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Still shot from the movie: Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

In this bio-drama, Idris Elba plays Nelson Mandela. The film explores Mandela's extraordinary life accomplishments on his long walk to bring freedom to the indigenous people of South Africa. Get the movie review and more. »


Overall: B+
Violence: D+
Sexual Content: C+
Language: C+
Drugs/Alcohol: C+
Run Time: 139
Theater Release: 25 Dec 2013
Video Release: 18 Mar 2014
MPAA Rating: PG-13
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After watching a movie with your children or students, we encourage parents and teachers to look for education opportunities to teach with movies. Here are a few discussion topics that can help with lesson plans or teaching in the home.

What things do the warden and guards on Robben Island do to humiliate the prisoners? Why do Mandela and the other black prisoners request long pants instead of shorts? What derogatory terms do the guards use? How are intimidation and humiliation used against the prisoners? How does Mandela’s relationship with some of the guards change over time? Why does it change? Why does Mandela refuse to let the young boys at his home make crude gestures at the guards?

While Nelson and Winnie are both arrested and imprisoned, how do they react differently to their suffering? Does Winnie’s role as a mother make it more difficult for her to be away from her children? Can a person choose whether he or she becomes bitter to such treatment? How do their reactions impact their marriage? What does Mandela mean when he says, “I love who she was, but we change over time”? What does Winnie mean when she says, “We have both been alone too much”?

How does Mandela’s measured approach differ from the young militants who are later imprisoned on Robben Island?

Read more about these pivotal events and places in South African history:

Robben Island

Apartheid timeline

Sharpeville Massacre

Soweto Uprising

African National Congress

F.W. de Klerk

Learn more about the real Nelson Mandela.

This film portrays Mandela as the hero of the anti-Apartheid movement. How might white South Africans who lived during the uprisings view this movie differently? How might the other contemporary leaders of the ANC feel about their role in the story?

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About the Reviewer: Kerry Bennett

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