Power Of One

Power Of One

4.2 17
Director: John G. Avildsen

Cast: John G. Avildsen, Stephen Dorff, Morgan Freeman, Armin Mueller-Stahl

     
 

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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.See more details below

Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
The late '80s and early '90s saw numerous stories of Afrikaner atrocities hit the big screen -- so many, in fact, that it became a challenge to differentiate between them. With John G. Avildsen at the helm, The Power of One should be easy to remember as "the boxing one." Truth be told, though, pugilism is only a small part of this sprawling story of early apartheid, as the director of such crowd pleasers as Rocky and The Karate Kid evolves into an artist equal to the epic sweep of tragedy and history. Avildsen and screenwriter Robert Mark Kamen, his Karate Kid collaborator, send the viewer on the same journey of lost innocence the protagonist endures, following the young P.K. (Guy Witcher) from the point of his earliest childhood traumas, and making him easily relatable. Set against the African plains (lushly shot by Dean Semler), this section establishes the tensions not only between Afrikaners and blacks, but Afrikaners and the English, which contextualize many of the events that follow. The young Witcher's narration hits a disarmingly matter-of-fact tone. The actors chosen to play P.K. at his next two ages can't quite match the child actor's presence, though Stephen Dorff, often cast as a rascal, is plenty charming here. With the help of some choice supporting performances (Daniel Craig as a vicious Afrikaner officer, Morgan Freeman as a saintly prisoner), The Power of One tells a rousing story of struggles against injustice -- compromised only slightly by the fact that it's not based on actual events. It's got some decent boxing scenes as well, but they're secondary to the larger themes Avildsen brings to the screen in his most mature effort. Too bad he couldn't build on it -- he relapsed to a small-time bull-riding movie, 8 Seconds, as his next project.

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Product Details

Release Date:
03/08/2012
UPC:
0883316397299
Original Release:
1992
Rating:
PG13
Source:
Warner Archives
Time:
2:07:00

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Stephen Dorff P.K. at age 18
Morgan Freeman Geel Piet
Armin Mueller-Stahl Doc
John Gielgud Headmaster St. John
Maria Marais Fay Masterson
Simon Fenton P.K. Age 12
Guy Witcher P.K. Age 7
Daniel Craig Sgt. Jaape Botha
Alois Moyo Gideon Duma
Ian Roberts Hoppie Gruenwald
Marius Weyers Professor Daniel Marais
Raymond Barreto Indian Referee
David Guwaza Student
Caro Jones Actor
Banele Dala Moyo Boy Who Reads
Lungani Sibanda Student
Bart Van Niekerk Lieutenant Smit
Reverend Peter Van Vuuren Minister at Maria's Funeral
Nomadlozi Zubheka Nanny
Agatha Hurle Midwife
Nigel Ivy P.K. Newborn
Tracy Brooks Swope Mother
Brendan Deary P.K. Infant
Winston Mangwarara Tonderai Infant
Tonderai Masenda Tonderai
Cecil Zilla Mamanzi Ranch Foreman
John Turner Afrikaner Minister
Robbie Bulloch Jaapie Bother
Gordon Arnell Minister at Mother's Funeral
Jeremiah Mnisi Dabula Manzi
Paul Tingay Grandfather
Hywel Williams Captain
Michael Brunner Kommandant Van Zyl
Clive Russell Sgt. Bormann
Winston Ntshona Mlungisi
Ed Beeten Prison Commissioner
Dominic Walker Morrie Guilbert
Robert Reed School Fight Opponent
Fay Masterson Maria Marais
Roy Francis Referee
Clare Cobbold 1st Maria's Friend
Natalie Morse 2nd Maria's Friend
John Osborne Guard
Simon Shumba Man Without Pass
Stan Leih 1st Van Cop
Rod Campbell 2nd Van Cop
Adam Fogerty Andreas Malan
Tony Denham Boxing Partner
Eric Nobbs 1st City Cop
Edward Jordan 2nd City Cop
Brian O'Shaughnessy Colonel Bretyn
Faith Edwards Miriam Sisulu
Liz Ngwenya Nganga Ancient Woman
Andrew Whaley Ticket Taker
Dominic Makuwachuma Joshua
Joel Phiri Student
Peggy Moyo Student
David Khabo Student
Robin Annison Anita
Christien Anholt Date at Dinner
Nigel Pegram 1st Man Guest
Jon Cartwright Jacob
Marcia Coleman Woman Guest

Technical Credits
John G. Avildsen Director,Editor
David Barkham Production Designer
Karen Brookes Set Decoration/Design
Graham Burke Executive Producer
Roy Button Producer
Johnny Clegg Songwriter
Gregory Coote Executive Producer
Roger Hall Production Designer
Martin Hitchcock Art Director
Caro Jones Casting
Robert Mark Kamen Screenwriter
Arnon Milchan Producer
Kevin Phipps Art Director
Tom Rand Costumes/Costume Designer
Steven E. Reuther Executive Producer
Dean Semler Cinematographer
Leslie Tomkins Production Designer
Clive Winter Sound/Sound Designer
Hans Zimmer Score Composer

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Power of One
1. Chapter 1 [10:00]
2. Chapter 2 [10:00]
3. Chapter 3 [10:00]
4. Chapter 4 [10:00]
5. Chapter 5 [10:00]
6. Chapter 6 [10:00]
7. Chapter 7 [7:11]
8. Chapter 8 [2:48]
9. Chapter 9 [10:00]
10. Chapter 10 [10:00]
11. Chapter 11 [10:00]
12. Chapter 12 [10:00]
13. Chapter 13 [10:00]
14. Chapter 14 [6:59]

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