Nelson Mandela’s Life In Cinema

9 Dec

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 (1987)

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.

Mandela (1996)

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 (1997)

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.

Goodbye Bafana (2007)

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.

Invictus (2009)

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.

Winnie Mandela (2011)

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.

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom (2013)

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.

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17 Responses to “Nelson Mandela’s Life In Cinema”

  1. comicrelief2 December 9, 2013 at 9:50 AM #

    Ozzie,

    I have only scanned the article so far, but it looks fantastic! I had not really thought about it but Mandela really has appeared in feature films a lot. Great job!!!!

    Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.

    I will write more after I have “indulged” myself more. Really appreciate it. 🙂

    • comicrelief2 December 9, 2013 at 9:55 AM #

      Oh no,

      Even the research is sounding good, (really, no big surprise). (Possibly unfortunately) I’ll be saying a lot more later– I’m still not done reading.

      Again thanks, I was really impressed with this man and appreciate what seems to be an excellent tribute.

      Hopefully speak to you soon.

  2. comcrelief2 December 9, 2013 at 2:15 PM #

    Ozzie,

    IMO, Mandela is remarkable because of all of the opposition received and survived in his life. His amazing 1.) History of activism, 2.) His intolerable term in prison and eventually 3.) His emergence as the President of his homeland. How many others can attest to this much human resistance and emerged strong, principled, and still remain an inspiration.

    I know these are clips, trailers, and other summaries but do you have a preference regarding his portrayal in movies?

  3. comicrelief2 December 9, 2013 at 2:15 PM #

    Ozzie,

    IMO, Mandela is remarkable because of all of the opposition received and survived in his life. His amazing 1.) History of activism, 2.) His intolerable term in prison and eventually 3.) His emergence as the President of his homeland. How many others can attest to this much human resistance and emerged strong, principled, and still remain an inspiration.

    I know these are clips, trailers, and other summaries but do you have a preference regarding his portrayal?

    • littlebells December 10, 2013 at 10:06 PM #

      Excellent Ozzie!

      CR,
      I agree with you on Mandela’s amazing role in life. He had such integrity which is admirable in a society that is in great need of leaders who can demonstrate such qualities as integrity and courage.

  4. comicrelief2 December 9, 2013 at 2:17 PM #

    I think of so many influential leaders of the late 20th century. Though many are controversial; I wonder why we don’t see more of the lives of other leaders like Indira Gandhi, Lech Wałęsa, Angela Merkel, and Vladimir Putin in theaters?

    Ozzie, do you have any ideas why at least Hollywood neglects to produce the inspirational lives of so many influential people?

    • Open Book December 10, 2013 at 7:36 PM #

      Great questions CR. Ozzie has her work cut for her. Hahahaha! I will hold my questions to give her a chance to catch up. 🙂

  5. comicrelief2 December 9, 2013 at 2:21 PM #

    Casting Jennifer Hudson In Winnie Mandela, wow. Terrance Howard as Mandela? From TD Jakes?! . Sorry, it might take a while to mature into that one.

    • littlebells December 10, 2013 at 10:10 PM #

      I’m going to be honest and admit that the first trailer did not grab my attention or desire to see it compared with the second. Perhaps it’s because I just can’t visualize Hudson and Howard as these noble characters. I’m not saying they don’t have the talent and perhaps I would find the film quite enjoyable, but I’d wait till it got to Redbox.

      Now Mandela: W to F has my attention. Maybe it’s because I’m not as familiar with the actors and can imagine them as Mandela and Winnie or because the focus is more on Mandela. Again, I won’t make a judgement until I have seen them.

  6. comicrelief2 December 9, 2013 at 2:21 PM #

    Great job Ozzie. 🙂

  7. Open Book December 10, 2013 at 7:30 PM #

    Hello Everyone!

    What a wonderful collection of films and tribute Oz.

    Ozzie have you seen all of these films?

  8. Open Book December 10, 2013 at 7:51 PM #

    “Invictus” did really well at the Box Office. It made a little over 37 mil.Even after getting a Fresh Tomato on RT it still did poorly in the US.

    Now, Winnie Mandela did pretty well here in the US. It made 80 mil.Yet, got really bad reviews on RT. It got a 15% rotten. What do u think this says about film critics relevance?

    • Open Book December 10, 2013 at 7:52 PM #

      BTW: This Q is for everyone!

      • comicrelief2 December 10, 2013 at 8:56 PM #

        How sad. I did not know that already came out. IMO, critics provide a role…yet I think it’s better if you come to your opinion.

        Critics, taste makers that they frequently are, sometimes come to their conclusions in as trivial a way as so many other politicians. Following a minimally popular trend,T.D Jakes interred Hollywood as an evangelizing extention of his church ministry. I still doubt this has proved popular in 24/7 secular hollywood.

        Terrance Howard’s roller coaster popularity may have been hard for the movie and audiences to swallow also.

    • littlebells December 10, 2013 at 10:12 PM #

      OB,

      How was advertising in your city? I honestly havent seen much and wonder if the film just wasn’t given enough publicity.

      • littlebells December 10, 2013 at 10:13 PM #

        sorry, I didn’t explain which film. I was referring to Winnie.

      • comicrelief2 December 11, 2013 at 1:39 PM #

        LB,

        The adverstising is terrible. Yet you may be right about the funds dedicated the endeavor also.

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