The Power of One (1992) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Power of One (1992)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

John G. Avildsen, director of Rocky and The Karate Kid, adapts Bryce Courtenay's compassionate novel about the coming of age of a white anti-apartheid activist during the years of World War II in South Africa. Avildsen cumbersomely grafts Courtenay's tale of fighting apartheid onto a Hollywood-style fight-for-the-championship bout. Seven-year-old P.K. (Guy Witcher) is a white South African raised on his family's farm by his Zulu nanny. When his mother takes ill, he is sent away to an Afrikaner boarding school, where he is picked on and nearly killed by the school bully during a pep rally for Hitler. P.K. survives and is sent to live with his grandfather. He befriends Doc (Armin Mueller-Stahl), a jailed German musician, and a black inmate (Morgan Freeman), who teaches P.K. how to use his fists for some quick boxing moves. At 12, P.K. (now played by Simon Fenton), witnesses black inmates being cruelly humiliated by their racist white jailers. Taking note of P.K.'s fluidity for languages, his black mentor spreads the word that P.K. is the incarnation of the mythic Rain Maker, a messianic liberator who is destined to unite all the African tribes. By the time he's 18 years old, P.K. (now played by Stephen Dorff) is becoming the Great White Hope for the black Africans, boxing his way into their hearts and minds. He joins up with an old boxing foe (Alois Moyo), who is now a township activist, and takes up the apartheid struggle. But things get confusing when P.K. falls in love with the daughter (Fay Masterson) of an apartheid leader.more
Rating: PG-13 (violence)
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Art House & International
Directed By:
Written By: Robert Mark Kamen
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 22, 1999
Warner Home Video


Stephen Dorff
as PK (age 18)
Morgan Freeman
as Geel Piet
John Gielgud
as Headmaster
Fay Masterson
as Maria Marais
Maria Marais
as Fay Masterson
Simon Fenton
as PK (age 12)
Guy Witcher
as PK (age 7)
Daniel Craig
as Sergeant Jaapie Both...
Alois Moyo
as Gideon Duma
Ian Roberts
as Hoppie Gruenwald
Marius Weyers
as Professor Daniel Mar...
Agatha Hurle
as Midwife
Nigel Ivy
as PK (as a newborn)
Brendan Deary
as PK (as an infant)
Winston Mangwarara
as Tonderai Infant
Bart Van Niekerk
as Lieutenant Smit
Cecil Zilla Mamanzi
as Ranch Foreman
John Turner
as Afrikaner Minister
Robbie Bulloch
as Jaapie Botha
Gordon Arnell
as Minister at Mother's...
Jeremiah Mnisi
as Dabula Manzi
Paul Tingay
as Grandfather
Michael Brunner
as Kommandant Van Zyl
Clive Russell
as Sergeant Bormann
Gart Van Niekerk
as Lieutenant Smit
Ed Beeten
as Prison Commissioner
Dominic Walker
as Morrie Guilbert
Robert Thomas Reed
as School Fight Opponen...
Roy Francis
as Referee
Clare Cobbold
as 1st Maria's Friend
Natalie Morse
as 2nd Maria's Friend
Simon Shumba
as Man Without Pass
Stan Leih
as 1st Van Cop
Robert Reed
as School Fight Opponen...
Rod Campbell
as 2nd Van Cop
Adam Fogerty
as Andreas Malan
Tony Denham
as Boxing Partner
Eric Nobbs
as 1st City Cop
Edward Jordan
as 2nd City Cop
Brian O'Shaughnessy
as Colonel Bretyn
Faith Edwards
as Miriam Sisulu
Raymond Barreto
as Indian Referee
Liz Ngwenya
as Nganga Ancient Woman
Andrew Whaley
as Ticket Taker
Akim Mwale
as Student
Joel Phiri
as Student
Peggy Moyo
as Student
David Khabo
as Student
David Guwaza
as Student
Christien Anholt
as Date at Dinner
Nigel Pegram
as 1st Man Guest
Reverend Peter Van V...
as Minister at Maria's ...
Marcia Coleman
as Woman Guest
Banele Dala Moyo
as Boy Who Reads
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Power of One

Critic Reviews for The Power of One

All Critics (18) | Top Critics (8)

Beautifully produced and gorgeously shot on location in Zimbabwe by lenser Dean Semler, picture has depth, dimension and first-rate casting.

Full Review… | May 20, 2008
Top Critic

Avildsen draws good performances from the three actors who play PK, as well as from the ever-reliable Freeman and Müller-Stahl, but subtlety is abandoned when he focuses on the ring and teen romance.

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

The film's facile treatment of racial issues may be enough to bring back the practice of throwing tomatoes at the screen.

Full Review… | August 30, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

A violent cartoon that trivializes apartheid. If there's any justice, the birds of loneliness will be circling the box office.

Full Review… | May 12, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

Though rife with worthy intentions and great notions, this populist safari manages to be both patronizing and manipulative.

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

It's resounding bunk, candied over with the lush music of Johnny Clegg and hyped to death by director John ("Rocky") Avildsen.

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

Audience Reviews for The Power of One

Another movie I had to watch in school about apartheid in South Africa. This is one of the best of the bunch, I think. It's exciting and dramatic and has a lot of good actors. If you want to see a movie on the subject, I'd recommend this one.

Aj V

Super Reviewer


Ladies and gentlemen, here is an example of a very rare type of film, a mediocre one. Truly mediocre, equal parts bad and good, one of the worst kind of movies to watch. Why are they so bad to watch? A good film, well, you enjoy it, and a bad film can be made fun of for a good laugh. But The Power of One has some great performances (Morgan Freeman, and a very young Daniel Craig), but the absolutely shoddy writing hurts it. The movie is decent up until the last 20 minutes in which (SLIGHT SPOILERS) a main character is killed in a borderline hilarious fashion (felt like it was part of a Monty Python skit, not a serious dramatic death). The last 20 minutes try to end the movie as quickly as it can, so the ending feels rushed and to top if all off, has NO closure to speak of. NONE. Don't recommend this one, only if you're desperate to watch Morgan Freeman or Daniel Craig.

Jacob Ethington
Jacob Ethington

Super Reviewer


Great movie...Good soundtrack...Nice ^_^

EightThirty .

Super Reviewer

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