Idris Elba in Mandela: lengthy Walk to Freedom. Command by and starring a couple of Englishmen, respectively Justin Chadwick and also Idris Elba, Mandela: long Walk to Freedom has actually been indifferently got by critics and also audiences in the joined States, whereby the Nelson Mandela biopic opened a couple of days before the south African leader’s death at period 95. There have actually been number of Nelson Mandela movies in the last 4 minutes 1 of a century, most of lock starring/directed by U.S. And/or U.K. Actors and filmmakers.

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1.Nelson Mandela movies: south African leader invariably play by American or brother actors
1.1.Mandela: long Walk to Freedom: Idris Elba in poorly received biopic
1.2.Perfect box office timing
1.3.Nobel tranquility Prize-winning ‘terrorist’
1.4.Goodbye Bafana: Dennis Haysbert in make-believe story?
1.5.Invictus: Morgan Freeman & Matt Damon in feel-good sports/political drama
1.6.Pop political platitudes
1.7.More Nelson Mandela movies
1.8.Unpalatable ‘fiery’ young Mandela
1.9.Nelson Mandela ~ above television: Sidney Poitier & Danny Glover
1.10.Actor Nelson Mandela
1.11.Right-wingers & apartheid + clear Wayne’s Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela movies: southern African leader invariably played by American or british actors



Nelson Mandela, the previous South afri president who spent 27 year in jail and who played a an essential role in the death of the country’s apartheid system, died of a lung infection yesterday, Dec. 5. Mandela to be 95.

One of the best-known political figures of the late 20th century, the southern African leader inevitably came to be a “prestige” topic for filmmakers.

Below are numerous Nelson Mandela movie title – curiously, many of them directed by and starring talent no from southern Africa, yet from brothers and/or the joined States.

Mandela: long Walk to Freedom: Idris Elba in poorly obtained biopic

British gibbs Idris Elba theatre Nelson Mandela in brother filmmaker Justin Chadwick’s Mandela: lengthy Walk come Freedom (2013), adjusted by another Britisher, william Nicholson, from the southern African leader 1994 autobiography.

Like Richard Attenborough’s Best snapshot Oscar winner Gandhi, Mandela: long Walk come Freedom is a de facto biopic – or rather, hagiopic, follow to evaluate – spanning Mandela’s life indigenous his childhood years to his choice as south Africa’s an initial black president. Naomie Harris plays politics activist Winnie Mandela, mam of the subversive revolutionary-turned-revered statesman. (Married due to the fact that 1958, the pair were officially divorced in 1996, two years ~ Nelson Mandela became president.)

Perfect box office timing

With perfect timing, Mandela: long Walk to Freedom opened this previous weekend in the united States. Top top its very first three days out, Nov. 29–Dec. 1, the Weinstein company release soaked up $84,283 from four theaters, averaging an okay $21,071 every venue.


For comparison’s sake, in so late November 2010 Tom Hooper’s The king Speech – another Weinstein company “inspirational” release around an English-speaking political leader – accumulated $355,450 at 4 locations, averaging an excellent $88,863 per venue.

So, what might be the difficulty with Mandela: long Walk come Freedom?

One possibility is that regardless of Idris Elba’s normally solid notices, Justin Chadwick’s film has actually a trivial 58 percent approval rating and 5.7/10 average among Rotten Tomatoes‘ top critics.

On the optimistic side, the Chadwick-Elba collaboration has, fairly speaking, fared far better in south Africa. Follow to distributor Videovision entertain (through unified International pictures South Africa), the biopic topped the local box office on opening day critical Thursday, Nov. 28, grossing about US$74,000 and also averaging around $860 per theater.

With 23,000 tickets sold, Videovision claims that’s a south African record for a non-holiday Thursday.

Nobel peace Prize-winning ‘terrorist’

Ironically, Nobel tranquility Prize winner Nelson Mandela (more on the swedish Academy’s honor further below), whose at time violent political activism is only marginally depicted in Mandela: long Walk to Freedom, was on the U.S. Terrorist clock list until 2008.



During the apartheid era, south Africa labeled Mandela’s African nationwide Congress a terrorist organization, a view common by former U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Like his right-wing brother ally, U.S. President Ronald Reagan refuse to impose penalty on southern Africa’s apartheid regime. Here’s a 1981 Reagan quote around South Africa, that uncompromisingly racist system, and also its “strategically essential” minerals:<1>

“Can we abandon a country that has stood by us in every war we have ever before fought, a country that is strategically vital to the cost-free World in its manufacturing of mineral that us all need to have?”

In 1986, Reagan vetoed the U.S. Congress’s considerable Anti-Apartheid plot banning new American investments in and the importation of numerous assets from southern Africa. Shockingly (from an early 21st-century perspective), the Republican controlled Senate overrode the Republican president’s veto.

