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4.5 out of 5 stars55
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 7 August 2007
I have to confess, I had some trepidation before going to see this film - on paper, I thought it had the potential to be a little dry - the memoires of one of Nelson Mandela's prison guards... I can only say that Joseph Fiennes probably betters his brother's performance in The Constant Gardener in this film, and with the exception of some slightly suspect wigs towards the end Dennis Haysbert is quietly powerful in his portrayal of the incarcerated Nelson Mandela. The story works well at identifying common ground the white guard and his charge share, without being overly sentimental or soppy - there is a strong sense of mutual respect and honour that permeates this film, which is entirely as you'd expect given the reason for the story. The supporting actors do a fine job and the film ticks along at a well-timed pace - at no point did I feel the director was playing for time whilst equally not rushing the transformation of prison warder James Gregory's staunch anti-integrationist opinions into a close friend and occasional accomplice to Mandela. Definitely up there with the recent batch of Africa-based stories like Shooting Dogs, Hotel Rwanda and the Last King of Scotland.
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on 27 June 2013
If you read from this link:

you will find that much if not nearly all of what is written about W/O Gregory in the book upon which this film is based is fabricated or exaggerated according to former prison colleagues and Mandela himself, whether this is due to the writer changing Gregory's answers or Gregory himself is unknown, but the book, and subsequently this film, although very good, cannot be believed as true. This film is a very good film, but based on more fiction than fact because of the book, which after enjoying the film so much, I was obviously disappointed to find out that it is nearly all exaggerated or changed to make W/O Gregory look like the centre of attention and it is saddening to learn the apparent truth. Read from the provided link! it tells you all you need to know about the book, this film and the truth about Madiba's warders.

For a book adaptation, it is very good, but it falls down because of the book and its apparent exaggerations and possible fabrications.
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on 11 June 2011
What we see in this film is the affect Mandela had on all types of people, in this case a white man who was his guard in different ways over many years who was forced to hate the South African blacks and believe that the Apartheid was right, good and even approved by God! However deep inside he was torn simply because his best friend, when he was a child, was black. By playing with his friend he learnt one of the black languages, which is how he became Mandela's guard in the first place.
Despite this film being a true story which in my opinion always makes films greater, I didn't think this film was a great film because it doesn't reveal much about Mandela's personality, but it is good. I would definately recommend it because it inspired me. Thanks to this film I found out about the South African Freedom Charter.
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on 18 November 2007
It is probably hard to entice an audience with subject matter that may now seem outdated to some. However this is a healthy reminder of the brutality of the Apartheid regime in South Africa and the courage of Mandela and his followers. The mellowing of his prison officer, Warrant Office Gregory, was sensitively portrayed.

Haysbert's attempt at replicating Mandela's accent was hugely impressive. Unfortunately, Feinnes' Sud Afrikan accent was so good I could hardly understand what he was saying.

Fabulous performances from the entire cast. The period pieces had an authentic feel. This well directed film deserves our attention.
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This film was a complete surprise (a pleasant one). We expected a 'young man overcomes adversity' movie with a feel-good finish, and what we got was an unexpectedly thoughtful and philosophical film, one which chipped away at our hardworn cynicism in ways we had not expected.
Before you run away screaming, I should also say that this isn't slushy, sentimental Hollywood nonsense. Nor is it set in a fantasyland, populated with too-good-to-be-true sterotypes. It is obviously a blend of fiction and real events; a parable for a sequence of events which took place in Dan Millman's life and which changed his world view and his personal development. It mixes plenty of familiar movie scenarios (think Karate Kid meets Luke and Yoda), against a backdrop of testosterone-charged athletic life in training for the Olympic gymnastic team. And some of the filming of the gymnasts in action is simply stunning...

