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Invictus (2009)



Average Rating: 6.6/10
Reviews Counted: 232
Fresh: 176 | Rotten: 56

Delivered with typically stately precision from director Clint Eastwood, Invictus may not be rousing enough for some viewers, but Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman inhabit their real-life characters with admirable conviction.


Average Rating: 6.9/10
Critic Reviews: 44
Fresh: 38 | Rotten: 6

Delivered with typically stately precision from director Clint Eastwood, Invictus may not be rousing enough for some viewers, but Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman inhabit their real-life characters with admirable conviction.



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Average Rating: 3.6/5
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Movie Info

Actor Morgan Freeman portrays anti-apartheid activist and former South African president Nelson Mandela in this Clint Eastwood-helmed political drama adapted from author John Carlin's book The Human Factor: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Changed the World. Set just after the fall of apartheid and during Mandela's first term in office, The Human Factor explores how the political prisoner-turned-president used the 1995 Rugby World Cup -- which was hosted by South Africa -- as a means of bringing


Sports & Fitness, Drama

Anthony Peckham

May 18, 2010


Warner Bros. Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (233) | Top Critics (44) | Fresh (176) | Rotten (56) | DVD (12)

A noble and compassionate work that in its later scenes manages successfully to invest our emotions in the triumph of an important - if overlong! - sporting victory.

February 5, 2010 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

What Eastwood has done is to assemble a cast of American and South African actors and allow them to create something moving, exciting, and improbably true.

January 15, 2010 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Freeman-as-Mandela is an actor all dressed up with no place to go -- at least, nowhere we didn't already know he was headed.

December 11, 2009 Full Review Source: Slate | Comments (7)
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The story of how Nelson Mandela chose the white-supported national rugby team, the Springboks, to become a symbol of national reconciliation is uncharacteristically optimistic for Eastwood.

December 11, 2009 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[T]he epitome of Hollywood filmmaking in ways both good and bad: uplifting, overlong, ambitious in scope but simple in moral vision, well-crafted but inured to irony.

December 11, 2009 Full Review Source: The New Republic
The New Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A work of flawed majesty.

December 11, 2009 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The attraction of the film lies not in any surprise but in Morgan Freeman as Mandela -- so pitch perfect that the line between actor and archival is thin.

March 8, 2014 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Invictus tells the tale in the standard Hollywood way

August 26, 2011 Full Review Source: Cinemania

Is it schmaltzy? A little. Is it good anyway? Yes. It's not trying to reinvent the wheel but it understands what it is and that the best place to put its focus is not the rugby field.

March 27, 2011 Full Review Source:

Invictus hits all the right formula notes of both the biopic and the underdog sports movie, making it impossible to hate. He also hits those notes so insistently and with such a lack of grace that he makes it a difficult movie to like.

July 4, 2010 Full Review Source: DCist | Comment (1)

A narrative divide that never quite comes together, despite some truly uplifting moments. And seems unable to decide whether it wants to be a sports movie or a political biopic. Invictus: Or rather, 'I am the rugby captain of Mandela's soul.'

June 1, 2010 Full Review Source: NewsBlaze

Despite hewing fairly closely to the facts, has trouble seeming truthful. Practically everyone behaves like an allegorical symbol rather than a person, a problem the script anticipates and acknowledges but only feebly attempts to solve. [Blu-ray]

May 30, 2010 Full Review Source: Groucho Reviews
Groucho Reviews

... less a film than a memorial: handsome, stately, well-meaning and dramatically inert.

May 23, 2010 Full Review Source:

At its very essence a classically Hollywood, ultra-populist, inspirational underdog sports movie--and a well executed one at that.

May 16, 2010 Full Review Source:

This amalgamation of inspirational themes cuts a new notch on Eastwood's well-used viewfinder.

May 14, 2010 Full Review Source: Cinema Signals
Cinema Signals

...a polished, well-made, and unaffectedly inspiring motion picture about an inspiring individual and an inspiring victory.

May 9, 2010 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Not one of Eastwood's best, but at times the story is quite moving. And, you can't help but cherish the performance by Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela. Nicely done, Morgan. Paul Chambers, CNN.

