December 11th, 2009

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Still of Matt Damon in InvictusStill of Matt Damon in InvictusClint Eastwood and Mace Neufeld at event of InvictusStill of Matt Damon in InvictusStill of Morgan Freeman in InvictusStill of Matt Damon in Invictus

Nelson Mandela, in his first term as the South African President, initiates a unique venture to unite the apartheid-torn land: enlist the national rugby team on a mission to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

Release Year: 2009

Rating: 7.4/10 (54,970 voted)

Critic's Score: 74/100

Director: Clint Eastwood

Stars: Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon, Tony Kgoroge

The film tells the inspiring true story of how Nelson Mandela joined forces with the captain of South Africa's rugby team to help unite their country. Newly elected President Mandela knows his nation remains racially and economically divided in the wake of apartheid. Believing he can bring his people together through the universal language of sport, Mandela rallies South Africa's rugby team as they make their historic run to the 1995 Rugby World Cup Championship match.

Writers: Anthony Peckham, John Carlin

Morgan Freeman - Nelson Mandela
Matt Damon - Francois Pienaar
Tony Kgoroge - Jason Tshabalala
Patrick Mofokeng - Linga Moonsamy
Matt Stern - Hendrick Booyens
Julian Lewis Jones - Etienne Feyder
Adjoa Andoh - Brenda Mazibuko
Marguerite Wheatley - Nerine
Leleti Khumalo - Mary
Patrick Lyster - Mr. Pienaar
Penny Downie - Mrs. Pienaar
Sibongile Nojila - Eunice
Bonnie Henna - Zindzi
Shakes Myeko - Minister of Sport
Louis Minnaar - Springbok Coach (as Louis Minaar)

Taglines: He was a prisoner who became a president. To unite his country, he asked one man to do the impossible.


Official Website: Warner Bros. [France] | Warner Bros. [Japan] |

Release Date: 11 December 2009

Filming Locations: Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

Box Office Details

Budget: $60,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $8,611,147 (USA) (13 December 2009) (2125 Screens)

Gross: $37,479,778 (USA) (21 March 2010)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

The word "invictus" is Latin for "unbeaten". It is also the name of a short poem written in 1875 by William Ernest Henley, a British poet. The poem was written while Henley was in hospital having to have his stricken foot amputated. Nelson Mandela is heard saying lines from the poem.

Factual errors: In the World Cup, after the Australia match, the Springboks' next two matches are shown to be against Western Samoa and France. In fact, these were the quarter-final and semi-final matches; the Springboks played Romania and Canada after Australia in the pool stage. (This may have been deliberate on the part of the filmmakers; the punch-up at the end of the Canada match would not have been in the spirit of the film).

[first lines]
High School Boy: [seeing passing motorcade] Who is it, sir?
High School Coach: It's the terrorist Mandela, they let him out. Remember this day boys, this is the day our country went to the dogs.

User Review

As a South African, I can tell you the entertaining, inspiring and enjoyable "Invictus" exceeded all my expectations.

Rating: 8/10

As a South African who saw this film on Friday morning, I can tell you you the entertaining, inspiring and enjoyable "Invictus" exceeded all my expectations.

It really is a true story of epic proportions yet it's told with an intimate feel, and it is at least 98% accurate to the events of the time. Clint gets all the big details and so many of the little details right, but he never goes over the top. He directs with minimum fuss and achieves maximum effect, just letting the powerful story unfold without getting in its way.

I watched the 1995 Rugby World Cup and saw Madiba come out in the Springbok jersey. It was a wondrous sight. And when Joel Stransky slotted that drop kick over in the dying minutes and the Boks won, I wept and cheered along with everyone else. After the match millions of South African - of all races - celebrated. It was an amazing time. It was the birth of the "Rainbow Nation". Nelson Mandela is the greatest and most beloved of all South Africans. The man is a living legend, but so human and real. When he was President he brought hope to all South Africans, white and black. We, in my country, will never stop loving this incredible man. Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman did South Africa and our beloved Madiba proud. Francois Pienaar is also an amazing South African, an intelligent, big-hearted rugby played who always led by example, and Matt Damon's performance as him was superb. I was glued to the screen for every second of the film's running time (I didn't even move from my seat until the final credit rolled and the house lights came on), and I was moved to tears on several occasions. The final scene was especially touching.

Freeman's performance was magical and I can see him getting as Oscar nomination. If you think his Mandela is too cool to be true, think again. Mandela really is this cool. A brave and intelligent man whose courage and strength of character should serve as an example to people all over the world. After being unjustly imprisoned for nearly 30 years by a cruel and repressive regime, he emerged to run a country and teach its people the meaning of forgiveness and reconciliation.

I thoroughly recommend the authentically detailed, historically accurate "Invictus" to film lovers, Eastwood fans, Nelson Mandela fans and sports fans everywhere in the world. South Africans would be crazy to miss this excellent film, but it deserves to be a hit all over the globe. Let's hope it is.

Viva Clint Eastwood, viva Morgan Freeman, viva Madiba.

PS. I'm a huge fan of Clint Eastwood as both an actor and a director.

Of the films Eastwood has directed, my favorites, in no particular order, are "Unforgiven", "Million Dollar Baby", "Gran Torino", "The Outlaw Josey Wales", "Letters From Iwo Jima", "The Bridges of Madison County","Bird" and "Invictus". Yes, it's really that good. "Invictus" is another winner from Clint. He just seems to get better with age. What a creative roll he is currently on.

PPS. "Invictus" is one of the best sporting movies I have ever seen. But it's also about more than sport.

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