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Gangster's Paradise: Jerusalema (2008)

Jerusalema (original title)
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A young hoodlum's rise from a small-time criminal to a powerful crime entrepreneur during the turbulent years before and after the fall of apartheid.



6 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Rapulana Seiphemo ... Lucky Kunene
Jeffrey Zekele ... Nazareth
Ronnie Nyakale ... Zakes Mbolelo
Shelley Meskin ... Leah Friedlander (as Shelly Meskin)
Malusi Skenjana ... Tony Ngu
... Inspector Blakkie Swart
... Young Kunene
Motlatsi Mahloko ... Young Zakes
Kenneth Nkosi ... Lucas Sithole
Sally Burdett ... News reader
Lerato Moloi ... Loretta Dlamini
Thandy Matlaila ... Young Nomsa
Mzwandile Ngubeni ... Young Bull
Gladys Mahlangu ... Mama Kunene
Patrick Bakoba ... Caiphas


Starting off with simple smash and grabs, and petty crime, Lucky Kunene quickly graduates to more aggressive heists such as armed robbery and carjacking. Soon, Lucky realizes he needs a bigger score to fulfill his goals of making it big, and escaping from the slums, to a dream house by the sea. Kunene hatches an elaborate and violent plan to make his fortune - hijacking buildings from landlords of Johannesburg tenements by winning the favor of the tenants and then holding their rent hostage from the landowners. His high-profile real estate acquisitions attract the attention of the local police force who have no qualms about using unprovoked brutality to bring him down. His trouble with the law, coupled with an escalating war between a local drug lord, creates a tense standoff: both sides are closing in, and Kunene must stay one step ahead--or his empire, and his life, will come crashing down. Written by Official Site

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Take your dreams by force See more »


Action | Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, language, drug use and some sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

Official site




Release Date:

29 August 2008 (South Africa)  »

Also Known As:

Gangster's Paradise: Jerusalema  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$2,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$48,243 (South Africa), 31 August 2008, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,958, 13 June 2010, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$4,958, 13 June 2010
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Ralph Ziman wanted to make a "harsh and realistic" crime movie about his home town, one that reflected "the hopes and aspirations of its citizens". See more »


A Johannesburg Metro police car chases the boys early on in the movie after they hijack a car in the 1990s. However, the Johannesburg Metro Police were only formed around 2001. See more »

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User Reviews

Jerusalema Hlala Siyaya
16 November 2008 | by See all my reviews

If you thought Tsotsi was brilliant, Jerusalema will blow you away. It's about determination and hope. I've never seen such an apt depiction of township life. Big -up 2 the producers for the angle they took. I loved the music and how they tied Jerusalema with the lead characters' praying mother! A must see, for inspiration if nothing else!

Guys lets praise SA for producing such an magnificent movie in the international screens, u better start going to the cinemas to watch the awesome job did by our camera men, editors and directors etc. Big up Mzantsi Big up.

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