Cry Freedom (1987) - Rotten Tomatoes

Cry Freedom (1987)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

A powerful drama that helped expose to the world the malfeasance of South African apartheid, Cry Freedom chronicles the fact-based friendship between an outspoken white newspaper editor who brazenly rejects racist British policies and South African pacifistic civil-rights activist Steve Biko. After Biko suspiciously dies, Woods, though forced to flee the country with his family, continued to broadcast Biko's message to the world.more
Rating: PG (adult situations/language, violence)
Genre: Art House & International, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: John Briley
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 23, 1999
MCA Universal Home Video


Kevin Kline
as Donald Woods
Penelope Wilton
as Wendy Woods
Kate Hardie
as Jane Woods
Josette Simon
as Dr. Ramphele
Zakes Mokae
as Fr. Kani
Alec McCowen
as Acting High Commissi...
Ian Richardson
as State Prosecutor
Timothy West
as Capt. de Wet
Jim Findley
as Peter Jones
Jim Findlay
as Peter Jones
Julian Glover
as John Card
Alton Kumalo
as Speaker
Louis Mahoney
as Lesotho Government O...
John Paul
as Wendy's Stepfather
Gwen Watford
as Wendy's Mother
Juanita Waterman
as Ntsiki Biko
Graeme Taylor
as Dillon Woods
Adam Stuart Walker
as Duncan Woods
Judy Cornwell
as Receptionist
Andrew Whaley
as Sub-Editor
Shelley Borkum
as Woods's Receptionist
Patricia Gumede
as Shebeen Queen
David Guwaza
as Prisoner
Angela Gavaza
as Shebeen Queen's Niec...
Russell Keith Hurst
as Security Guard
Buddy Uzzaman
as Mortician's Assistan...
Basil Chidyamathamba
as Brother-in-Law
Neil McPherson
as Lemick's Assistant
George Lovell
as Nkosinathi Biko
Andrew McCulloch
as Policeman Nel
Graham Fletcher-Cook
as Nel's Partner
Karen Drury
as Young Secretary
Gerald Sim
as Police Doctor
Peter Cartwright
as Senior Police Office...
Gary Whelan
as Police Sergeant
Dudley Dickin
as Nationalist Party De...
David Trevena
as Mortician
Badi Uzzaman
as Mortician's Assistan...
Robert Phillips
as Speaker at Funeral
Fishoo Tembo
as Biko's Brother
Peggy Marsh
as `Helen Suzman'
Gwyneth Strong
as Girl at Funeral
Philip Bretherton
as Maj. Boshoff
Kimpton Mativenga
as Black Security Polic...
David Henry
as Afrikaner Farmer
Michael Turner
as Judge Boshoff
Kalie Hanekom
as Magistrate Prins
Paul Jerricho
as Sgt. Louw
Peter Cary
as White Frontier Polic...
Dominic Kanaventi
as Black Frontier Polic...
Sam Mathambo
as Lesotho Passport Off...
Walter Muparutsa
as Lesotho Businessman
Judy Cornwall
as Receptionist
Simon Shumba
as Young Lesotho Offici...
Nick Tate
as Richie
Marilyn Poole
as Acting High Commissi...
William Marlowe
as Police Captain at So...
Evelyn Sithole
as Nurses at Clinic
Xoliswa Sithole
as Nurses at Clinic
Carl Chase
as Policeman
Claude Maredza
as Rugby Player
Carlton Chance
as Rugby Player
Glen Murphy
as Security Guard
Russell Keith Grant
as Security Guard
Niven Boyd
as Roadblock Policeman
Star Ncube
as Prisoner
Tony Vogel
as Roadblock Policeman
Hilary Minster
as Passport Control Off...
Christopher Hurst
as Roadblock Policeman
Robert McNamara
as Security Policeman
Hans Sittig
as Security Policeman
Hilary Minister
as Passport Control Off...
James Aubrey
as Passport Control Off...
Michael Graham Cox
as Passport Control Off...
John Hartley
as Passport Control Off...
John Thaw
as Kruger
Garick Hagon
as McElrea
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Cry Freedom

Critic Reviews for Cry Freedom

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (6)

Washington does a remarkable job of transforming himself into the articulte and mesmerizing black nationalist leader, whose refusal to keep silent led to his death in police custody and a subsequent coverup.

Full Review… | June 19, 2008
Top Critic

An implacable work of authority and compassion, Cry Freedom is political cinema at its best.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

These are fine methods for delivering a civics lesson, which to some extent is what the Attenborough approach is all about. But for a film that aspires to entertain as well as educate, they are less helpful.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Biko was unflappable, logical and witty in life, and Washington conveys that solidity onscreen.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

In a country busier than Chile with oppression, violence and subjugation, the story of Woods' slow awakening is certainly not the most exciting, or revealing.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Cry Freedom is a sincere and valuable movie, and despite my fundamental reservations about it, I think it probably should be seen.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Cry Freedom

Great Acting, very moving story.

Lenny Muggsy

Super Reviewer


Typically worthy and well-made biopic of Steven Biko and his death at the hands of the racist south african regime from Richard Attenborough. The first half of the film featuring the man himself played by Denzel in one of his best roles works better, as we get to know the man and his motives. It's harder to care about Kline's attempts to escape the country in the wake of Biko's death, but it's still fascinating stuff.

xGary Xx

Super Reviewer


Extraordinary true-life story of friendship between black activist and white newspaper editor in South Africa who told against the backdrop of a turbulent but beautiful land rich in everything but common humanity.

Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer

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