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Cry, The Beloved Country
Cry The Beloved Country
Actors: Richard Harris, James Earl Jones, Tsholofelo Wechoemang, Charles S. Dutton, Dolly Rathebe
Director: Darrell Roodt
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
PG-13     2003     1hr 46min

Powerful and uplifting, CRY, THE BELOVED COUNTRY was widely hailed as one of the best films of the year! In a land torn by hatred and injustice, James Earl Jones (CLEAR & PRESENT DANGER) and Richard Harris (GLADIATOR, THE ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Richard Harris, James Earl Jones, Tsholofelo Wechoemang, Charles S. Dutton, Dolly Rathebe
Director: Darrell Roodt
Creators: Paul Gilpin, David Heitner, Anant Singh, Harry Alan Towers, Helena Spring, Alan Paton, Ronald Harwood
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Family Life, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Miramax
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 07/01/2003
Original Release Date: 12/15/1995
Theatrical Release Date: 12/15/1995
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 46min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 6
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English
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Movie Reviews

Lawyeraau | Balmoral Castle | 02/04/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This adaptation of Alan Paton's best selling novel is superior to the 1951 version starring Sidney Poitier, though that earlier adaptation is also excellent. Here, Richard Harris gives a sharply drawn performance as a hard nosed, well to do landowner in South Africa with a somewhat negative attitude toward the native population. James Earl Jones gives a beautifully nuanced, sensitive performance as a simple, country preacher who is described by a colleague as simply the "best man he ever met".The story takes place in 1946. The preacher temporaily leaves his flock and family to go to Johannesburg to search for his brother, his sister, and his son, Absalom. For those who are well versed in the Bible, the name "Absalom" is not without significance.He finds all three, but too late. His brother has turned away from the church and become involved in racial politics. His sister has turned to prostitution, and his son has become involved with less than salubrious companions. The landowner lives in the same countryside as the preacher, and he, too, has a son. As did the preacher's son, his had also migrated to Johannesburg, and was a well known city engineer, as well as an altruist dedicated to helping the native population. Unfortunately, the son ends up murdered in his own home by a gang of natives, one of whom is Absalom.While the landowner and the preacher may have been from the same area and their paths may have crossed, they had never before spoken to one another, until their paths tragically intersected through their sons: one murdered, the other, the murderer. Their respective journeys to reach their sons serves to starkly draw the contrast between White and Black South Africa. In fact, this is essentially the story of two South Africas, one White, the other, Black.It is also the story of two fathers, each finding that his son is lost to him forever. What follows is the struggle of each father to understand what happened, and the reasons why it may have happened in the bigger context. Ultimately, they are just fathers, united in sorrow, as they never could have been in life, at least not in South Africa; neither of whom comprehends the new order of things to come. Yet, as each discovers who his son had been, a new understanding dawns upon them and a barrier is surmounted. There is an inadvertent meeting between the two fathers while in Johannesburg, that is one of the most moving scenes of any film, carried by the affecting performances of Harris and Jones. It is a moment that is certainly not lost on the viewer. There is also one other scene where the fathers meet again, back in the countryside where they are from. Again, Harris and Jones create a mood that bespeaks volumes, such is their talent.This is an incredible and memorable film that should not be missed. Harris and Jones are supported by Charles Dutton, who gives a dynamic performance as the preacher's errant brother, and by a largely unknown cast who are uniformly excellent. This is a quality film from beginning to end."
Patience for this movie pays off in the end
Michael W. Klein | Stanwood, WA United States | 05/28/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I remember seeing the trailers for "Cry, The Beloved Country," in the theater before it came out, later I realized I missed my chance to see it on the big screen when I saw it in the video store. I can only imagine the impact this movie would have on me if I had seen it on the big screen.In the opening scenes the audience is treated to absolutely breath-taking images of the hills of South Africa, it is there that you are introduced to the story's protangonist Rev. Kumalo, the pastor of a small country church in South Africa. The role of Kumalo is played brilliantly by James Earl Jones. In the opening scenes Rev. Kumalo travels to Johannesburg to come to the aid of his sister and to search for his son. While in Johannesburg, the lives of Rev. Kumalo and James Jarvis, a weathly farmer and neighbor of Kumalo played by Richard Harris, are brought together by an event (I will leave it at that) that will profoundly affect the lives of both men. Pay particular attention to the scene where Jones and Harris first meet, it is a wonderful example what is possible when two accomplished actors are put together and given the chance to ply their trades."Cry, The Beloved Country," does require some patience from the viewer, director Darrell Roodt builds the story slowly and deliberately, and even this level of dillegence doesn't completely pay off, but when the movie comes to it's climax I can guarantee you will appreciate the time Roodt took to set up the story in the beginning of the movie.This is really the story of an honest man in dishonest wolrd and the effect individuals can make in the lives of others. This movie should have recieved much more attention when it was in the theaters and Jones should have recieved an Oscar nomination for his preformance.The final scene of the movie ends much as it starts, in the hills of South Africa. Director Darrel Roodt uses this local as bookends for this wonderous story. This movie is not available on DVD, but look for it on video tape it is well worth the effort."
James Earl Jones Shines in Noble Performance
Mark J. Fowler | Okinawa, Japan | 02/09/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Darrell Roodt chose carefully when it was time to direct the first film of South Africa after the abolition of Apartheid. Alan Paton's novel was first filmed in 1951, and "Cry the Beloved Country" is a tale that seems as much a part of the South African collective zeitgeist as Twain or Hemingway or Steinbeck is part of America's.

