoner's name was Nelson Mandela.

Director:

Bille August

Writers:

Bille August, Bob Graham (book) | 3 more credits »
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7 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joseph Fiennes ... James Gregory
Dennis Haysbert ... Nelson Mandela
Diane Kruger ... Gloria Gregory
Patrick Lyster ... Major Pieter Jordaan
Shiloh Henderson Shiloh Henderson ... Brent Gregory
Tyrone Keogh ... Brent Gregory
Megan Smith Megan Smith ... Natasha Gregory
Jessica Manuel ... Natasha Gregory
Faith Ndukwana Faith Ndukwana ... Winnie Mandela
Terry Pheto ... Zindzi Mandela
Leslie Mongezi Leslie Mongezi ... Walter Sisulu
Zingizile Mtuzula Zingizile Mtuzula ... Raymond Mhlaba (as Zingi Mtuzula)
Mehboob Bawa Mehboob Bawa ... Ahmed Kathrada
Shakes Myeko Shakes Myeko ... Andrew Mlangeni
Sizwe Msutu Sizwe Msutu ... Cyril Ramaphosa
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Storyline

James Gregory once lived in a farm and had befriended a native youth, Bafana, and had even had a photograph taken with him. Years later, now married to Gloria and father of three children (Chris, Brett, and Natasha), James has nothing but shame and regret, as many South African Caucasians in the oppressive Apartheid-era ridiculed him, leading him to hate Africans. He seeks to redeem himself by spying on imprisoned African National Congress Leader, Nelson Mandela. In the restrictive high security prison his job is to censor all written and verbal communications between prisoners, their visitors, and correspondence. James is uncomfortable when he witnesses Caucasian police and security officers' brutality against civilians, including infants, and tries to understand why Nelson became a rebel. This leads him to examine the 'Freedom Charter', a banned document, reportedly known to incite violence against 'whites'. And when he does read this document, he changes his mind about Nelson's ... Written by rAjOo (gunwanti@hotmail.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Based on the memoirs of Nelson Mandela's prison guard


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language including some sexual references | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Goofs

When the car explodes in front of an office building after two officers walk by, the blast should have shattered the office windows (and there are sounds of breaking glass), yet they remain intact. See more »

Quotes

Nelson Mandela: [in prison, to his visiting wife, speaking Xhosa; subtitles read] Tell him that all of us in here agree he should escalate the armed struggle. The country must become ungovernable.
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Connections

Followed by Invictus (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Wrapped Around Your Finger
(by Martyn Laight)
Music licensed courtesy of Carlin Music/G7 Music
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User Reviews

 
Apartheid through the eyes of the "little people"
3 May 2007 | by Asa_Nisi_Masa2See all my reviews

Joseph Fiennes has always looked a bit like a spider monkey in my view, but in this movie he was better than in any role I'd seen him in before, doing what I thought was a competent job with the South African accent as well. Finally exempted from having to play the sex symbol, Ralph's little brother could finally concentrate on actually challenging himself with a complex role. In a movie based upon a true story, Fiennes plays James Gregory, a racist South African guard whose certainties are nonetheless shaken to the core over the span of twenty years – the time he spends as Nelson Mandela's prison warden. The movie's merit lies largely in showing us the daily application of a major historic abomination – Apartheid – through the lives of "little people", those ordinary men and women of South Africa thanks to whom it was perpetuated. These are "ordinary" white people who are neither heroes nor villains, but obtuse conformists. The violence of the system on its white citizens was considerably more hidden than on its black ones, but it was violence all the same: it was the obligation to remain as ignorant as possible. The alternative was to be persecuted by the status quo.

Dennis Haysbert as Nelson Mandela was suitably stoic and charismatic, a positive counterpart to Forest Whitaker's villainous Idi Amin from The Last King of Scotland. Diane Kruger was definitely better cast as an "ordinarily" racist, suburban hairdresser wife and mother of two, than as Helen of Troy. By the end of Goodbye, Bafana, I was also somewhat moved. My major complaint with the movie was that like the vast majority of African-set, historical movies made recently, Nelson Mandela and all the black African characters were largely viewed from the outside, through the whiteys' eyes. These movies' directors all need to sit in a darkened room and watch The Battle of Algiers together sometime


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Language:

English | Xhosa

Release Date:

11 April 2007 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Color of Freedom See more »

Filming Locations:

South Africa See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$6,317,170
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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