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Goodbye Bafana Photos

Movie Info

In the late 1960s, the white South African government imprisons many black militant leaders, including Nelson Mandela (Dennis Haysbert), in a maximum-security prison in Cape Town. White guard James Gregory (Joseph Fiennes) is placed in charge of Mandela's ward because he can speak the Xhosa language and monitor the prisoners' communications. Over the course of Mandela's long imprisonment, his quiet leadership causes Gregory to rethink his previous racist views.

Cast & Crew

Joseph Fiennes
James Gregory
Dennis Haysbert
Nelson Mandela
Diane Kruger
Gloria Gregory
Faith Ndukwana
Winnie Mandela
Terry Pheto
Zindzi Mandela
Zingi Mtuzula
Raymond Mhlaba
Jessica Manuel
Natasha Gregory
Tyrone Keogh
Brent Gregory
Greg Latter
Screenwriter
Bille August
Screenwriter
Robert Fraisse
Cinematographer
Dario Marianelli
Original Music
Tom Hannam
Production Designer
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News & Interviews for Goodbye Bafana

Critic Reviews for Goodbye Bafana

All Critics (18) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (8) | Rotten (10)

Audience Reviews for Goodbye Bafana

  • Jan 18, 2013
    I dont have much words to say than THANK YOU for this Movie!
    NaWie M Super Reviewer
  • Aug 12, 2008
    I wonder why this film has been left in the dark. Joseph Fiennes and Diane Kruger are considered to be a good cast, and everyone is usually interested in prison captivity stories. The problem is that it takes a little long time to kick in the story, and the whole thing is a little overlong for it's slow pace. However, Goodbye Bafana delivers for it's cause, and shows how a coldblooded racist can even change his ideals when opposed to a powerful truth.
    Raja N Super Reviewer
  • Jan 02, 2008
    Adapted from the highly controversial book by former South African prison officer James Gregory, <i>Goodbye Bafana</i> tells the story of the relationship between Gregory (Fiennes) and inmate Nelson Mandela (Haysbert) over the course of 21 years. First on Robben Island and later in Pollsmoor and Victor Verster prisons. Mandela's official biographer claimed that Gregory's (who died in 2003) account of his friendship with Mandela was false and that the two rarely spoke, with Gregory using his position as prison letters censor to gain insight into the future president's life. Whatever the accuracy of what you're watching, <i>Goodbye Bafana</i>, while certainly not brilliant, is compelling from start to finish. <a href="http://s172.photobucket.com/albums/w25/EarthlyAlien/?action=view¤t=5768.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i172.photobucket.com/albums/w25/EarthlyAlien/5768.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a> It begins in 1968 with the career-minded Gregory arriving on Robben Island with his wife Gloria (Kruger) and their two children. Having grown up on a farm, Gregory learned to speak the language Xhosa as a boy, while playing with his best friend Bafana, and because of this is put in charge of censoring the prison letters and visits of Nelson Mandela and the other imprisoned leaders of the African National Congress. Told that he is on the fast-track to a great career in the prison service, Gregory initially takes to his post with great zeal, dehumanising the inmates and their families and telephoning the secret service if he thinks any information is relevant. When his daughter sees a black woman being beaten in Cape Town and separated from her child because she doesn't have a pass, Gregory tells her that the police officer was just doing his job and that the Apartheid system is just "God's way". But the longer Gregory spends reading the inmates' letters and watching them maintain their dignity amidst terrible conditions, the more he begins to question the political system in his country and his role in prolonging it. And he comes to realise that not at all the prisoners on Robben Island are black and behind bars. Following on from the recent release of <i>Catch a Fire</i>, Danish director Bille August's film provides more fascinating insights into life during Apartheid and deftly blends the personal and political. He manages to maintain our interest throughout the entire 140-minute runtime, despite the frequent changes of time period. The sun drenched, dusty photography brilliantly evokes the sense of time and place, contrasting sharply with our preconceived images of Mandela's captivity. With Dennis Haysbert essentially playing a supporting role, Joseph Fiennes manages to portray the journey of a country through the experiences of one man. In every incarnation - be it racist, objector or friend. This is by far his best role since <i>Shakespeare In Love</i> - which is an absolute shame - and he delivers an impressive performance, nailing the South African accent and believably conveying Gregory's gradual conversion to Mandela's anti-Apartheid cause. Haysbert, while lacking screen time, is also superb, lending Mandela the same sort of intelligence and dignity that he displayed as president Palmer on "24". His eminent physical presence provides an intriguing contrast to his calmly measured speech - it's a performance that radiates both compassion and intelligence. In addition, there's strong support from Diane Kruger who, although playing her most unsympathetic character to date, delivers a fine performance and continues to prove herself as one of the most versatile and international actresses working today, being able to speak perfect English, German, and French. Leaving aside the question marks over Gregory's book, August does an excellent job at capturing the fear, paranoia and brutality of the era. From the breaking of rocks on Robben Island to the beating of women and the planting of car bombs, he doesn't flinch from depicting the everyday realities and the questions and beliefs of both sides. The film is at its strongest during the exchanges between Gregory and Mandela but there are too few of them and they ultimately deprive proceedings of the weighty emotional tone that would be expected. That said, <i>Goodbye Bafana</i> is still worthy for its anti-racism and pro-tolerance message and its glimpse - even if subtle - at one of modern history's most important figures, while also offering a moving portrait of a difficult friendship that helped to change the course of history of a nation. Recommended, especially for anyone who's minimally interested in history.
    Pedro P Super Reviewer
  • Nov 09, 2007
    finnes is good as prison chief in charge of nelson mandela, and the president from 24 as the man, good casting, and a interesting look at a very political time in south africas history, probely not a acurate acount of the events, but seeing as mandela isnt done a great deal in film, worth checking out,
    scott g Super Reviewer

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