Goodbye Bafana: Dennis Haysbert in make-believe story?

In Danish filmmaker Bille August’s 2007 political drama Goodbye Bafana a.k.a. The shade of Freedom, Nelson Mandela is shown by American actor Dennis Haysbert.

In the little-seen film, British actor Joseph Fiennes (Shakespeare in Love) theatre racist censor officer and also prison guard James Gregory, who life and also worldview are changed, Hollywood-style, ~ he i do not care acquainted with Mandela’s ideals.

Adapted through August and also Greg Latter, Goodbye Bafana is based on Gregory’s autobiography, Goodbye Bafana: Nelson Mandela, my Prisoner, mine Friend, which to be dismissed together a fictitious account by Mandela’s girlfriend Anthony Sampson.

The film itself has actually been criticized for compounding the fabricated facets found in Gregory’s story – e.g., having the warden call the prisoner “Madiba,” i m sorry is an alleged to it is in a Xhosa name implying respect, whereas throughout his book Gregory describes Mandela in a much less reverential manner, phone call him just “Nelson.”

In his own book, Long Walk to Freedom, Mandela reportedly mentions Gregory only twice. In ~ one point, he renders it clean that, in spite of their cordial relationship, political disputes were off-limits during his time behind bars.

Recalling his relax from Rodden Island Prison, Mandela wrote:

“Warrant Officer James Gregory to be there in ~ the house, and I adopted him warmly. In the years the he had actually looked ~ me indigenous Pollsmoor through Victor Verster , we had actually never questioned politics, yet our bond was an unspoken one and also I would miss out on his soothing presence.”

James Gregory died of cancer in 2003.


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Invictus through Morgan Freeman together Nelson Mandela. Millions of delusional moviegoers love happy endings also when none together existed in genuine life (e.g., My Left Foot, A Beautiful Mind); that helps to explain the technique taken through Invictus manager Clint Eastwood and adapter Anthony Peckham. Certification Morgan Freeman as a visionary and politically savvy Nelson Mandela and also Matt Damon as Francois Pienaar, captain of south Africa’s all-white people Cup rugby team, Invictus shows just how competitive sports have the right to unite a nation – as long as the local team comes the end on top and the story ends right then and also there.

Invictus: Morgan Freeman & Matt Damon in feel-good sports/political drama

Albeit a crate office disappointment, the best-known big-screen initiative featuring Nelson Mandela is U.S. Movie housing Clint Eastwood’s 2009 sports/political drama Invictus, i m sorry earned Academy award nominations for American actors Morgan Freeman (as a god-like Mandela) and Matt Damon (as the Afrikaans-accented, Springboks rugby team captain Francois Pienaar).

Adapted by Anthony Peckham from john Carlin’s book Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the game That make a Nation, Invictus (“unconquered,” “undefeated”) portrays Mandela as a visionary, inspirational, and pragmatic leader who, through the aid of the country’s main (all-white) rugby team, offers the masses’ passion for competitive sporting activities to unite post-apartheid southern Africa in the mid-1990s.

As in every cliché-ridden Hollywood movie aligned to gratifying the masses’ passion for happy endings, south Africa’s underdog team wins the 1995 Rugby human being Cup and also South Africans end up being as one. Mandela is climate heard reciting 19th-century british poet william Ernest Henley’s poem “Invictus.”

Left unanswered is the question, What can have taken place to southern Africa in ~ that challenging sociopolitical juncture had Mandela’s Rugby people Cup gambit not paid off?



Pop political platitudes

Following his death, bits indigenous Nelson Mandela’s popular music political wisdom – or just plain politics platitudes, relying on your take – have been popping up all over you look. The one below is indigenous a 2000 decided at Monaco’s Sporting society Monte Carlo:

“Sport can develop hope, where once there was just despair. The is an ext powerful than federal governments in breaking under racial barriers. That laughs in the confront of all varieties of discrimination.”

Considering the fundamentally tribal nature of vain sports, it is a curious – fairly than inspirational – remark. And also needless to say, history has proven itself to be rather a little more complicated than what is displayed in Clint Eastwood and also Anthony Peckham’s feel-good Hollywood movie.

After Invictus’ finish credits have finished rolling, rapid forward come December 2012. The subheading the David Smith’s The Guardian article “South Africa quiet a chronically racially separated nation, finds survey,” reads:

Reconciliation barometer poll finds 43% hardly ever or never ever speak to someone from one more race, denting rainbow nation ideal.”

More Nelson Mandela movies

Here room a grasp of various other big-screen narrative attributes in i beg your pardon Nelson Mandela is seen<2>:

Swazi filmmaker Zola Maseko’s 1950s-set Drum (2004), a little-seen drama based on the life of south African investigative journalist Henry Nxumalo the Drum magazine. The leader are illustrated by American actors: Taye Diggs is Nxumalo if Gabriel Mann is Drum photographer Jürgen Schadeberg. However for a change, Mandela is played by a south African performer, Lindani Nkosi.

