7.5/10
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17 user 65 critic

The First Grader (2010)

Trailer
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The story of an 84 year-old Kenyan villager and ex Mau Mau veteran who fights for his right to go to school for the first time to get the education he could never afford.

Director:

Justin Chadwick

Writer:

Ann Peacock
18 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Naomie Harris ... Jane Obinchu
Oliver Litondo ... Kimani Ng'ang'a Maruge
Tony Kgoroge Tony Kgoroge ... Charles Obinchu
Alfred Munyua Alfred Munyua ... Teacher Alfred
Shoki Mokgapa Shoki Mokgapa ... Teacher Elizabeth
Vusi Kunene Vusi Kunene ... Mr. Kipruto (as Vusumuzi Michael Kunene)
Agnes Simaloi Agnes Simaloi ... Agnes
Kamau Mbaya Kamau Mbaya ... Kamau Chege
Emily Njoki Emily Njoki ... Young Maruge's Wife
Lwanda Jawar Lwanda Jawar ... Young Maruge
Dan 'Churchill' Ndambuki Dan 'Churchill' Ndambuki ... DJ Masha (as Daniel Ndambuki 'Churchill')
Hannah Wacera Hannah Wacera ... Maruge's Daughter
John Kimani John Kimani ... Maruge's Baby Son
Macharia Kamau Macharia Kamau ... DJ's PA
Abubakar Mwenda Abubakar Mwenda ... Boie
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Storyline

Set in a mountain village in Kenya the film tells the remarkable true and uplifting story of a proud old Mau Mau veteran who is determined to seize his last chance to learn to read and write - and so ends up joining a class alongside six year-olds. Together he and his young teacher face fierce resistance, but ultimately they win through - and also find a new way of overcoming the burdens of the colonial past. Written by Unknown

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It's never too late to dream.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some disturbing violent content and brief nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA | Kenya

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 June 2011 (Ireland) See more »

Also Known As:

Az iskolakezdő See more »

Filming Locations:

Kenya

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$20,437, 15 May 2011, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$330,533, 31 July 2011
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Tony Kgoroge is a frequent collaborator with director Justin Chadwick, having also appeared in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013), another film Chadwick directed. See more »

Quotes

DJ Masha: At 1:40 in the movie the radio disc jockey says, "I am now beginning to believe that one day a Kenyan, a Kenyan, will go to the White House."
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the initial credits, there is 1. a photo of the real Maruge with some students. 2. a scene with the DJ mentioning Maruge's trip to the UN, and predicting that a Kenyan will ascend to the White House. 3. more scenes of the children at the school See more »

Connections

Featured in Breakfast: Episode dated 20 June 2011 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Courage
Artist: Vieux Farka Touré (as Vieux Farka Toure) Featuring Issa Bamba & Eric Herman
Composer: Eric Herman
Master: Modiba Productions LLC
Publisher: Eric M Herman Publishing
Used by permission.
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User Reviews

1st class.
11 July 2011 | by ecstatic-tickleSee all my reviews

Glorious acting by the leads, a charming yet affecting screenplay, taut direction and above all stunning cinematography - all making for a gem of a film.

Due the nature of the story (daww, an 84 year-old guy in Kenya learning his ABCs with all the little kids...) some scenes skim dangerously close to being too cute and sentimental but thankfully the harrowing background to the story and gutwrenching depiction of conflicts in the past, along with the personal tragedy at the heart of the story make this such a moving film. Both Naomie Harris and Oliver Litondo deliver phenomenal performances, the latter in particular I think deserves Oscar consideration.


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