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Beautiful Film
Rod-8829 January 2002
"The object of this massive tribute died as he had always lived, without wealth, without property, without official title or office. Mahatma Gandhi was not the commander of armies, nor the ruler of vast lands. He could not boast any scientific achievement or artistic gift. Yet men, governments, dignitaries from all over the world, have joined hands today to pay homage to the little brown man in the loin cloth, who led his country to freedom."

This quote is from the funeral scene in the 1982 film "Gandhi". Richard Attenborough directed this massive epic about the man that freed India. The film opens with Gandhi's assassination. The next scene, his funeral, is one of the greatest scenes in cinematic history. Attenborough managed to recreate Gandhi's funeral on January 31st, 1981, the 33rd anniversary of the actual funeral. It is estimated that nearly 400,000 people were on hand to be a part of the filming the recreation. This film was made before CGI (computer generated images), so the funeral scene is probably the last live action crowd of that magnitude that will ever be filmed.

Mahatma Gandhi's message of non-violent resistance is delivered in an interesting and enthralling body of art. This film has made and will make millions of people aware of the little brown man that took on the British Empire and won. "Gandhi" serves both as entertainment and an important historical record of one of the most important figures in history.

Ben Kingsley played Gandhi. He was the perfect for the role. He resembled the real Gandhi. He was young enough to portray Gandhi as a young man. He is a British actor that nailed the British influenced Indian accent. He is a wonderful actor that was patient and humble with such an important part. And he was a relatively unknown actor at the time, so the "big-time actor" persona did not get in the way of viewing the film. He did win both the Academy Award and Golden Globe for best actor, for this role, which I agree he deserved. He became Gandhi.

The cinematography was outstanding. Attenborough filmed "Gandhi" on location in India. The scenes of India are spectacular, and India is very much another character in the film. This film is as much about India itself as it is about Gandhi. Attenborough shows the audience the people of India from its countryside to the vast city of Calcutta. It is suggested by Kingsley, on the DVD, that Attenborough had a difficult time with the elite class in India at the time of filming. They were against the making of such a film by an Englishman. Undeterred by their negative thinking, he persevered to enlist thousands of Indians to help make this film. Every crowd scene, he used real Indians from the area. Attenborough also won both the Academy Award and Golden Globe for best direction.

This movie is a must see for everyone. It should be required viewing in high schools, as part of History class. The fight against prejudice will forever be relevant. It is also a beautiful work of art. This movie is not tainted by the embellishment of Hollywood (see "Pearl Harbor" for that). Of course, it would have been hard to screw up a movie about such a great man. 10/10
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Took nearly twenty years to make - not a single minute was wasted
khatcher-224 December 2001
Here indeed is one of the great films of the 20th Century about one of the greatest men of the 20th Century. Ben Kingsley's interpretation of the Mahatma must go down in history as one of the most perfect cinema rôles ever carried out. Throughout the long film you forget you are watching an actor playing the part of a great man in history: you are watching the real Gandhi. A gigantic performance indeed. Richard Attenborough's patient and perfect directing added all the superlatives possible to make a crowning achievement, transporting biographic films into another dimension.

It is all there: from the most intimate and poignant portrait to the incredible crowd scenes, beautifully captured in the most painstaking photography. You do not just watch the scenes unfold – you live them, you feel them, so captivating they are; and Ravi Shankar's music tugs at you, spellbinds you, forces you into sympathy, admiration and so many other feelings.

Enthralling: how such a cinematographic work of art can reach such proportions is truly amazing; this film is nothing less than a miracle. During 1971 I travelled a good bit around India; I constantly had to apologise to energetic Indians who approached me on the subject of the British Raj. I had not even been born. But as a young and unappointed ambassador, I felt it my duty to bow my head in that country which is a microcosm of the whole planet. Thanks to this film, `Gandhi', Attenborough and Kingsley have said just about all there was to say.

