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Invictus [Blu-ray]

4.5 out of 5 stars 704 customer reviews

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(May 18, 2010)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

What does Nelson Mandela do after becoming president of South Africa? He rejects revenge, forgives oppressors who jailed him 27 years for his fight against apartheid and finds hope of national unity in an unlikely place: the rugby field. Clint Eastwood (named 2009's Best Director by the National Board of Review) directs an uplifting film about a team and a people inspired to greatness. Morgan Freeman (NBR's Best Actor Award winner and Oscar nominee for this role) is Mandela, who asks the national rugby team captain (Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee Matt Damon) and his squad to do the impossible and win the World Cup. Prepare to be moved--and thrilled.

Additional Features

The Invictus Blu-ray special features include an exhaustive "picture-in-picture" option that shows background on the film's production while you're looking at the relevant section in the movie itself; comments come from members of the filmmaking team as well as some of the real-life folks involved in the true story. "Mandela Meets Morgan" (shouldn't that be the other way around?) is a half-hour making-of that includes irresistible footage of Morgan Freeman going to meet the man everybody told him he should play someday, along with Nelson Mandela's delighted response. Freeman confides about his own nervousness, "OK, you're in the presence of greatness--what do you say?" We also learn that the film's single most powerful scene, a visit to the cell Mandela occupied for so many years, was shot on location; a replica had been built on a sound stage to allow for greater camera movement, but Clint Eastwood wisely nixed that idea. "Matt Damon Plays Rugby" is a seven-minute look at Damon's preparation for his athletic role, including his relationship with real-life counterpart François Pienaar. There's also a 22-minute excerpt from Richard Schickel's feature-length doc, The Eastwood Factor, that follows Clint around the Warner back lot. It's all appropriate background stuff for fans of Eastwood's calm, dignified film. --Robert Horton

Special Features

In-depth picture-in-picture: explore the movie's creation with those who lived the real-life saga as well as the cast and filmmakers
Mandela meets Morgan
The Eastwood Factor: Clint Eastwood looks back at his films and career
Matt Damon plays rugby
Invictus music trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon
  • Directors: Clint Eastwood
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (DTS-HD High Res Audio), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: May 18, 2010
  • Run Time: 133 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (704 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,833 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Invictus [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Andrew Desmond VINE VOICE on January 25, 2010
Format: DVD
Turning a story with a sports theme into a good movie is often a challenge. Too often, the viewer is left with clichés. This is not the case with "Invictus". Clint Eastwood as director and producer has crafted a wonderful and moving tale. It deserves a wide audience.

The sport of Rugby Union is little known in America but the use of big name stars such as Morgan Freeman playing Nelson Mandela and Matt Damon playing the South African captain Francois Pienaar works well. They were both truly convincing. Damon in particular seemed to master the Afrikaans accent.

"Invictus" is touching. I frequently found myself almost moved to tears. The story of how Mandela was able to look beyond simple revenge and move forward in the spirit of reconciliation was uplifting. If only other nations could follow this example. Mandela had much to be bitter about but proved that he was a bigger man. In this way, he further condemned apartheid to the dustbin of history where it belongs.

Many people will know the story of the 1995 World Cup. South Africa as the host nation rose from the ranks of relative easy beats to become champions. However, in Clint Eastwood's hands we are provided with more than a simple tale of underdog victory. This is a very tired story. Instead, Eastwood homes in on both the bigger picture and the touching interplay between Mandela and Pienaar. Eastwood is getting better with age. When most men are in retirement at his age, he continues to dazzle. He is an inspiration himself.

Go see this film. Your effort will be rewarded.
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Rugby has never been well publicized in the US. Soccer, although not a ranking sport, receives far more publicity. Therefore, it was knowledge-expanding and stirring to observe the underdog South Africa team's road to a 1995 Rugby cup victory.

The accompanying plot, of course, was the work of Nelson Mandela in using this victory and its team preparation to try to unify South Africa. From our own trip in 1994, when the country was just opening up, we had an idea that there was much unrest and volatility. The nation was still racially divided, although the Apartheid enforced by a distinct white minority had just ended.

Mandela has never received credit for the job he did in keeping South Africa's peace, while trying to encourage foreign investment. He saw that merely seizing white-owned businesses and infrastructure would only be looting of a fixed amount of wealth. No growth could result from the types of activities that were occurring in Zimbabwe and Mozambique, where white minorities had been ousted from power.

As the new President of South Africa, representing an overwhelming black majority, Mandela took a long term view of what was needed. He alienated a considerable portion of his own party to implement his program of racial reconciliation.

The movie provides an exceptional, well integrated blend of sports and far-seeing political strategy.

Some critics have heaped praise on Invictus, claiming that this represents director Clint Eastwood's work "at the top of his game." Other critics have carped about what they see as "trite" dialog. Perhaps if Mandela had been ranting against his racist predecessors and, even more, against the US, they would have enjoyed the dialog more.
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'Invictus' is a Latin term meaning invincible, or unconquerable. It is also the title of an important poem, one which Nelson Mandela found inspiring during his long walk to victory, penned in the 1800s of the same title, which includes these famous words:

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Mandela faced perhaps even more formidable challenges upon becoming the first post-Apartheid president of South Africa than he had trying to end Apartheid -- how does one manage this kind of change, this kind of forgiveness, this kind of reconciliation? Perhaps the most important scene in the film for me was the one in which Mandela discusses with Francois Pienaar, the South African rugby team's captain, what kind of leadership philosophy one needs to have, particularly when faced with a seemingly hopeless task that most have written off as unobtainable. Leadership by example is important here; courage in the face of adversity and perseverance even as all appear negative is also key.

Mandela is played admirably by Morgan Freeman; Freeman has been a friend to Mandela for many years, and even so found the role daunting. How does one portray a living legend? Francois Pienaar is played by Matt Damon; Damon recounts in press information for the film his meeting with Pienaar, and how Pienaar, an actual rugby player, is so much larger physically than Damon (who, despite his athletic build, is of a more average size). Clint Eastwood, now a master film maker, was able through his camera work to disguise this fact -- rugby players in general are larger than average!
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