Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Published May 9, 2014

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Film info

  • Title Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
  • Director Justin Chadwick
  • Year 2013
  • Run time 2hrs 21m
  • Genres History, Drama
  • Tagline It's an ideal for which I am prepared to die

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom celebrates Nelson Mandela's extraordinary journey from his childhood in a rural village through to his election as President of South Africa. It explores the Mandela unknown to most of the world - the lover of fancy cars, a lady's man, the boxing enthusiast and playboy, the skillful lawyer and a freedom fighter. The film is an intimate portrait of the making of a modern icon.

Background info

Title: Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom Director: Justin Chadwick Year: 2013 Run time: 2hrs 21m

Live blog

3:33 - That’s a heck of a fire. 8:19 - A pencil in the hair. What an odd test of race! 10:37 - “Education, hard work, pride.” 14:04 - It all comes down to the bus fare. 23:08 - He wears nice suits. Maybe that’s a lawyer thing. 26:44 - Hard to decide if him knowing all that about her is flattering, or a bit stalkerish! 30:43 - Not so good at the proposals either. Bless him. 40:43 - He sort of does run away a lot, you can see why he’s been accused of that. Just ask Winnie. 46:46 - Winnie’s green hat is like a leprechaun hat. 52:30 - I didn’t know you could make epic speeches in court, really. Speak when spoken too, I thought. 1:02:21 - I know they like to make the prisoners do the work but it seems foolhardy to give them pickaxes. 1:05:33 - I don’t much fancy the job of cutting all the bits out of the censored letters. 1:22:18 - At least they have one nice guard. That’s something to cling to. 1:26:10 - Hey, growing tomatoes is hard! 1:37:36 - Nelson has aged in his 21 years (great make-up job, etc) but Winnie looks the same. 1:38:29 - “They fear us, they fear me.” Who wouldn’t? She’s terrifying. 1:44:32 - The fear of revenge is all their own doing though, being so awful. 1:51:26 - Winnie’s gone rogue. 1:55:47 - “Just open the gate and let me go.” 2:07:38 - Being dumped over the radio is the next step above doing it by text.


This is a really tricky one because from the outset I have to admit that I don’t know as much about Nelson Mandela as I should. That admission is then the basis for my reaction to the film. I was nervous about watching it, because history and important topics scare me, I’m constantly convinced I’m not going to understand them and thus approach with caution.

This wasn’t scary at all, but mostly because it didn’t do a very good job of telling the story. I see now that it’s based on his autobiography and the blurb for the movie talks of its intimate portrayal of the man rather than focusing on what he did and what happened to him.

Unfortunately for me, I needed more of those basic facts, I needed them to connect the dots that they sailed over because, I guess, they assume everyone knows the story by now. It’s a failing on my part but the film just didn’t do anything for me. I thought Idris was good though, and even with my limited knowledge, I was a bit perturbed by the incredible likeness with Mandela in some scenes!

Rating: 2/5

Rating: 2 / 5

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