Cry Freedom

Cry Freedom

4.8 7
Director: Richard Attenborough

Cast: Kevin Kline, Penelope Wilton, Denzel Washington


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Richard 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… See more details below


Richard 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.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Karl Williams
Actor and director Richard Attenborough attempted to recreate the phenomenal success of his multiple Oscar-winning Gandhi (1982) with another socially conscious drama, Cry Freedom (1987). The film reunited many behind-the-scenes players from Gandhi, including the same writer, cinematographer, costume designer, and composer. Cry Freedom also mimicked the style and many of the liberal themes of Attenborough's earlier film. Despite these elements, a positive critical reception, and the fact that South African apartheid was an explosive geopolitical issue of the late eighties, Cry Freedom failed to repeat the box office triumph of Gandhi. The filmmakers' decision to make real-life white journalist Don Woods (played in the film by Kevin Kline) the main character, reducing to a supporting role the more historically important figure of anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko (played by Denzel Washington), created some controversy and may have kept audiences away. Nevertheless, Washington received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Biko. The actor went on to win in the same category two years later for Glory (1989).

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Universal Studios
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby Digital Surround]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Production notes; Cast and filmmakers bios; Film highlights; Theatrical trailer; Web links

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Kevin Kline Donald Woods
Penelope Wilton Wendy Woods
Denzel Washington Stephen Biko
Kevin McNally Ken
Timothy West Capt. de Wet
Juanita Waterman Juanita/Ntsiki Biko
John Hargreaves Bruce
Alec McCowen Acting High Commissioner
Zakes Mokae Father Kani
Ian Richardson State Prosecutor
Josette Simon Dr. Ramphele
Miles Anderson Lemick
Tommy Buson Tami
Jim Findley Peter Jones
Kate Hardie Jane Woods
Alton Kumalo Speaker
Louis Mahoney Lesotho Government Official
Mawa Makondo Jason
Joseph Marcell Moses
Sophie Mgcina Evalina
John Paul Wendy's Stepfather
Wabei Slyolwe Tenjy
Gwen Watford Wendy's Mother
Andrew McCulloch Policeman Nel
Graham Fletcher-Cook Nel's Partner
Tony Vogel Roadblock Policeman
James Aubrey Passport Control Officer
Judy Cornwell Receptionist
Nick Tate Ritchie
James Young von Coine Actor
David Guwaza Prisoner
Russell Keith Hurst Security Guard
Robert McNamara Security Policeman
Nocebo Miambo Aunt
Lawrence Simnbrashe Informer
Buddy Uzzaman Mortician's Assistant
Walter Matemavi Nephew
John Matshikiza Mapetla
Xoliswa Sithole Nurse at Clinic
Albert Ndinda Alec
Andrew Whaley Sub-Editor
Shelley Borkum Woods's Receptionist
Graeme Taylor Dillon Woods
Adam Stuart Walker Duncan Woods
Hamish Stuart Walker Gavin Woods
Spring Stuart Walker Mary Woods
Patricia Gumede Shebeen Queen
Angela Gavaza Shebeen Queen's Niece
Clement Muchachi Father
Ruth Chinamando Mother
Basil Chidyamathamba Brother-in-Law
Marcy Mushore Niece
Carl Chase Policeman
Tichatonga Mazhindu Dilima
Neil McPherson Lemick's Assistant
Hepburn Graham Soga
Claude Maredza Rugby Player
Carlton Chance Rugby Player
Glen Murphy Security Guard
Munyaradzi Kanaventi Samora Biko
George Lovell Nkosinathi Biko
Karen Drury Young Secretary
Niven Boyd Roadblock Policeman
Christopher Hurst Roadblock Policeman
Gerald Sim Police Doctor
Peter Cartwright Senior Police Officer
Gary Whelan Police Sergeant
Dudley Dickin Nationalist Party Delegate
David Trevena Mortician
Robert Phillips Speaker at Funeral
Fishoo Tembo Biko's Brother
Peggy Marsh "Helen Suzman"
Julian Glover Don Card
Philip Bretherton Maj. Boshoff
Paul Hertzberg Beukes
Hans Sittig Security Policeman
Kimpton Mativenga Black Security Policeman
David Henry Afrikaner Farmer
Michael Turner Judge Boshoff
Kalie Hanekom Magistrate Prins
Paul Jerricho Sgt. Louw
Star Ncube Prisoner
Hilary Minster Passport Control Officer
Peter Cary White Frontier Policeman
Dominic Kanaventi Black Frontier Policeman
Sam Mathambo Lesotho Passport Officer
Walter Muparutsa Lesotho Businessman
Michael Graham Cox Passport Control Officer
John Hartley Passport Control Officer
Simon Shumba Young Lesotho Official
Garick Hagon McElrea
Marilyn Poole Acting High Commissioner's Wife
William Marlowe Police Captain at Soweto
Gwyneth Strong Girl at Funeral
John Thaw Kruger

Technical Credits
Richard Attenborough Director,Producer
Jonathan Bates Sound/Sound Designer
Peter Brace Stunts
John Briley Co-producer,Screenwriter
Terence A. Clegg Executive Producer
Stuart Craig Production Designer
Norman Dorme Art Director
George Fenton Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Susie Figgis Casting
Jonas Gwangwa Score Composer
David Harris Special Effects
Allan James Production Manager
Simon Kaye Sound/Sound Designer
John King Art Director
Gary Levy Production Manager
John Mollo Costumes/Costume Designer
George Richardson Art Director
Wally Schneiderman Makeup
Michael Seirton Set Decoration/Design
Norman Spencer Co-producer
Ronnie Taylor Cinematographer
David Tomblin Asst. Director
Lesley Walker Editor
Andrew Whaley Casting
Wendy Woods Consultant/advisor
Donald Woods Consultant/advisor

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Chapter List
1. Main Titles [4:45]
2. A Government Raid [:06]
3. An Honest Newsman [3:53]
4. Biko [4:13]
5. Real Black News [8:02]
6. Police Action [8:43]
7. The Intruders [8:25]
8. Captured [4:01]
9. The Martyr [4:49]
10. Threats [5:59]
11. A Banned Person [8:37]
12. The Last Straw [1:29]
13. Preparing To Go [6:31]
14. New Year's Eve [1:49]
15. Getting Across [4:16]
16. The Phone Call [6:26]
17. Welcome To Exile [2:39]
18. Epilogue/Titles [1:18]

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