Cry Freedom is a stirring true story about two men from different worlds who are drawn together in a struggle against the racist regime in South Africa. Denzel Washington is charismatic as the soft-spoken leader Stephen Biko, whose advocacy of black consciousness and nonviolence inspires his people to new heights of self-esteem. Kevin Kline puts in a top-drawer performance as Donald Woods, a white liberal newspaper editor who becomes Biko's friend and biographer. Joining forces to fight apartheid in their country, they each must pay a high price for their belief in human dignity, equality and freedom Biko with his life, Woods with persecution and finally self-exile from his homeland. Through the story of these two courageous men, director Richard Attenborough conveys the costs in human suffering of apartheid with its harsh policies of house arrest, imprisonment and death. At the same time, Attenborough makes his own moral stand with the film. In a profoudly moving ending he recreates the tragedy which occurred in Soweto township in 1976 and then presents a roll call of individuals who have died mysteriously in South African prisons. The effect is a searing indictment against the inhumanity of the architects and functionaries of apartheid.
One of the best films of 1987 with its searing condemnation of racism and violence in South Africa.