Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom 2013

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(167) IMDb 7.1/10
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A chronicle of Nelson Mandela's life journey from his childhood in a rural village through to his inauguration as the first democratically elected president of South Africa.

Idris Elba,Naomie Harris
2 hours 26 minutes

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Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

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Product Details

Genres Documentary, Historical
Director Justin Chadwick
Starring Idris Elba, Naomie Harris
Supporting actors Terry Pheto
Studio Fox TV
BBFC rating Suitable for 12 years and over
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Andrew D Wright TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 3 Aug 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Mandela - Long Walk to Freedom (2013) directed by Justin Chadwick

A biopic that was more bio than pic. The great man’s life is of course inspiring enough without needing much drama added, but I was again reminded in watching this that real life is much messier than stories. Mandela’s story is already more mythologised than understood and this film didn’t really do much to add detail beyond the patina of saintliness the great man has. Whilst is showed the horror of apartheid, the Soweto massacre for example, grittily enough, it glossed over some of the more humanising elements of Mandela’s story.

Mandela was portrayed as a legend in his own life-time but the terrible misery of those days in prison, the hopelessness and the pain he must have suffered weren’t well conveyed. In their place we saw an almost inhumanly serene Mandela, being all Yoda and Buddhist-like, which of course he certainly became in later days, but his low points, his humanity, was lost in this portrayal. The fires of bitter experience which forged his ultimately pragmatic decision to focus on forgiveness and reconciliation and renounce the armed struggle were not well conveyed in this film, which was mostly about adding gloss to an already shiny memorial (it was rushed out within weeks of the announcement of the man's death.)

For my generation Mandela was a mysterious figure, glimpsed via the images on colourful posters of him at his 1960s trial until he quite literally walked to freedom in February 1990. I remember watching it on TV and being aware that this was the pavement of history landing loudly in front of my eyes.
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57 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Close Range. on 30 Nov 2013
Format: DVD
This much-awaited film has taken years to bring to screen. The makers decided that they would rather not make the film at all, if not done as accurately as possible. Years of painstaking research and attention to detail went into this movie before the cameras even started filming. Sets such as the Soweto street where the Mandela family lived, the Palace of Justice in Pretoria, and the maximum security jail on Robben Island, are so well made that it is difficult to believe that these were not shot on location. The film traces Mandela from boyhood, through to his inauguration as President, in May 1994. Unfortunately,some periods are glossed over while others are paid more attention. The strain on Mandela and his family is a thread that runs throughout.

The result is moving and beautifully rendered, but does not shy away from the horror of apartheid, as well as the flaws of Nelson Mandela himself. Due to the sometimes harrowing scenes, shot for the movie, or through use of actual news footage, this film is not always an easy one to experience. However uncomfortable the truth was, it forms a vital part of the story. We see verbal racial abuse in the streets, and later, brutality dealt to both Nelson and Winnie Mandela. It is interesting how each handles these abuses.

The film opens with valleys bathed in golden light, and there is much beauty throughout the long (2.5 hours) movie. The times are perfectly replicated, with clothing, cars, streets, and buildings all made very specific to the era being shown, right down to an old SA railways logo not seen for decades, in Johannesburg station. Idris Elba and Naomie Harris are spot-on as Nelson and Winnie. Despite not being South Africans, they do not put a foot wrong.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By rbmusicman TOP 100 REVIEWER on 2 May 2014
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
The film is faithfully adapted from 'Nelson Mandela's' account of his experiences.
The story takes us from his childhood into manhood, tells of his loves and failed
early marriage, and on to his romance and marriage to 'Winnie'
Still a young man he becomes interested in 'Civil-Rights' movement A.N.C. his
life up to that point, as was the case with the majority of 'Native' South Africans,
was as a second-class-citizen under the rule of a 'White' Government who
enforced 'Aparthied'
He soon became seen as a leading figure in the movement and was seen as a
threat to the ruling authorities.
Following a campaign of disruptive activity 'Nelson' along with several other members
of the movement were sought, captured and brought to trial.
The sentence could easily have been 'death' however probably because of world
opinion, and not wishing to have the prisoners seen as Martyrs they were condemned
to life imprisonment.
They were taken to 'Robben island' in 1964 and had to tolerate inhuman living conditions,
hard labour, and abuse at first from the guards.
It was never intended that the prisoners would ever be released, however after 18 years
they were moved to a prison on the mainland where, conditions were a little better.
World-Wide opinion couple with trade sanctions eventually persuaded the government
of South Africa to reappraise the situation.
'Nelson Mandela' had served some 27 years of imprisonment, now the authorities were
talking to him.
Although he had many bitter thoughts and memories, 'Nelson Mandela' knew he would
have to approach the future with caution and send out a message of conciliation.
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