Nelson Mandela, in his first term as President of South Africa, 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.
This movie tells the inspiring true story of how Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) joined forces with the Captain of South Africa's rugby team, Francois Pienaar (Matt Damon) 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 run to the 1995 Rugby World Cup Championship match.Written by
According to Laurence Mitchell, the head of the Cape Film Commission, "in terms of stature and stars, this certainly is one of the biggest films ever to be made in South Africa." See more »
Before the incident where the aircraft flies low over the stadium, the first officer says, "we are on final approach". The captain then takes control and immediately flies the plane low over Ellis Park (where the final takes place) in a roughly northerly direction, as indicated by the position of Ponté Tower out of the cockpit window. Yet Johannesburg Airport is a good distance east of Ellis Park and while there is a northerly approach to land there, a plane which flew a final approach beginning near Ellis Park would be about 9 miles off course. See more »
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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During the first part of the end credits, pictures are shown of the real life characters that were portrayed in the movie. Those images are then followed by a scene of South African kids playing rugby. See more »
Morgan Freeman shines in Clint Eastwood's solid drama
Set in the early to mid 90's, Clint Eastwood's "Invictus" covers the first year of Nelson Mandela's presidency and how he pushed the nation's rugby team, led by captain Francois Pienaar, to achieve World Cup glory. However, Mandela's backing of the rugby team splits many hairs, as the "Sprinboks" have come to be a symbol of apartheid for millions of South Africans, making Mandela risk the very base that pushed him into office. He must also deal with personal security, his exhaustive schedule, and the strains on his personal life.
As much as I respect Morgan Freeman, I was concerned that his presence would be distracting, that I would be seeing him instead of Nelson Mandela. I shouldn't have worried. Freeman completely immerses himself into the role and gives one of the best performances of the year. Not only are his accent and tone of voice quite good, but he brings a true 3-dimensionality to the role. Compare, for example, him having tea with Francois, to talking with his family, and to making a political speech. Freeman nailed every facet of Mandela's life.
Damon also excels as Pienaar, the solid enough rugby player who must do more than just lead by example for his team. The screenplay, adapted by Anthony Peckham, doesn't offer many narrative surprises, but it does do a good job examining not only the strife South Africa was in when Mandela was elected, but also the value of the team to the entire nation. Eastwood wisely plays the material straight. Though the material may seem familiar, the performances by Damon and especially Freeman are what elevate this tale into a solid and even uplifting drama.
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