Cry Freedom

A fact-based drama about the life of South African activist, Steven Biko. Journalist Donald Woods (Kevin Kline) is editor of the largest paper in South Africa. Although Woods is doesn't agree with Biko's (Denzel Washington) views, he is staunchly against the South African government and its oppressive laws that affect blacks. Woods and Biko set up a meeting that requires Woods to tour the South African slums. The depressed conditions opens Woods eyes up to the injustices that blacks suffer due to apartheid. Biko only wants blacks to enjoy the same opportunities as his white counterparts. No more. No less.

Because of Biko's political views, he is recognized by the South African government as an enemy of the state. After leaving a political rally, Biko is stopped by the South African police. No one is sure what has happened to Biko after his disappearance, but the worse is feared due to the history of the South African police. At the Pretoria prison, Biko's nude body lays on his cell floor.

Instead of taking him to a local hospital, he is put in the back of a van that makes a 700 mile trek to another prison. It is finally announced that Biko died in custody as a result of a hunger strike. Woods insists on seeing Biko's body, which is terribly battered.

Woods goes to the home of the South African Minister of Justice Jimmy Kruger (John Thaw) to complain about the police. The minister's concern is only pretense, as he has Woods banned and his family is subject to harassment. Woods attempts a daring escape that leads him to Lesotho. His family was able to join him later, and they all escaped to Botswana.

The film notes that Woods wrote a book about his experiences. The epilogue of the film rolls a long list of prisoners who were murdered under suspicious circumstances by the South African police.

PG
| 1987 | 2 hr 37 min | 7.5/10
Cast
Studio
Director
Richard Attenborough
Language
English
Cry Freedom
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