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Invictus (2009)

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Nelson Mandela, in his first term as the South African President, initiates a unique venture to unite the apartheid-torn land: enlist the national rugby team on a mission to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

Director:

Clint Eastwood

Writers:

Anthony Peckham (screenplay), John Carlin (book)
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Popularity
2,767 ( 375)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 10 wins & 33 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Morgan Freeman ... Nelson Mandela
Matt Damon ... Francois Pienaar
Tony Kgoroge Tony Kgoroge ... Jason Tshabalala
Patrick Mofokeng Patrick Mofokeng ... Linga Moonsamy
Matt Stern Matt Stern ... Hendrick Booyens
Julian Lewis Jones ... Etienne Feyder
Adjoa Andoh ... Brenda Mazibuko
Marguerite Wheatley Marguerite Wheatley ... Nerine
Leleti Khumalo ... Mary
Patrick Lyster ... Mr. Pienaar
Penny Downie ... Mrs. Pienaar
Sibongile Nojila Sibongile Nojila ... Eunice
Bonnie Henna ... Zindzi
Shakes Myeko Shakes Myeko ... Minister of Sport
Louis Minnaar ... Springbok Coach (as Louis Minaar)
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Storyline

The film tells the inspiring true story of how Nelson Mandela joined forces with the captain of South Africa's rugby team to help unite their country. Newly elected President Mandela knows his nation remains racially and economically divided in the wake of apartheid. Believing he can bring his people together through the universal language of sport, Mandela rallies South Africa's rugby team as they make their historic run to the 1995 Rugby World Cup Championship match. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He was a prisoner who became a president. To unite his country, he asked one man to do the impossible. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Release Date:

11 December 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Human Factor See more »

Filming Locations:

South Africa See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$60,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,611,147, 13 December 2009, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$37,491,364

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$124,514,011
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Morgan Freeman replaces the word "chance" with the word "fate" in the third line of the second stanza of the poem "Invictus". See more »

Goofs

Shortly after you see a group of maids preparing Nelson Mandela's breakfast table, and Mandela having a shave, you briefly see a Metrorail train in the gray and yellow colors. In the early '90s these trains would have been maroon with silver roofs. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
High School Boy: [seeing passing motorcade] Who is it, sir?
High School Coach: It's the terrorist Mandela, they let him out. Remember this day boys, this is the day our country went to the dogs.
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Crazy Credits

The Warner Bros logo is the 90s era logo, in keeping with the time period of the film. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

World In Union '95
(1995)
Written by Charlie Skarbek and Joseph Shabalala
Based on music originally composed by Gustav Holst
Performed by Overtone
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Just one great film
11 December 2009 | by artzauSee all my reviews

People forget that Nelson Mandela came to power at a time when his country was bitterly divided. There was the bitter experience that white South Africans saw in their neighboring countries,i.e., Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe and other nations where the White colonialist had been replaced by Black African politicians and a stable government had been replaced by corrupt, self-serving regimes where those in power feathered their nests after seizing the assets of their former White citizens and placed all their friends in positions of authority with the result of the country going to the dogs. The scene where the Afrikaaner newspaper remarks, "Mendela can get elected but can he run a country," and the superb Morgan Freeman remarks to his bodyguard that the headline raises a good point.

In a sense, this film is about Mandela. The rugby team becomes a metaphor of what he faced when ascending to the presidency, a nation divided. Noting that the Black South Africans were cheering for the opposition in the face of the old Apartheid guard whose love of rugby unified them. It's easy to forget that there was a great division among White South Africans, i.e., the descendants of the Boers, Afrikaaners, and the rest. There was even a middle ground with the "Coloreds," Asian South Africans, being caught between these two worlds and there were bitter rivalries among the competing African political interest groups as well.

Mandela's focus on reviving the national rugby team and making it a symbol of a new united nation homes in on the role of Matt Damon, an Afrikaaner who's the captain of the team. Francois is the catalyst that makes this story work and Damon, the rugged Mick from Boston, does a fantastic job showing the transition from hopelessness to hope as many White South Africans felt at that time. The wonderful thing about this film is its touching on all the levels. It goes beyond being merely the story of a single man or group of men. Sure, we love a "feel good" movie and of course we love an "underdog can win" flick, but this film works works because its about people working together to rebuild something new for everybody.

The film reeks with great moments: Pienaar visiting the cell where Mandela spent more than 20 years of his life, thinking and planning; The New Zealand Rugby team doing their Maori threat dance before the match; the jet buzzing the field before the game-- and so on. See it. Enjoy it. And, don't forget, it's a bit of history. Romanticized? Somewhat. Mandela wasn't able to solve all of South Africa's big problems, but he did one bang-up job for the Springboks.


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