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72 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MAGNIFICENT AND MOVING FILM...
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...
Published on February 4, 2001 by Lawyeraau

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars They had me until the end.
I am an English Teacher at The Academy for Science & Design in NH. My class just finished the novel and film and has these comments.
What did Book 3 ever do to you? Why is Arthur Jarvis' son missing from the end? What about the milk that saves the child's life? What about the dam that will make the grass green again? Are we supposed to believe that one rain storm...
Published 15 months ago by James J. Jenkins


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72 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MAGNIFICENT AND MOVING FILM..., February 4, 2001
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.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars James Earl Jones Shines in Noble Performance, February 8, 2006
By 
Mark J. Fowler "Let's Play Two!" (Blytheville, Arkansas (The "the" is silent)) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cry, The Beloved Country (DVD)
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.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Patience for this movie pays off in the end, May 28, 2002
By 
Michael W. Klein (Stanwood, WA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A simple film about two fathers that leaves you amazed., June 28, 2005
By 
Joel Munyon "Joel Munyon" (Joliet, Illinois - the poohole of America.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Cry, The Beloved Country (DVD)
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.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a life-enhancing film., March 17, 1999
By A Customer
This is that rare film: one that is better than the novel upon which it is based. Alan Paton's 1948 novel is a great book, but this film surpasses it in terms of emotional impact, thanks largely to a well-crafted screenplay and to the superb acting of Richard Harris and James Earl Jones. Set in South Africa, the film tells the tale of a wealthy white landowner and a poor black priest whose lives are unexpectedly brought together by tragedy. It avoids sentimentality and the cliches about race that are so common in today's politically correct society. This is a deeply moving and honest human drama, and the viewer will find that the story touches his very soul. Mention must also be made of John Barry's brilliant score for the film, which contributes mightily to the drama being played out on the screen.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent movie but neglects vital concepts from book, October 21, 2001
By 
Jesse (Tucson, AZ USA) - See all my reviews
I enjoyed the movie a lot. It even made me cry (and I rarely cry). But, I was dissapointed in the way it was written for the screen. The movie left out much of Book 3 as well as what I thought was one of the most important concepts from the book: repentance. Absalom's repentance was never portrayed. The fact that he prayed to God for forgiveness is vital. Had I not already read the book, I would have not had the same emotional reactions. It is absolutely terrific, but it does not quite do justice to Patton's Pre-Aparthied novel.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you liked the book..., November 4, 2003
By 
Adam Davis (Seattle, WA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Cry, The Beloved Country (DVD)
I am in the process of reading the book on which this movie is based. Usually, reading the book leads you to say, "The book is so much better." Not so with this movie. Yes, the book is fantastic. But reading it has increased my appreciation for the movie even more. Particularly the acting by Jones and Harrison. It is impressive how much emotion and meaning they convey without the aid of a narrator or augmented dialogue.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest novel-to-film translation ever. . ., June 7, 2004
This review is from: Cry, The Beloved Country (DVD)
I am 22. I love action movies, I love well executed sci-fi thrillers . . . so why on earth would I rate this as my favorite film of all time? . . .
. . .Because one gets to a point in one's life when movies or any art for that matter, isn't about how much one is shocked, or how "entertained" one becomes . . . watching movies becomes like a mature appreciation of alcohol: one drinks and appreciates until satisfaction; not to become inebriated.

This film is the single most satisfying piece of visual art (besides the Brothers Karamazov, if that is visual art) I have ever experienced in my life. In metaphor to the prodigal son, the film deals with not only racial reconciliation, but much more importantly the deepest behavioral issues and ethos of agape: intense love for a family member.
This is the single most redemptive film I have ever seen. The performances are riveting and non-cliched, and the cinematography is fascinatingly spectacular. Richard Harris delivers a breathtakingly believable portrayal of a rich white racist (of sorts) whose acting is really put to the test in incredible subtle and emotionally charged interplays between the novels colorful characters.
James Earl Jones' presence is nothing short of phenomenal. His performance is so captivating that tt seems that he might actually have been through a similar occurance in his own life.
Of all the incredible movies that have been made, this is my favorite film. Please, do rent it. There are also some helpful reviews on the movies pace below my review as well.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Moving, Powerful Film, December 26, 2004
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This review is from: Cry, The Beloved Country (DVD)
(my favorite film in my short lifetime among many good ones)

Cry, The Beloved Country is a triumph of redemption and hope in the face of terrible tragedy. How two men (wonderfully portrayed by screen legends James Earl Jones and Richard Harris) transcend their roles in life and move beyond the faultlines of race and vengeance is a story no one should miss. The country is beautiful, the characters are compelling and the story an invaluable contribution to anyone's understanding of South Africa's troubled past.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful picture of "life" in the midst of tragedy, January 17, 2001
By 
David Speers (Altamont, Illinois USA) - See all my reviews
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This adaptation of Alan Paton's instant classic Cry the Beloved Country is one of the few movies which does the book justice. And while I still prefer the book for its beautiful, poetic depth of character, thought etc, I must say that Richard Harris and James Earl Jones give outstanding performances. This might be enough to commend the movie to some.
The movie gives a powerful picture of some of the issues which existed in South Africa before Apartheid became official policy, but which certainly prefigured much of that horrid system of government. The story of two men caught in tragic circumstances,(James Earl Jones, a black preacher in rural South Africa, whose people/families are being lost to the "mines" and industry of the cities, loses his son, who kills the son of a white landowner/neighbor(Harris) while living in Johannesburg). A study in how each man, seeks to deal with the realities of life in these tragic circumstances, without succumbing to the further tragedy of marxism which would later infect South Africa.
A wonderful picture of "life" in the midst of tragedy
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Cry the Beloved Country
Cry the Beloved Country by Darrell Roodt (DVD - 2011)
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