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The Power of One (1992)

Stephen Dorff , Armin Mueller-Stahl , John G. Avildsen  |  PG-13 |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (236 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Stephen Dorff, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Morgan Freeman, Nomadlozi Kubheka, Agatha Hurle
  • Directors: John G. Avildsen
  • Writers: Bryce Courtenay, Robert Mark Kamen
  • Producers: Arnon Milchan, Doug Seelig, Graham Burke, Greg Coote, Roy Button
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Letterboxed, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: June 22, 1999
  • Run Time: 127 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (236 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0790740850
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #156,774 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Power of One" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

The Power of One is an intriguing story of a young English boy named P.K. and his passion for changing the world. Growing up he suffered as the only English boy in an Afrikaans school. Soon orphaned, he was placed in the care of a German national named Professor von Vollensteen (a.k.a. "Doc"), a friend of his grandfather. Doc develops P.K.'s piano talent and P.K. becomes "assistant gardener" in Doc's cactus garden. It is not long after WWII begins that Doc is placed in prison for failure to register with the English government as a foreigner. P.K. makes frequent visits and meets Geel Piet, an inmate, who teaches him to box. Geel Piet spreads the myth of the Rainmaker, the one who brings peace to all of the tribes. P.K. is cast in the light of this myth. After the war P.K. attends an English private school where he continues to box. He meets a young girl, Maria, with whom he falls in love. Her father, Professor Daniel Marais, is a leader of the Nationalist Party of South Africa. The two fight to teach the natives English as P.K.'s popularity grows via the myth. Maria is killed. P.K. looses focus until he sees the success of his language school among the tribes. He and Guideon Duma continue the work in hopes of building a better future for Africa.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
67 of 70 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Molding a leader.... November 3, 2001
Format:DVD
is the topic of Bryce Courtenay's novel of the same name. The DVD does credence to his excellent (5 star!) book. Virtually unknown to the viewing audience thanks to release errors made when the movie came out in 1992, the story provides a showcase
for the acting talents of Stephen Dorff - then a virtual unknown, today one of our strongest young character actors; he stars as Peekay, a young English orphan torn by the promise of an easier future outside of his native South Africa and his love for all things and most people of his land. He is drawn by his past and the lessons learned from a series of wise mentors, who see in him the promise and hope of a better future for South Africa. Color blind, he grows up speaking many tribal languages, and is foreign only to the politically powerful movement that created the system of Apartheid in South Africa.
Power of One was recommended to me by a dear friend, who said the movie inspired him in many ways. He was so right. The music, a mixture of soaring melodies and tribal songs, inspires on its own. The scenic beauty of the land of South Africa, from the grasslands to the waterfalls is breathtakingly portrayed on film and captured with true artistry in the DVD.
There are many fine supporting players in this tale, some famous, some unknown. Like most tales of heroes and leaders, they shine for awhile in the tale of the child, the adolescent and then the young man Peekay (kudos to the casting director for the two youngsters who play Peekay in his early years; they light up the screen!) and each one's sun sets as Peekay lives through the losses and tragedies that form the backdrop for most heroes.
Really a fine tale - a little long in the last hour, some gratuitous violence - a story of the African struggle that few of us know was taking place while the world watched the Nazis.
If you see the Power of One, and are moved by the story, be sure to read Courtenay's novel. Both are outstanding!
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55 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful May 7, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
I have to admit to being totally surprised by the way I felt about this movie. I expected to HATE it. A movie about boxing!! Not my idea of an interesting, or insightful view of apartheid! Although it is not nearly as good a movie as it is a book this movie more than delivers the goods. You have a wonderful more than slightly bitter story about this incredible child growing into a caring and concientious young man truly against the odds. His guides on his path from boyhood to adulthood are beautifully played by Armin Mueller Stahl, Morgan Freeman and Sir John Gielgud, not an unimpressive list. Stephen Dorff is impressive as the older Peekay and the actors playing the younger versions also help to create a character that is truly warm and appealing. The music from this movie also remains one of my favourite soundtracks of all time. It moves between being uplifting and happy to melancholy and powerful. It is truly a beautiful soundtrack. All in all I cannot reccommend this movie enough, if I had never watched it I wouldn't have even know of the book and it is now one of my favourites also. Watch this movie and I truly believe you won't be disappointed.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous, Stirring Film September 12, 2001
Format:DVD
Not what you'd expect from the director of "Rocky" and "The Karate Kid", two well done but rather shallow 'fighting' movies. While part of this movie does have to do with boxing, it is just a vehicle to better show the audience deep character changes happening inside the heart and mind of the lead character, P.K. (called Peekay in the book, apparantly, although I never read it). The director deserved any awards that were lying about when he made this film!
