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Sir Ben Kingsley stars as Mohandas Gandhi in Lord Richard Attenborough's riveting biography of the man who rose from simple lawyer to worldwide symbol of peace and understanding. A critical masterpiece, GANDHI is an intriguing story about activism, politics, religious tolerance and freedom. But at the center of it all is an extraordinary man who fought for a nonviolent, peaceful existence, and set an entire nation free. Winner of 8 Academy Awards® including Best Picture, Best Director (Richard Attenborough) and Best Actor (Sir Ben Kingsley), GANDHI's highly acclaimed cast also includes Candice Bergen, Edward Fox, Sir John Gielgud, Roshan Seth and Martin Sheen.
Sir Richard Attenborough's 1982 multiple-Oscar winner (including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor for Ben Kingsley) is an engrossing, reverential look at the life of Mohandas K. Gandhi, who introduced the doctrine of nonviolent resistance to the colonized people of India and who ultimately gained the nation its independence. Kingsley is magnificent as Gandhi as he changes over the course of the three-hour film from an insignificant lawyer to an international leader and symbol. Strong on history (the historic division between India and Pakistan, still a huge problem today, can be seen in its formative stages here) as well as character and ideas, this is a fine film. --Tom Keogh
Stills from Gandhi (click for larger image)
Beyond Gandhi on Amazon.com
Other Oscar Winners at Oscar Central
More Biographies on DVD
The Films of Ben Kingsley
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As others have pointed out, Kingsley is a marvel. He channels Gandhi.
The locations are the other star of the show. This movie could not have been done anywhere else. It makes the stories come alive.
At three hours, it's already super long, but what I would have liked better was to see that Gandhi was not born a god. He was a flawed man who grew into his beliefs. I think that would have painted a stronger message that any man can change the world, but the movie still has a great impact without that.
If only the film was a little deeper, a little more complex, it could have been an all time great epic. As it is, it comes close.
The pluses; the power of the story and the history, and Ben Kingsley's amazing performance, which, somehow, like Gandhi himself, is both modest and incredibly powerful.
The minuses; many of the supporting characters are underdeveloped, sometimes to the point of caricature. Most of the `villains' (the British, the leader of the Muslim separatist movement) are presented as one dimensional cartoons that Gandhi himself probably would have disapproved of as lacking compassion and understanding.
Also, there's a feeling, despite it's 3+hour length, that we really never get to know Gandhi as a human being, not just a "great, historic figure".
The best moments in the film are his moments of self-doubt and questioning, as well as his complex family life, but those are few and far between.
Still, an epic telling of one of the most important, influential and inspiring people of the last 500 years, and well worth seeing.