Cry Freedom (1987)
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
User Ratings: 9,332
Movie InfoRichard Attenborough directed this dramatic story, based on actual events, about the friendship between two men struggling against apartheid in South Africa in the 1970s. Donald Woods (Kevin Kline) is a white liberal journalist in South Africa who begins to follow the activities of Stephen Biko (Denzel Washington), a courageous and outspoken black anti-apartheid activist. Woods and his wife Wendy (Penelope Wilton) get to know Biko, and they become friends, until Biko is brutally murdered at the hands of government troops in 1977 for his activities against the country's repression of the black majority population. Donald is shocked and appalled by Biko's murder and determined that the truth about Biko will become known to the world; eventually, Donald and Wendy Woods and their children must leave South Africa (and nearly everything they have) as they spread the word about Biko's life and death to ensure that he did not die in vain. Washington received an Academy Award nomination for his performance as Biko. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for Cry Freedom
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.
An implacable work of authority and compassion, Cry Freedom is political cinema at its best.
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.
Cry Freedom is a sincere and valuable movie, and despite my fundamental reservations about it, I think it probably should be seen.
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.
Biko was unflappable, logical and witty in life, and Washington conveys that solidity onscreen.
As a biopic, anti-Apartheid chronicle, the film is mediocre, but the young Denzel Washington is excellent, rendering an Oscar-nominated performance.
One of the best films to come out of the 1980s. Simply amazing.
A historical document as well as powerful, disturbing drama
Sincere and movie - but not enough Denzel.
Often harrowing and naturalistic but ultimately self-important in its indictment of police-state politics.
One of the best films of 1987 with its searing condemnation of racism and violence in South Africa.
a Hollywood whitewashing of a potentially explosive story
Audience Reviews for Cry Freedom
Great Acting, very moving story.
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.
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.
Good movie based on actual events in 70's S.Africa. Set during the apartheid an unlikely friendship between a white liberal and a black activist form the basis of the story. Kline and Washington are on top form, but it has a TV movie feel from beginning to end. I usually don't watch this genre of movie, as the depress the shit out of me, but one of my students was studying the book for his literature class so I thought I'd cut a few corners. Cry Freedom is a worthwhile watch, but you will be shocked by the level of cruelty done by the S, African government at that time.
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