Last Thursday (5th December 2013) Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president who abolished apartheid in his country, died at the age of 95. To honor this great man we’ll take a brief look at the films and documentaries about is life.
Mandela is a HBO TV movie made in 1986 and released in 1987. It was directed by Philip Saville and stars Danny Glover as Nelson Mandela. It follows his life from 1948 to 1986. This film was actually made while Nelson was still in prison! Towards the end of this video Danny talks about his portrayal of him and the time it was made.
This documentary features interviews with Nelson and Winnie Mandela as well as other key players. It looks at Nelson’s life from childhood right through to 1996. Also it was nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary in 1997 but unfortunately it didn’t win.
Mandela and de Klerk follows the release of Nelson, played by Sidney Poitier, from prison in 1990 and the end of apartheid with the help of the then South African President F.W. De Klerk, who is played by Michael Caine. Their performances earned them nominations from the Golden Globes, Primetime Emmy Awards and the Screen Actors Guild Awards. It was directed by Joseph Sargent.
Also known as The Color of Freedom in the U.S. this movie is based on the autobiographical book Goodbye Bafana: Nelson Mandela, My Prisoner, My Friend by James Gregory. The film tells the story of a James, prison guard who watched over Nelson and how his life changes by getting to know him. It stars Joseph Fiennes, Dennis Haybert and Diane Kruger.
Based on the biographical book Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation by John Carlin, Invictus follows Nelson in his first term of presidency as he tries to unite his country. He enlists the country’s rugby union team, the Springboks, to help him. It stars Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon and was directed by Clint Eastwood. The film earned nominations from the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild.
Although the main character is his second wife Winnie, this film deserves a mention based on what it was like for his family while Nelson was in prison. It tells the story from Winnie’s childhood, through to her marriage to Nelson and her carrying of his fight for freedom while he was incarcerated. The film stars Jennifer Hudson and Terrence Howard.
This is the most recent film made of Nelson’s life. It stars Idris Elba as Nelson and Naomie Harris as Winnie and is directed by Justin Chadwick. The film is based on Nelson’s autobiography of the same name and follows his life from his childhood right the way though to him becoming president. During its U.K. premier it was announced that Nelson had passed away.