Downsides? Some of the points are laboured a little and the film is probably 20 minutes overlength. A subtle editor could have trimmed it and given it a fair bit more punch. Oh, and the motorcycle riding sequences are risible -- but no worse than in any mainstream movie and they play an important role in the plot. The actor who plays Dan Millman is to be applauded for his athleticism, although occasionally he comes over as spoiled brat more than 'heroically battling adversity'.
Upside? Despite an initial misgiving that we'd somehow been suckered into watching a 'religious' movie, we thoroughly enjoyed the film's overall message, which mixes Zen and Buddhist concepts with modern personal development and achievement. And it works just fine as a family film, too (no violence, no bad language, a positive moral outcome), so even if you don't hold with the philosophy being delivered it should be an enjoyable experience.
In fact, the journey was as interesting as the destination...
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on 25 October 2007
I saw this at the cinema last night and will buy the DVD to give to my in laws who were living in SA at the time. I found it a well acted, sensitive portrayal of a complex situation. I'm not clear how much artistic licence was taken with the story. I like the idea that Nelson Mandela fought his jailer with 'sticks' (and won). If you've not seen this already - go for it!
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After watching Edris Elba in mandella it's interesting in seeing more about the great man himself I came across goodbye bafana by accident and bought it straight away.
The story is fantastic it is based on the gaurd that looked after Nelson Mandela whilst he was in prison and theyer friendship this gave a different perspective to this great story.
I thoroughly enjoyed the film and would recommend it.
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on 23 February 2008
Goodbye Bafana unfolds an unpleasant, but important piece of South African history, the apartheid phase. The cinemagraphy and the calibre of acting are of the highest standard, which really enhances the movie realism. The historical accuracy is always questioned, but no doubts emerge about this, as it is truly accounted as the movie unfolds. Otherwise, it is a history forgery which is not case, as facts are presented about what happened to the characters featured. This enhances historical accuracy of the movie and eliminates casting doubts.

The movie recaptures a historical journey of South Africa in the late 60's to early 90's during the time Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years and the eventual release of him in society. During the imprisonment, he developed a special bonding with an Afrikaner who's went lot of trouble to assist him, but landed in trouble with authorities. This moment represents one of the most pivotal and emotional phase of the movie. His perspective and vision of life altered considerably. Following Nelson Mandela lengthy prison sentence, he became the president and promoted a new South Africa.

What we learn from the movie is about how cruel human beings can really be and for what motives? We should live in a civilised society, where everyone is equal. Unfortunately, this did not happen for a considerable time in South Africa and as a consequence sanctions were imposed. South Africa subsequently banned from international sports events, as result of their national policies. In Goodbye Bafana, the true spirit of humanity is deeply questioned here.

Goodbye Bafana is a great historical movie, to learn a few important issues presented in humanity . It is ideally suited for those, who express a strong interest in history and keen to learn further.
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on 16 December 2012
This film is a must , Totaly superb film ,Couldnt fault the casting or the script,I found myself gradually feeling empathy for the struggle against apartheid in south Africa and it gives great insight into an amazing individual.Fiennes was superb as usual and the unknown quantity that is Dennis Haysbert pulled off the role to a tee,he captured the very essence of Mandella from the loving father to the charismatic leader of the ANC .well done to the director as he has taken a chance on this film by casting an unknown in a lead role , this should be the benchmark for directors across the globe as time has proven that you dont need big names to make good films. buy this now ,its so cheap you can toss it away if you dont like it and if you did then comment and spread the good word.
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VINE VOICEon 16 February 2008
This movie brought back so many memories for me while at the same time opening my eyes to the horrors I was lucky enough not to be subjected to. My parents went to work in Transkei in the early 80's which is where I was born and raised. Seeing this movie reminded me just why he is such a great man.
I must confess that the bits in Xhosa didn't sound at all like it, but as I myself have forgotten 99% of what little I knew that's about as far as I can comment. Joseph Fiennes does a brilliant job with the Afrikaaner accent and also playing the role of a prison officer who's belief in Apartied is slowly but surely put to the test as he listens to the man called Madiba and watches his children growing. The jailer and prisoner soon form a bond that National Intelligence aims to capitalize on. This means that through the years the two men remain linked even when they are apart. The movie mainly follows the life of James Gregory (the prison officer) and his family and I believe is based on a book he wrote.

Interesting, horrific and at the same time uplifting movie. Definitely worth watching.
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