< For men may come and men may go, but Gandhi goes on forever >
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A great epic; Kingsley's best performance
The movie man5 December 1999
As soon as I finished watching Gandhi, I thought to myself "This movie had to have won Best Picture." I think it's one of the best epics of all time. It masterfully tells one of the most important stories of the 20th century, that of India's struggle to free itself, spearheaded by one of the most extraordinary men of all time, Mahatma Gandhi. I would be hard pressed to name anything lacking about it. Direction, cinematography, costumes, they're all great. And Ben Kingsley! Without a doubt his portrayal of Gandhi is one of the best performances of his career, if not THE best. Playing the pacifist Indian lawyer-turned-leader couldn't have been an easy task, and I don't think anyone could have pulled it off as well as he did. This movie deserves all the praise anyone gives it and more. Excellent.
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A true epic, in every sense of the word
quixoboy15 September 2003
Very, VERY few films have had the distinct ability to move and inspire me to the point where the effect is almost life-altering. "Gandhi" - the unbelievable, first-rate biopic on the historical figure - is truly one of those films, no question whatsoever. An unsurprising sweep for the 1983 Academy Awards, this is without a doubt one of the last real "epic" motion pictures ever.

Chronicling the rich, unforgettable life of a one Mohandas K. "Mahatma" Gandhi - played to shocking perfection by the wonderful Sir Ben Kingsley - this is a film that I can say really, deeply affected me with its power, its scale, and of course, its timeless message of love and non-violence. As a matter of fact, ever since I first saw the film, and became much more aware of the back story, I can also say that Gandhi is now one of my biggest role models in life. I cannot fully express how much this great man's way of thinking - his words, his struggles, his accomplishments - has affected my own, for I am now a practicing pacifist. I am a firm believer in the value of non-violent protest, and have tried my best to apply that philosophy to most situations in my life. It has worked wonders for me, and has really changed how I view the world in terms of human nature and so forth. Like I said, VERY few films can do something like that to me.
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Gandhi's Umpteenth Fast
Chris_Middlebrow18 September 2001
In her diary entry of Saturday, February 27, 1943, Anne Frank wrote in passing (translated from the Dutch): "The freedom-loving Gandhi of India is holding his umpteenth fast."

It's a comment at once mildly comical and respectfully admiring, one I think the Mahatma would have appreciated with a twinkle and a laugh. He and Miss Frank are linked with the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., as the civil rights spokesperson-giants of the 20th century. And civil rights, and the reversal of the institutionalized violation of the same, are a large part of what the last century's politics were all about. Movie viewers are apt to find in the diary remark a distillation of their experience of the Richard Attenborough film. A recommendation is that it be followed by rentals of Saving Private Ryan and The Long Walk Home, which together convey the investment put into the respective causes the trio represented.

At the beginning of Gandhi we confront these words: "No man's life can be encompassed in one telling. There is no way to give each year its allotted weight, to include each event, each person who helped to shape a lifetime. What can be done is to be faithful in spirit to the record, and to try to find one's way to the heart of the man...."

John Briley's screenplay accomplishes that faithfulness, and one probably has to be a scholar of the subject to sort out what is his and what is Gandhi's. Not that it really is of relevance, given what we learn from the movie about the value of eclecticism. Looking out over the bay at Porbandar, Gandhi (Ben Kingsley) tells Walker (Martin Sheen): "The temple where you were yesterday is of my family's sect, the Pranami. It was Hindu of course, but the priests used to read from the Muslim Koran and the Hindu Gita, moving from one to the other as though it mattered not at all which book was read as long as God was worshipped." In a preceding scene, similarly, confronted by young toughs on a South African street, Gandhi defends for his Christian friend Charlie (Ian Charleson) the New Testament intelligence of turning the other cheek. A worried Charlie states, "I think perhaps the phrase was used metaphorically. I don't think our Lord meant...," and is interrupted by a movie shot of the approaching menace. Gandhi replies calmly, "I'm not so certain. I have thought about it a great deal. I suspect he meant you must show courage--be willing to take a blow--several blows--to show you will not strike back--nor will you be turned aside.... And when you do that it calls upon something...that makes...hate for you diminish and...respect increase. I think Christ grasped that and I...have seen it work."

