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Cry Freedom Details


Richard Attenborough directed this dramatic story, based on actual events, about the friendship between two men struggling against apartheid in South Africa in the 1970s. Donald Woods (Kevin Kline) is a white liberal journalist in South Africa who begins to follow the activities of Stephen Biko (Denzel Washington), a courageous and outspoken black anti-apartheid activist. Woods and his wife Wendy (Penelope Wilton) get to know Biko, and they become friends, until Biko is brutally murdered at the hands of government troops in 1977 for his activities against the country's repression of the black majority population. Donald is shocked and appalled by Biko's murder and determined that the truth about Biko will become known to the world; eventually, Donald and Wendy Woods and their children must leave South Africa (and nearly everything they have) as they spread the word about Biko's life and death to ensure that he did not die in vain. Washington received an Academy Award nomination for his performance as Biko. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

  • Release date:November 6, 1987


Awarded by
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Jonas Gwangwa Best Score 1987 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Jonas Gwangwa Best Song 1987 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Denzel Washington Best Supporting Actor 1987 Nominee
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Richard Attenborough Best Director 1987 Nominee
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Richard Attenborough Best Picture 1987 Nominee
Berlin International Film Festival Richard Attenborough Peace Film Prize Commendation 1988 Winner
Berlin International Film Festival Richard Attenborough Guild of German Film Theaters 1988 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences George Fenton Best Score 1987 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences George Fenton Best Song 1987 Nominee


Kevin Kline
as Donald Woods
Penelope Wilton
as Wendy Woods
Denzel Washington
as Stephen Biko
Kevin McNally
as Ken
Timothy West
as Capt. de Wet
Juanita Waterman
as Juanita/Ntsiki Biko
John Hargreaves
as Bruce
Alec McCowen
as Acting High Commissioner
Zakes Mokae
as Father Kani
Ian Richardson
as State Prosecutor
Josette Simon
as Dr. Ramphele
Miles Anderson
as Lemick
Tommy Buson
as Tami
Jim Findley
as Peter Jones
Kate Hardie
as Jane Woods
Alton Kumalo
as Speaker
Louis Mahoney
as Lesotho Government Official
Mawa Makondo
as Jason
Sophie Mgcina
as Evalina
Wabei Slyolwe
as Tenjy
Gwen Watford
as Wendy's Mother
Graham Fletcher-Cook
as Nel's Partner
Tony Vogel
as Roadblock Policeman
James Aubrey
as Passport Control Officer
Judy Cornwell
as Receptionist
Nick Tate
as Ritchie
Andrew Whaley
as Sub-Editor
Carl Chase
as Policeman
John Matshikiza
as Mapetla
Hans Sittig
as Security Policeman
Albert Ndinda
as Alec
Patricia Gumede
as Shebeen Queen
Dominic Kanaventi
as Black Frontier Policeman
Gerald Sim
as Police Doctor
Sam Mathambo
as Lesotho Passport Officer
Paul Jerricho
as Sgt. Louw
Marcy Mushore
as Niece
Marilyn Poole
as Acting High Commissioner's Wife
William Morgan Sheppard
as Policeman
Gwyneth Strong
as Girl at Funeral
Walter Muparutsa
as Lesotho Businessman
Xoliswa Sithole
as Nurse at Clinic
Munyaradzi Kanaventi
as Samora Biko
Basil Chidyamathamba
as Brother-in-Law
Christopher Hurst
as Roadblock Policeman
Tichatonga Mazhindu
as Dilima
Carlton Chance
as Rugby Player
John Thaw
as Kruger
Gary Whelan
as Police Sergeant
David Guwaza
as Prisoner
Paul Hertzberg
as Beukes
Kimpton Mativenga
as Black Security Policeman
Garick Hagon
as McElrea
Neil McPherson
as Lemick's Assistant
David Henry
as Afrikaner Farmer
Dudley Dickin
as Nationalist Party Delegate
Buddy Uzzaman
as Mortician's Assistant
Kalie Hanekom
as Magistrate Prins
Niven Boyd
as Roadblock Policeman
Hilary Minster
as Passport Control Officer
Karen Drury
as Young Secretary
Michael Turner
as Judge Boshoff
Robert McNamara
as Security Policeman
Ruth Chinamando
as Mother
Peter Cary
as White Frontier Policeman
Walter Matemavi
as Nephew
Peggy Marsh
as "Helen Suzman"
William Marlowe
as Police Captain at Soweto
Peter Cartwright
as Senior Police Officer
Simon Shumba
as Young Lesotho Official
Claude Maredza
as Rugby Player
Angela Gavaza
as Shebeen Queen's Niece
George Lovell
as Nkosinathi Biko
Hepburn Graham
as Soga
John Hartley
as Passport Control Officer
Clement Muchachi
as Father
Philip Bretherton
as Maj. Boshoff
Robert Phillips
as Speaker at Funeral
Fishoo Tembo
as Biko's Brother
Shelley Borkum
as Woods's Receptionist
Julian Glover
as Don Card
Graeme Taylor
as Dillon Woods
David Trevena
as Mortician


Richard Attenborough
Richard Attenborough
Terence A. Clegg
John Briley
Donald Woods
Book Author
Jonas Gwangwa
Composer (Music Score)
George Fenton
Musical Direction/Supervision
George Fenton
Composer (Music Score)
Lesley Walker
Stuart Craig
Production Designer
John King
Art Director
Norman Dorme
Art Director
Norman Spencer
John Briley
Terence A. Clegg
Executive Producer
Michael Seirton
Set Designer
John Mollo
Costume Designer
Simon Kaye
Sound/Sound Designer
David Tomblin
First Assistant Director
Wendy Woods
Donald Woods
Peter Brace
Susie Figgis
Andrew Whaley
Allan James
Production Manager
Peter Brace
Stunts Coordinator
Wally Schneiderman
Peter MacDonald
Second Unit Director Of Photography
Peter MacDonald
Second Unit Director