March 27, 2010 Full Review Source: CNNRadio

Freeman's Mandela is deeply flawed, single-minded when it comes to his job, and has a way with one-liners. In short, he's an Eastwood hero.

March 19, 2010 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Weekly
Philadelphia Weekly

The half that's good involves watching Morgan Freeman hitting not only the cadences of Mandela's oratory but the Gandhi-like calm of the man.

March 12, 2010 Full Review Source: Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune

It's possibly Damon's most impressive major role to date.

February 5, 2010 Full Review Source: Film4

Invictus may be a rather cheesy way into the story of South Africa, but in the end you're glad it's there for a new generation to whom the words "Free Nelson Mandela" are history.

February 5, 2010 Full Review Source: Times [UK]
Times [UK]

A monolithic sporting saga that seems content to pose on the podium, lulled by the belief that its subject matter provides inspiration enough.

February 5, 2010 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

Invictus is undone by its own overindulgence, turning a unifying moment of celebration and clarity into an underwhelming piece of cinematic cliché.

February 5, 2010 | Comment (1)
Little White Lies

Freeman's performance is a fine tribute to Mandela, perfectly capturing his grin, posture and unbreakable upbeatness.

February 5, 2010 Full Review Source: Digital Spy
Digital Spy

As you'd expect from Eastwood and this cast, it's got quality written all over it.

February 5, 2010
Heat Magazine

Audience Reviews for Invictus

Sports movies usual have social/political redemption/justification as a subplot and Eastwood's entree here is no different, with racial equality thrown in on the side. You know the ending from the very first. And so its up to his leads to carry the weight of "its more than just a game" ballast, which Freeman and Damon admirably do w/o a problem. I learned a bit about rugby, and South Africa seems more of a welcoming place now, so its "mission accomplished!".
May 1, 2012

Super Reviewer

The true story of newly elected South African president Nelson Mandela making it his top priority to unite the nation thanks to a successful rugby team. Morgan Freedom is the obvious but perfect choice as Mandela and really turns into the politician, which is particularly difficult considering he is a contemporary celebrity many people are still familiar with. The film stays focused on the president, his ideals and small steps to get the white and black people of South African to overcome the years or resentment. So it's not until the second half that the movie follows the usual sports drama steps, but remains really well done. The sport scenes look realistic and well filmed, but for people unfamiliar with the game, the lack of commentary makes them look kind of arbitrary. That doesn't change the fact that the film is heading for a moving and satisfying climax. It's nice to see that sometimes history does make the right choices and people can change.
February 28, 2012

Super Reviewer

An admirably confident film from Mr. Clint Eastwood, Invictus is well-paced and brimming with convincing performances from the leads. Unfortunately, besides bringing Nelson Mandela's dramatic struggle to film, the pic failed to leave me with any other lasting impressions.
January 23, 2012
Kristijonas Fussman

Super Reviewer

Putting Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon, and director Clint Eastwood together in a sports film was a great idea, and it was successfully tackled in INVICTUS. Based on the book "Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Changed a Nation" by John Carlin, as well as the poem "Invictus" by William Ernest Henley, this film is truly brilliant, and it should have definitely won Morgan Freeman the Academy Award for Best Actor for his anyway-nominated role as Nelson Mandela. This praise is coming from someone who does not enjoy sports or sports films--remember that.
September 10, 2011

Super Reviewer

    1. Nelson Mandela: Forgiveness liberates the soul. It removes fear. That is why it is such a powerful weapon.
    – Submitted by Nusfish K (2 years ago)
    1. Nelson Mandela: You criticize without understanding. You seek only to address your own personal feelings. That is selfish thinking.
    – Submitted by Nusfish K (2 years ago)
    1. Nelson Mandela: Times change, we need to change as well.
    – Submitted by Nusfish K (2 years ago)
    1. Nelson Mandela: Forgiveness liberates the soul. It removes fear. That is why it is such a powerful weapon.
    – Submitted by Chad E (2 years ago)
    1. Francois Pienaar: I think he wants us to win the World Cup.
    – Submitted by Alejandro O (2 years ago)
    1. Nelson Mandela: The day I am afraid to do that is the day I am no longer fit to lead.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
View all quotes (7)

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Foreign Titles

  • Invictus - Unbezwungen (DE)
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