“Whenever I despair, I remember that the way of truth and love has always won.”
Mahatma Gandhi (Ben Kingsley) leads his fellow Indians in non-violent protest against British rule.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Candice Bergen Films
- Character Arc
- Folk Heroes
- Historical Drama
- John Gielgud Films
- John Mills Films
- Martin Sheen Films
- Richard Attenborough Films
- Trevor Howard Films
Response to Peary’s Review:
As Peary notes in the beginning of his review, “the man in the loincloth would have been humbled by this epic treatment.” Director Richard Attenborough impressively manages to combine the sweeping magnitude of India’s history, landscapes, and people with a highly personal story — not an easy feat. Gandhi boasts stellar cinematography, a stirring film score by Ravi Shankar, and uniformly excellent acting. Ben Kingsley — portraying Gandhi as “thoughtful, dignified, [and] resolute, [with a] remarkable presence” — deservedly won an Oscar in his first major screen role, and is surrounded on all sides by highly competent co-stars (particularly Rohini Hattangadi as his long-suffering wife).
With that said, however, the film is not perfect. It paints an overly “saintly” picture of Gandhi, and neglects to discuss some of his more controversial stances. In addition, as with any historical film, countless details in Gandhi are inaccurate; viewers would be well-advised to do additional research before taking everything in the movie at face value. Nonetheless, Gandhi remains a truly powerful biopic, one of the finest ever made. Historical inaccuracies aside, it’s difficult not to be moved by the film’s sincerity, and by witnessing the premature, violent death of someone so committed to peaceful resolution.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Ben Kingsley’s truly remarkable performance — after watching him for three hours, it’s difficult to remember what the real Gandhi looked like
- Rohini Hattangadi as Gandhi’s devoted wife, who undergoes a similar shift in social awareness
- Highly realistic crowd scenes with thousands of Indian extras
- A shockingly memorable scene showing protestors in South Africa (including women and children) being massacred by fellow Indians
- Beautiful cinematography of Indian countryside
Absolutely. This epic biopic should be required viewing for everyone, not just film fanatics.
- Historically Relevant
- Noteworthy Performance(s)
- Oscar Winner
(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)