Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013) - Rotten Tomatoes

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013)



Critic Consensus: It might be too respectful to truly soar, but there's no denying Idris Elba's impressive work in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom -- or the inspirational power of the life it depicts.

Movie Info

MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM is based on South African President Nelson Mandela's autobiography of the same name, which chronicles his early life, coming of age, education and 27 years in prison before becoming President and working to rebuild the country's once segregated society. Idris Elba (PROMETHEUS) stars as Nelson Mandela with Justin Chadwick (THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL) directing. (c) Weinsteinmore
Rating: PG-13 (for some intense sequences of violence and disturbing images, sexual content and brief strong language)
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: William Nicholson
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 18, 2014
The Weinstein Co. - Official Site


Idris Elba
as Nelson Mandela
Naomie Harris
as Winnie Mandela
Tony Kgoroge
as Walter Sisulu
Riaad Moosa
as Ahmed Kathrada
Jamie Bartlett
as James Gregory
Lindiwe Matshikiza
as Zindzi Mandela
Deon Lotz
as Kobie Coetzee
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Critic Reviews for Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

All Critics (123) | Top Critics (31)

Long Walk to Freedom is a solidly crafted drama and a timely reminder of Mandela's achievements. The younger generation and those who haven't read the autobiography may find it fascinating.

Full Review… | May 17, 2016
New Zealand Herald

No matter how savvy the screenwriter, it's hard to adapt a 600-page autobiography to the silver screen.

Full Review… | August 18, 2014
Under the Radar

This Justin Chadwick biopic offers no surprises in technique or script (by William Nicholson) but is nevertheless a notch above average.

Full Review… | May 23, 2014
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

This film is only superficially illuminating, briefly informative; the drama is only mildly engaging, the imprisonment distantly horrific. It insists upon keeping us at an arm's length for its not inconsiderable running time.

Full Review… | February 28, 2014
Concrete Playground

A potent mix of uplift and corn.

Full Review… | February 21, 2014

It works... kind of. If you were new to the Nelson Mandela story and were looking for a neat summary of his upbringing, his struggles and his achievements, you'll find it here.

Full Review… | February 14, 2014
ABC Radio Brisbane

Audience Reviews for Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

four stars

MisterYoda ?

Super Reviewer

A deeply moving, very emotional and extremely powerful motion picture. An unforgettable and extraordinary movie that is packed with great character development, passion, heart and emotion all in a thrilling true story. It's a bold and unapologetic history lesson that digs deep and shows us things we were not aware of and make you respect Mandela more, and see more of his inner and political struggle. Idris Elba is absolutely magnificent, he gives one of the best performances of his career and truly one of the best performances by a male lead in 2013. Naomie Harris gives a remarkable and riveting performance, she truly shines in this role. Harris and Elba give fantastic dedication to their roles. A breathtaking triumph. A movie that is gorgeously crafted and also shakes and moves you.

Al S

Super Reviewer

It is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.

Very Good Film! A powerful movie, that shows a man more passionate about equality and human rights than his own well being, and sadly at the detriment of his own family. This is a balanced portrayal of multi-layered characters. Mandela is represented with great respect but he is not offered to us as a saint. He treats his first wife unkindly and his support for violence is not disguised. The film really impresses with its representation of Winnie, a woman who suffered so much, hated so much, and herself caused so much injustice. Mandela is now dead but his great project - the creation of a peaceful and prosperous multiracial nation - is still a work in progress. This biographical film of Mandela's life, which premiered on the day he died, has undeniable good points and bad points, and sometimes they are the same thing. Its main problem is one which is common with this sort of movie: it is so aware that it is telling an important story that it sometimes forgets that it is supposed to engage its audience at the same time: it is earnest and worthy, but not always entertaining. Idris Elba does a good Mandela voice and conveys charisma, particularly as the young and vital Mandela: he is perhaps a little too physically imposing. Naomie Harris was Winnie Mandela is stunningly good. Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is a solidly made, but safe film. There are excellent moments in the second half of the film as South Africa implodes with violence, but it is a very safe film that tries to fit too much in its running time. It is a film that can easily appeal to a middle -aged, mainstream audience.

Nelson Mandela is a South African lawyer who joins the African National Congress in the 1940s when the law under the Apartheid system's brutal tyranny proves useless for his people. Forced to abandon peaceful protest for armed resistance after the Sharpeville Massacre, Mandela pays the price when he and his comrades are sentenced to life imprisonment for treason while his wife, Winnie, is abused by the authorities herself. Over the decades in chains, Mandela's spirit is unbowed as his struggle goes on in and beyond his captivity to become an international cause. However, as Winnie's determination hardens over the years into a violent ruthlessness, Nelson's own stature rises until he becomes the renowned leader of his movement. That status would be put to the test as his release nears and a way must be found to win a peaceful victory that will leave his country, and all its peoples, unstained.

Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom Quotes

Nelson Mandela: People learn to hate. They are taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart.
– Submitted by Nick F (2 years ago)

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