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Cry Freedom [VHS] [1987]


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Product details

  • Actors: Denzel Washington, Kevin Kline, Josette Simon, Wabei Siyolwe, John Matshikiza
  • Directors: Richard Attenborough
  • Writers: John Briley, Donald Woods
  • Producers: Richard Attenborough, John Briley, Norman Spencer, Terence A. Clegg
  • Language: English, German
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: 4 Front
  • VHS Release Date: 1 July 1999
  • Run Time: 151 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004R67A
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 183,540 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

The story of Steven Biko, a South African black activist, and his friendship with white journalist Donald Woods. When Biko (Denzel Washington) is killed, Woods (Kevin Kline) mounts an investigation into his death. Harassed by the South African government as a result, Woods is placed under house arrest. He manages to escape and risks his life in order to bring the true story of Biko's death to the world.

From Amazon.co.uk

Sir Richard Attenborough (Gandhi) directs this semi-successful drama about the relationship between South African black activist Steven Biko and a sympathetic newspaper editor (Kevin Kline). Attenborough's typical sweep of the life and times of Biko is particularly rewarding in the first half of the film, but once the leader comes to his untimely end at the hands of white police, the story shifts entirely to Kline's character and the latter's efforts to escape the country with his family. That change is a tactical error in the script that robs the film of its initial power and makes the arguably unfortunate choice of emphasizing the destiny of a white character when Biko himself deserved an entire feature for his story and causes. --Tom Keogh --This text refers to the DVD edition.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 58 people found the following review helpful By siege_b on 29 Mar 2001
Format: VHS Tape
This is a very powerful film, based on a very powerful book, that will leave you asking the tough questions about governments and racial relationships. Kevin Kline plays Donald Woods, the editor who indergoes a change of opinion and a change of character (from someone who thinks they believe in what's right, to someone who's willing to act on what he knows is right) and Denzel Washington never looks less than dignified as the great activist Steve Biko. The death of Biko, and Woods' escape from South Africa are just two of the images that will stay with you long after watching the movie, and the acting is so superb it is easy to forget that these are two American actors with affected accents. See it. It will do you good.
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54 of 57 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 31 Oct 2005
Format: DVD
I have never provided reviews for films or CDs or any other service. However for this film, I will make an exception because it's deserving of it. In short, this film made me cry each of the two times I have watched it. This isn't meant to be especially unique even for a guy, but I questioned and in fact feared whether the film would have the same impact on me the second time I watched it and amazingly it did. Thing is, the film simply reaches a climax at the very end that will be very hard for anyone not to be touched by. It's a great story about 1 man's bravery and fight for justice. Clearly we know of another more prominent figure in South Africa who showed all these qualities including great leadership, but Biko had these too. Fantastic performance by Kevin Klein and Denzel Washington. I wish there had been more about the life of Stephen Biko.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 Jun 2005
Format: DVD
This is an excellent and important film about fighting the despicable prejudice of the apartheid regime in South Africa. At the time it was made there was a little bit of criticism that Attenborough had chosen to focus on the white character, Donald Woods, rather than the black character Steve Biko. This was missplaced. His film is about the need for liberal-minded people to ask themselves whether they are doing enough to combat tyranny. It traces the personal journey of Woods from the position of priviliged liberal to a more advanced and outspoken oppositon to the South African government. Besides, it would be untrue to claim that the black characters are not fully developed here. We get a clear sense of where Biko is coming from and why his struggle was so important. Obviously the film is a militant film, but what's wrong with that, when what you're militating against is something so blatantly unjust as apartheid? The film is well-made, well-written and a moving experience. You also get a glimpse of the physical beauty of that part of the world, even though the film was actually shot in Zimbabwe.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Klaatu83 on 12 July 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Rubbish copy of what is a decent film.
Tiny little letterbox picture that doesn't seem to transfer to any screen size very well, plus the audio is strange - seems to be a badly dubbed audio track that is slightly out of sync which is very distracting.
Hopefully there will be a blu-ray soon because the quality of this DVD is very poor.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David542 on 17 May 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Basically, this is a great film, very underrated. However, viewing pleasure is somewhat spoiled by the letter box format. I really can't understand how the makers of this DVD could imagine this format would do it justice. Disappointing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R.M.GARRATT on 29 Nov 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Would Steve Biko have preferred a black South African to have written this book? I don't know. But it was given to Donald Woods to write it as he was there. It is an important book as a record of a part of Biko's life, and takes its place in history, though there is much more to Biko than this. It is also important as one (white) journalist's experience of Apartheid, though there is more to be said about that also.
The movie is well worth watching, though it is perhaps a little too glib at times. No a 'great', maybe, but worth its place on your shelf.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Briony Holyoake on 14 Oct 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A purchase in remembrance of Lord Attenborough, Richard, who died during 2014.
His body of work is truly stunning.
This film stands up in 2014, an epic, and depiction of those times of Apartheid.
Still very much relevant today, thought provoking.
The acting is top notch, the direction and cinematic quality, too.
Educational, and inspiring.
I have seen the film before, this is a film to be watched again and again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John on 16 Jan 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I remembered seeing it at the cinema years ago, and it moved me, thought it was worth buying, but it proved not as good as I remembered it. My fault,
John.
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