The story is about a small British boy, P.K., who is orphaned at a young age and lives in an all-Afrikaans boarding school. He is harrassed and beaten, and eventually comes under the tutilage of 'Doc', an eccentric and wise old man from Germany. When Doc is taken to prison, he is treated exceptionally well, and introduces P.K. to Piet, a black inmate who teaches the small boy to box. In this way P.K. grows up, witnessing tragic and terrible happenings around him as well as triumph as he outrgrows his thin, scared figure and becomes a muscular, self-confident and strong-willed man. The film follows him as he grows as a human being, striving to change his world and live life to its fullest. The story is one without flaws, and although is a bit unbelievable (I don't think this is a true story; however, it very well might be) it is very convincing.
The preformances are exellent, the best of which is definitely from Stephen Dorff, who plays P.K. His accent is wonderful considering I'm almost sure he's American. Mueller-Stahl as Doc is obviously spectacular, as always, and the acting of Morgan Freeman, who plays Piet... well, I needn't say more! The story is deeply stirring, sending literal chills down my spine as I watched. While the flakish, yet spunky, character of Maria (P.K.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but flawed April 15, 2003
Format:DVD
Bryce Courtenay must have not been paying attention when he sold the movie rights to his awsome book by the same name. The Power of One is about the flame of independence that burns in each of us that must never be allowed to go out. In the book, it has been bastardized to mean the power that many people have if they are united in purpose.
Don't get me wrong; the movie is still pretty good, with amazing acting, a compelling story, vivid African landscape, and of course Hans Zimmer's music. The first time I saw it, I would have rated it five stars...right up until I read the book. The movie simply can't hold a candle to the book. Half of the movie is constructed around literally one paragraph of the book. It creates characters (including the love interest) out of thin air, while leaving out characters that made Peekay into who he was.
Another reviewer wrote that Peekay was colorblind. Far from it. Peekay knew and understood prejudice from his earliest days, but also understood that prejudice was not limited to color. Zulu looked down on Shangaan; Afrikaner hated English. The overwhelming theme is not racism so much as tribalism. Were they Afrikaners, English, Zulu, etc., or were they South Africans? In the book, Peekay constantly has to balance who he is as an individual with who he is in relationship to society. He MUST maintain his own flame, yet he must also live in society. A far better concept than movie. After all, the perpetrators of apartheid had just as much "Power of One" as the heroes of the movie. So watch the movie, then read the book, and if you're like my wife who was afraid of the book because of the way the movie ends, don't worry; the movie never happens in the book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great movie, following an even greater book.
Published 7 days ago by L. Moore
5.0 out of 5 stars great book. amazing and powerful story
a grea, great book. amazing and powerful story, beautifully told..
Published 14 days ago by sherman koltz
5.0 out of 5 stars DISCOVER COURAGE & BURY YOUR FEAR.
Mother Courage... she was my best and my only friend!
Published 20 days ago by ALANXREED
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
All we can say is "fantastic".... a must see!
Published 26 days ago by Amazon shopper
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great classic and fabulous reader!
Published 1 month ago by katydid
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Amazing story. Inspires me to want to be and do more with my life.
Published 1 month ago by J. Gillis
1.0 out of 5 stars Such a disappointment after reading the book
Such a disappointment after reading the book. The book was character driven, while the movie completely ignored character development. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Linda A. Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars a lot is left out from the book
Original book was way better.
Published 1 month ago by Trish
5.0 out of 5 stars I had this film on VHS. I needed to ...
I had this film on VHS. I needed to upgrade it to DVD. I feel the lessons and motivation it offers to young people are still very relevant after all these years.
Published 1 month ago by Susie Harrington
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Buy
One of the best movies I have ever seen. You have to buy it so you can enjoy it as much.
Published 3 months ago by Movie BUFF
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