Unpalatable ‘fiery’ young Mandela

Also worth noting, together Peter Bradshaw has actually just newly reported in The Guardian, brothers filmmaker Peter Kosminsky (White Oleander, Wuthering Heights) “got into hot water a pair of years ago by propose a film referred to as Young Mandela, as soon as Mandela was a fiery ANC soldier who an extremely much did not think in non-violence. The film has not yet been made.”

January 2017 update: directed by brothers filmmaker john Irvin from a screenplay by Athos Kyriakides and Malcolm Purkey, the 2016 southern African politics thriller Mandela’s Gun traces Nelson Mandela’s time as commander the the African national Congress’ paramilitary wing, Umkhonto us Sizwe (a.k.a. The MK).

South african TV and film actor Tumisho Masha (Drum, Catch a Fire) was cast as Mandela. Curiously, a couple of months before the film’s relax at the Joburg film Festival, Masha to be arrested after accused assaulting his estranged wife.


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Sidney Poitier together Nelson Mandela in Mandela and also de Klerk. Twenty-two years after co-starring in Ralph Nelson’s 1975 apartheid-era thriller The Wilby Conspiracy, Sidney Poitier and also Michael Caine were rejoined in Joseph Sargent’s made-for-TV movie Mandela and de Klerk. Poitier was cast as south African political prisoner-turned-anti-apartheid resistance leader Nelson Mandela and Caine as south African president F.W. De Klerk, both the whom would take residence the Nobel peace Prize in 1993.

Nelson Mandela on television: Sidney Poitier & Danny Glover

The most notable tv portrayal of Nelson Mandela was produced by U.S. Gibbs Sidney Poitier (Best gibbs Academy award winner for Lilies that the Field, 1963) in Joseph Sargent’s 1997 TV movie Mandela and also de Klerk, co-starring British gibbs Michael Caine as F.W. De Klerk, the southern African president that freed Mandela. Tina Lifford was actors as Winnie Mandela, when Richard Wesley was credited for the teleplay.

In 1993, the (by climate ex-)prisoner and – an ext controversially – the president common a Nobel peace Prize “for their work-related for the calm termination the the apartheid regime, and for laying the structures for a new democratic south Africa.”

When it comes to winning trophies, Sidney Poitier and Michael Caine were much less lucky during the 1997–1998 awards season, despite Caine was shortlisted for a golden Globe, Poitier because that a death Award, and both Poitier and also Caine because that the Emmys.

Ten years before Mandela and de Klerk – if Nelson Mandela to be still languishing behind bars – American actor and also eventual Emmy nominee Danny Glover play the south African political sinner in one more TV movie, concisely titled Mandela. London-born Philip Saville directed from a manuscript by the Cape Town-born, London-based, Oscar-winning screenwriter Ronald Harwood (The Pianist, 2002; additionally nominated for The Dresser, 1983, and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, 2007).

Actor Nelson Mandela

And finally, together an actor himself, Nelson Mandela was featured in a small role as a Soweto teacher who, sounding as with a well-rehearsed politician, gives a lecture on person rights in Spike Lee’s biopic Malcolm X (1992), featuring Denzel Washington together the American politics activist.

Mandela was likewise seen together himself in Jo Menell and also Angus Gibson’s Academy Award-nominated documentary attribute Mandela, a.k.a. Mandela: child of Africa, dad of a Nation.

“Nelson Mandela Movies: south African Leader Reverentially shown by U.S. & brother Actors” follow-up post: Apartheid Movies: native ‘Cry, the lovely Country’ come White-Centric ‘Cry Freedom’ & ‘A human being Apart’.

See also: manifest destiny in Africa & its Legacy: ‘Something that Value’ & ‘District 9’.

Right-wingers & apartheid + sunny Wayne’s Nelson Mandela

<1> Ronald Reagan’s pro-apartheid southern Africa quote via Media Matters, in an write-up contrasting just how U.S. Right-wingers saw southern Africa’s racist politics system back in the day and how they reaction to Nelson Mandela’s recent death.

<2> The Nelson Mandela incarnated by sunny Wayne in Srinath Rajendran’s Malayalam action/crime drama Second Show (2012), is no the south African leader however an Indian thug/taxi driver/repo man.

Image the Idris Elba as southern African leader Nelson Mandela in Mandela: lengthy Walk come Freedom: The Weinstein Company.

Morgan Freeman together Nelson Mandela in Invictus: Warner Bros.

Image that Sidney Poitier together Nelson Mandela in the TV movie Mandela and also de Klerk: Sullivan Entertainment.

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“Nelson Mandela Movies: south African Leader Reverentially illustrated by U.S. & brothers Actors” critical updated in July 2018.