The script is replete with these kinds of memorable words, and with others that reflect its subject's political acumen and strategical cleverness.

Kingsley is sublime in the lead role. Saeed Jaffrey, Roshan Seth, and Alyque Padamsee do well as Gandhi's pro-independence collaborators. Ditto, Athol Fugard ("Assuming we are in agreement?") and John Gielgud ("Salt?") as two of his adversaries. Charleson, in his clerical collar, looks like he has walked in off the set of the preceding year's Academy Award winner, Chariots of Fire (where he played the Scottish sprinter-missionary, Eric Liddell).

This movie won eight Oscars, with Attenborough, Briley, and Kingsley all earning honors. No other film biography I ever have seen works so well. It will stand the test of time and inform multiple generations. One doubts remakes will be necessary.
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Attenborough offers a tour de force performances…
Nazi_Fighter_David19 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
There is a sanctimonious air to the films of Sir Richard Samuel Attenborough: the earnest desire that fair play is seen to be done… Attenborough attempts to humanize his personage by exposing the widening gaps between India's two main religious communities, but he seemed to be quite forced to ignore some of the Indian characters in favor of Western ones, as some of the very important episodes of the film were seen through the eyes of two American reporters...

Attenborough, a filmmaker who can rival David Lean for the big set piece without losing a sense of human scale, presents the political events with real dramatic impact...His big challenge was to give the film an epic quality… Still, while Attenborough's endless seas of extras testify to his ability to order crowds, his fine motion picture was seen very believable and realistic, with enough insight either into its sublimely serene hero's mind or into the complex realities of Indian history and politics…

British actor Ben Kingsley portrays the spiritual leader with deep simplicity... Kingsley's Mahatma is amazing, so beautiful in its honesty... Kingsley burns with a strong and purer flame, particularly in the way he ages across the five decades which the film depicts... His wetly blazing eyes as a young lawyer in South Africa, his black hair and immense energy, gives way to the bald small modest man, in shawl, loin cloth, steel-rimmed glasses, frequently thrown in jail by the British authorities...

Kingsley takes the qualities and details instructed by Attenborough: Gandhi's fiercely intelligent aura; Gandhi's rational and calm reaction to inflamed emotion; Gandhi's unshaken beliefs and principles; Gandhi's warm smile...

A distinguished cast of characters surround Academy Award-Winning Ben Kingsley as Gandhi: Candice Bergen, the Life magazine American photographer whom Gandhi conveys with a sense of humor; John Gielgud, the Viceroy who decides to ignore the man in loin cloth; Edward Fox, the brutal English general who orders his troops to fire at the thickest part of the crowds; Trevor Howard, the Judge who behaves with great consideration, standing and nodding respectfully to Gandhi in the dock before taking his seat; Geraldine James, the adopted daughter, blinded by love for Ghandi; and Martin Sheen, the American reporter of the New York Times who makes Gandhi laugh: 'It would be uncivil for us to let you make the long trip for nothing.'