This film version is centered around perhaps James Earl Jones' most powerful screen performance. He stars as the Reverend Stephen Kumalo, a clergyman from a small town in South Africa. He is a strong man of faith and leads a congregation in matters both religious and practical. His son ran away to Johannesburg to work in the mines, and his sister went away also to join her husband. His brother, John, is also in the city, an outspoken black activist who has abandoned the ways of religion because religion is not creating justice for blacks. The film opens with Reverend Kumalo receiving word that things are not all well in Johannesburg.

Richard Harris has the role of James Jarvis, a wealthy white landowner from the same small town. His son has also gone to Johannesburg, where he works as an activist trying to improve the repressed condition of the South African Blacks who are only starting to come under the evil thumb of Apartheid.

The whites and blacks are so separate that although they are two of the most prominent figures in a small town, Mr. Jarvis and the Reverend Kumalo have not even met as the movie opens. Tragedy strikes, more than once, and without spoiling the plot I'll just reveal that it involves the two sons of these two characters.

Roodt goes out of his way to display the noble suffering of Reverend Kumalo. He never speaks a discouraging word, even when confronting terrible injustice. The story hinges on Kumalo's innate goodness, and Mr. Jones brings this to life in a way that carries the story along.

It is worth mentioning a single scene - the one in which Kumalo and Jarvis first meet. The previously mentioned tragedy has already occurred and both men are in a kind of mourning. Kumalo knows Jarvis while Jarvis vaguely recognizes Kumalo. The Reverend confides in the powerful white man that "My greatest sorrow is also your greatest sorrow". The performances by these two great actors in this powerful scene would be reason alone to watch this film, but I would still recommend the movie with that centerpiece scene removed.

It is clichéd to say that the world would be a better place if we were collectively more understanding and tolerant of those who were different from us, but "Cry the Beloved Country" brings this sentiment forward in a way that is realistic and powerful.
A simple film about two fathers that leaves you amazed.
Joel Munyon | Joliet, Illinois - the poohole of America. | 06/29/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Talk about a relief from our sardonic, nihilistic world. I felt like I popped in a handful of Poignant Pills after I saw this film.

I could use words like captivating, rapturous or brilliant to describe the screenplay, the acting, the mood of this film; but I'm not going to. To do so would be wrong, for this film does something that most films can not - it speaks for itself.

In it, we have two fathers. One, a minister (Earl Jones) during apartheid in South Africa. Another (Harris) is a rich man who never understood his son. When the pastor's son fearfully and regretfully kills the rich man's son, we witness the human condition at its frailest core. The pastor's shame all but consumes him while the rich man is more pained by the fact that he never was able to know his son who so painstakingly worked to restore racial harmony long before it was popular. Instead of adding to the pastor's guilt, grief and pain at what his son has done, he restores him by graciously forgiving the man and his child. It is as if each man knows his place and is unwilling to move above it. Jones' character cannot forgive himself for what his son has done and Harris' character cannot forgive himself for refusing to reach a bit further into his boy's life. They find healing in one another, and this adds to the tone of the film.

This film is altogether amazing, both story-wise and visually. Both men tread upon great pains in this film, pains that cut them to the heart, but both persevere.

One of the top twenty-five films I've ever watched and one of the most under appreciated movies of all time.

5 out of 5."