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A Dry White Season Details


Schoolteacher Ben du Toit (Donald Sutherland) has been insulated all his life from the horrors of apartheid in his native South Africa. Perhaps he really didn't want to know. When the son of his black gardener is arrested and beaten as a result of a schoolboy protest in Soweto, at first he imagines the police must have had their reasons. However, the boy is picked up again, and this time he doesn't come back. Ben promises his servant that he will look into the incident, and discovers that the boy was killed simply to gratify the violent urges of Captain Stolz (Jurgen Prochnow), a "special branch" policeman. At long last he has gotten a glimpse into the truly arbitrary and violent nature of the system he has so long benefitted from, and he hires Ian Mackenzie (Marlon Brando) to prosecute the killer. It is a foregone conclusion that Stolz will not be punished, but Mackenzie rises to new heights of withering sarcasm and irony in the courtroom. This situation turns Ben into a radical firebrand, which alienates him from his white friends and neighbors, as well as members of his family. ~ Clarke Fountain, Rovi

  • Release date:September 20, 1989


Awarded by
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Marlon Brando Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture 1989 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Marlon Brando Best Supporting Actor 1989 Nominee


Donald Sutherland
as Ben du Toit
Winston Ntshona
as Gordon Ngubene
Zakes Mokae
as Stanley Makhaya
Jürgen Prochnow
as Capt. Stolz
Susan Sarandon
as Melanie Bruwer
Marlon Brando
as Ian McKenzie
Janet Suzman
as Susan du Toit
Leonard Maguire
as Mr. Bruwer
Rowen Elmes
as Johan du Toit
Gerard Thoolen
as Colonel Viljoen
Stella Dickin
as Susan's Mother
David de Keyser
as Susan's Father
Andrew Whaley
as Chris
John Kani
as Julius
Sophie Mgcina
as Margaret
Bekhithemba Mpofu
as Jonathan
Tinashe Makoni
as Robert
Richard Wilson
as Cloete
Derek Hanekom
as Viviers
Michael Gambon
as Magistrate
Paul Brooke
as Dr. Herzog
Sello Maake
as Johnson Seroke
Rosemary Martin
as Mrs. Beachley
Charles Pillai
as Dr. Hassiem
Susannah Harker
as Suzette du Toit
Andre Proctor
as Jaimie
Mercia Davids
as Sadie
Thoko Ntshinga
as Emily Ngubene
Willie Zweni
as Aubrey Kunene
Anna Manimanzi
as Soweto Girl
Ronald Pickup
as Louw
Ndu Gumede
as Douma
Ernest Ndlovu
as Archibald Mabaso
Hugh Masekela
Grant Davidson
as Lieutenant Venter


Euzhan Palcy
Mary Selway
Paula Weinstein
Andre Brink
Book Author
Euzhan Palcy
Colin Welland
Alison Cross
Pierre-Wiliam Glenn
Kelvin Pike
Dave Grusin
Composer (Music Score)
John Fenner
Production Designer
Alan Tomkins
Art Director
Michael Phillips
Art Director
Tim Hampton
Executive Producer
Michel Cheyko
First Assistant Director
Lionel Ngakane
Marc Boyle
Rory Kilalea
Production Manager
Tommie Manderson