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This film is based on the life of Mahatma Gandhi, the man who led India's movement for independence from the British colonists and succeeded through means of non violence and civil disobedience. The film received eleven Academy Award nominations with a total of eight wins, including Best Actor (Ben Kingsley), Best Picture, Best Director (Richard Attenborough), Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Costume Design and Best Art Direction.

Director(s): Richard Attenborough
Writer(s): John Briley
Cast: Ben Kingsley, Candice Bergen, Edward Fox, John Gielguid, Martin Sheen, John Mills, Trevor
Release Date: 1982   
Keyword: non-violence
Target Age: Rated PG   Category: real history
Documentary: no
Language: English   Reviewer's Name: Johanna McCloy


In the middle of the film, Gandhi and his wife re-enact their early marriage for a Western visitor, solemnly, warmly, and shyly, in a ritual of India's culture and a very personal act. Gandhi shrugs, "We were thirteen," when their marriage was arranged. Not then old enough for love, they felt it grow. Gandhi is fully human, just as his marriage is a living act. The film, a huge human mural with an actual cast of thousands (and not overwhelmed by its production, as the man wasn't awed by the British), is a special labor of much love, and keeps a human thread throughout its span of decades. Attenborough worked for years to fund it, and considered many lead actors. But Kingsley's Gandhi, keenly observant and soft-spoken, comes across with the force of moral strength, making the role powerfully his, in Gandhi's spirit.

Gandhi's family moved to South Africa in 1893, when Gandhi was twenty-three, there enduring racial segregation, despite Gandhi's law degree. As Caucasians, Indians "qualified," but not for full citizenship. Gandhi reacts naively in an early scene, as a young man who barely knew about racism. His response becomes nonviolence; he will find and uphold rightness, disregarding the consequences to himself.

Back in India, then a teeming nation of millions, run as if by divine right by a few hundred British never invited there, Gandhi and his followers use civil disobedience. At first ignored, then scorned, they're violently dealt with. In a painful scene, British soldiers beat waves of Gandhi's men to the ground with clubs. But convinced that sheer morality can free his nation, as it did at last, Gandhi replies, "You've been guests in our home long enough. Now we'd like you to leave."

Kingsley finds and holds the right note. More than a moral story with a happy ending, the film shows Gandhi's heart breaking at bloodshed between Hindus and Muslims in liberated India, and the partition of Pakistan. Few Americans understand Gandhi or know why he was great, such is our ignorance of India's history. His victory, one of the greatest ever, liberated India nonviolently. With the threat of nuclear war still upon us, the movie reminds us that we're capable of the most extraordinary, wonderful achievements through our imagination, will, and sense of right.
Director(s): Richard Attenborough
Writer(s): Richard Attenborough
Cast: Ben Knigsley
Release Date: 1982   
Keyword: Gandhi, civil disobedience, the Raj (and end of the Raj)
Target Age: 12+   Category: human rights
Documentary: no
Language: English   Reviewer's Name: Micah
Review: http://MRQE
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