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Shepherds and Butchers (2016)

2:44 | Trailer
A lawyer takes on a case of a prison guard in South Africa who is traumatized by the executions he's witnessed.


Oliver Schmitz


Chris Marnewick (novel), Brian Cox (adaptation)
4 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »





Credited cast:
Andrea Riseborough ... Kathleen Marais
Steve Coogan ... Johan Webber
Robert Hobbs ... Pierre De Villiers
Carel Nel ... Karel Niemand
Deon Lotz ... Warrant Officer Rautenbach
Garion Dowds ... Leon Labuschagne
Inge Beckmann ... John's Sister
Brett Williams ... Tennis partner
Siya Mayola ... Condemned Man
Mbulelo Grootboom Mbulelo Grootboom ... Condemned Man
De Klerk Oelofse De Klerk Oelofse ... Eben Christiaan Coetzee
Rob van Vuuren Rob van Vuuren ... Prison Medical Officer
Kabelo Bouga Chalatsane Kabelo Bouga Chalatsane ... Condemned Man (as Kabelo Chaletsane)
Jacques Theron ... Court Usher
Marcel van Heerden Marcel van Heerden ... Justice J.P. van Zyl


SHEPHERDS AND BUTCHERS follows a jaded lawyer, John Weber (Steve Coogan), who takes on a seemingly hopeless multiple murder case and uncovers scandalous shortcomings in South Africa's capital punishment system as he mounts a defense for a prison guard traumatized by the executions he took part in.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for disturbing and violent content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Garion Dowds attended Reddam House school in Bedfordview, South Africa, where his mother teaches Drama. See more »


During the shooting scene, 13 shots are fired. At the reenactment, in flashback, Leon fires 10 rounds. See more »


[first lines]
Pierre De Villiers: [coming to see the crime scene] "Magazine hill", they call this place. Dead end.
Johan Webber: Mmm. Why would Labuschagne and the other men in the minibus have come up here?
Pierre De Villiers: He claims he can't remember any of it. So, Leon's bakkie was parked here. He left the keys in the ignition, then he ran that way. The minibus taxi belonging to the football team was... Came to rest here. Point-blank range. The gun they found was registered in Leon's name. He dragged the bodies over there, then he lined them up.
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Written by Barry Gibb, Steve Gibb and Ashley Gibb
Performed by Vusi Mahlasela and Barry Gibb
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User Reviews

One of the better courtroom drama's.
8 December 2019 | by deloudelouvainSee all my reviews

Courtroom drama's, to be honest not really my cup of tea, as most of the time there is a lot of talking and not a lot of action, but in this case the story is so appealing and captivating I really enjoyed this movie. Based on true events this story is even more interesting as we try to understand why a vicious crime has been committed, why some moral dilemmas have not been studied before. How can a caregiver also be an executioner at the same time? It's a really good story to follow, never boring and the cast is also quality. A great Garion Dowds, very promising, and a good Steve Coogan as the attorney defending the murderer. Shepherds And Butchers, not a very inviting title, but to me one of the better courtroom drama's I've seen in a while.

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South Africa | USA | Germany


English | Afrikaans

Release Date:

23 March 2017 (United Arab Emirates) See more »

Also Known As:

The Hangman: Shepherds and Butchers See more »

Filming Locations:

South Africa


Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(edited VOD)



Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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