"Gandhi" has a rare combination of deep character penetration and enormous epic sweep with "Lawrence of Arabia." But while 'Lawrence of Arabia' is about a solitary adventurer, 'Gandhi' is a moving portrait of a character with a disarming humility, who spins cotton, walks the country roads, meditates in front of the ocean, or scoops salt from the beach... Throughout the picture, which takes place over a half century, one has a sense of a man discovering his own unique dimensions... Perhaps this is the secret of Attenborough's 'Gandhi,' that at the bottom of all the tumultuous action is a remarkable protagonist, an incredible individual about whom one cares, and feels attract to...
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Old-Time Hollywood Epic Redux.
tfrizzell24 September 2005
The life of the legendary man from India (dominant Oscar-winner Ben Kingsley, who was a total unknown theatrical newcomer at the time) who gave up work as an attorney to defy British rule throughout the first half of the 20th Century before falling to an assassin's bullet in 1948. Long, opulent, breath-taking and completely memorable take on one of the most important historical figures the world has ever known. Oscar-winning director Richard Attenborough obviously studied David Lean's epic film-making masterpieces from the 1950s and 1960s as we have similarities galore with "The Bridge on the River Kwai" and much more importantly "Lawrence of Arabia". An all-star cast of very old-time Hollywood legends (John Gielgud, Trevor Howard, John Mills) and relative newcomers who were on the rise (Candice Bergen, Martin Sheen, Edward Fox, Nigel Hawthorne and a super quick glance of a very young Daniel Day-Lewis) blend in a desert landscape of cinematic brilliance. Make no mistake of it though, "Gandhi" works because of Kingsley as he weaves a colorful tapestry of cinematic performing ungodliness with a totally convincing take on his role and the complex subject matter. Running nearly 190 minutes, "Gandhi" still just uses flash-points to under-score the importance and significance of the major topics within. Those familiar with advanced world history will likely get more out of the film, but still a movie whose glitter continues to shine as bright as ever. 5 stars out of 5.
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Better than you'd think...
Speedy_Lube21 March 2003
Thinking back, I suppose I have now seen many (sometimes good) films that follow the same recipe: One man makes a difference.

But this film is an exception in so many ways:

1) It was made in 1982, so it came before many of them.

2) It has amazingly well-displayed historical significance.

3) Great performances in a near-flawless, frank scrpit.

This film does not bother the viewer with an opening montage of scenes of the main character at various ages ("Dragon", I'm looking at you). This is an amazing film that anyone of any religion, race, or nationality can and should appreciate. With its subtle relevance to today's situations in that part of the world, this is a history buff must-see.

Watch this film and see great performances (an obvious oscar went to Ben Kingsly), excellent cinematography, and a wonderful inspiring story, whose essence soars well above the corny, do-gooder mentality of other pitiful efforts of "bio-pics".

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Great Man, Great Story, Great Film!
djecatepec30 July 2003
This is one that absolutely must go on everyone's "must see" list. One of the truly greatest movies ever made. For those who found it "boring" or "too long," you folks need to just stick to stuff like "Star Wars," "Terminator," "Spiderman," or perhaps reality TV would be more your cup of tea.

For those who like to actually see real human history come to life on the screen, "Gandhi" is a true masterpiece for all times. A excellent summary of one of the greatest and most interesting lives of the 20th. century!

I find it odd that aside from a fine performance in "Shindler's List," that Ben Kingsley has really been a major disappointment as an actor following his role as "Gandhi." Perhaps like George C. Scott in "Patton," he was destined to play just one truly great role as an actor. And this was it!

For those who keep mentioning that Kingsley is "English," well, yes he is, but he is also "Anglo-Indian." His father is from India. In fact his father was born in the same small sea-coast town as Mahatma Gandhi! While filming the movie in the small towns of rural India, there were those older people who actually remembered seeing the original Gandhi who collapsed in shock when they saw Kingsley in his makeup. Hundreds became convinced that he actually was the Mahatma, returned! Also interesting is that Kingsley was born just after the asassination of Gandhi. I mean that's just a tad spooky, no....?
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Making of Mahatma's movie
omlakhani2 October 2004
Picture this. Gandhiji walks in a court, accused of influencing the people and starting a movement, the Non Cooperation movement, immediately after Gandhiji broke the fast he started to curb the movement which had assumed violence after Chauri Chora. We walks in alone, unescorted and as soon as he walks in there is an unexplainable silence in the court, and to everyone's surprise the Judge, stands up in respect of the accused ! Seeing him do this the barristers and rest also stand up. This scene though may seem insignificant on paper is one without which this entire movie would have been incomplete. To know why……read on !

On day of 2nd October they play this movie every year on DD National, Richard Attenborough's Gandhi. I never watched it whenever it was shown since 20 years of 2nd Octobers I had seen. The first few years because I couldn't understand and the next few because I felt that though it's a multiple Oscar winner, how could at the end of the day, a British person understand and do justice to an Indian icon ? After so many years I finally broke the ice and saw the movie in totality right from the first scene of Nathuram Godse, to Hey Ram, and I understood that Gandhi was as British, as much a part of Britain's history as he was of India's, in fact an outsider judged the person better than we ourselves could, hence without doubt this is a masterpiece, because it was always meant to be.

Richard Attenborough like all directors worth their salt uses visual aid as a medium to replace conventional dialogue delivery at times. A picture is worth a thousand words and a scene without words is worth a million. Like the first scene I described and others. In one scene towards the end of the movie, Gandhiji starts a fast until death to stop the communal riots post independence and Nehru goes to meet him. A crowd had gathered near his residence and one of the person in the crowd shouted a suggestion, 'Why don't they kill Gandhi ?', Nehru furiously jumps into the crowd to search for this person and the camera moves in the crowd and for a briefest time and quite unmistakably you spot Nathuram Godse in the crowd. This made me think, 'hey this is what I call good cinema!'.

So what about the outsider theory ? Well you see if Rajkumar Santoshi, Yash Chopra, Raj Kapoor or Mani Ratnam had made this movie they would have fallen under the pressure and the unbearably weight of historical facts, Richard had that advantage. Someone quite ignorant about Indian culture was telling a story of an Indian to an audience even more ignorant. What I mean is that there are things which are skewed up, characters gone wrong and famous words mouthed by someone else. For example the writer has messed the character of the Patel Siblings. Vallabhbhai Patel was never an extrovert and never as polished as shown in the movie, but someone else was and it was his more Birtish, yet less famous elder brother Vithalbhai who in fact introduced Vallabh to Indian movement. Again it is a known fact that Vallabhai continued the Dandi march after Gandhi's arrest, the fact which is ignored. Once again the characters of Kriplani, Maulana Azad etc are all skewed. But at the end of it works, why, because Richard's view is focused. I would notice these mistakes because I am an Indian aware of this, a person in England may never find out and even if he does he would consider it as trivial because this is a story of Gandhi and not the Indian freedom struggle. People say that unnecessary importance is given to foreign characters in Gandhi's life like Margret, Rev. Charlie, Walker, Miraben, but I would say it is necessary because these people did influence Gandhi and made him an international personality which he is.

But before I end my take on this movie I must comment on the characterization. Starting with Ben Kinsley as Gandhi. To tell you the truth when I first saw him as Mohandas KG in the train I was shocked, he didn't look like Gandhi which I imagined, but as the movie goes ahead I changed my opinion. Ben worked because of multiple reasons. The first he is a British Gujarati, Gandhi was gujarati who did his law in England so both speak the same language, Partly British English with unmistakable Gujarati overtones. Second all other characterization of Gandhis in the history are shown as fragile creatures without clothes. Ben did carry some more body than others and which made Gandhi look more real , more alive. Also he had an infectious little smile which works because Gandhi in many was a jovial happy person who smiled a lot , a kind smile of calm which no one but Ben Kinsley brought out ! Of the other characters, Martin Sheen as Walker was impressive, so were Lord Erwin, Gen Dyer, Margrets, Nehru and Miraben's characters. Rohini Hattangidi as Kasturba does a remarkable job too, though she was shown a little more extroverted than Kasturba was , maybe.

As a whole to sum it up, this is one hell of a beautiful movie experience. If you missed it this 2nd October don't forget to tune into it the next.
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One of the greatest men of the 20th century.
Tom Murray26 July 2001
Warning: Spoilers
The film, Gandhi, is Richard Attenborough's tribute to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948). Although it won eight Academy Awards, Including Best Director and Picture, the film has been criticized for a variety of reasons by people who did not realize that Gandhi himself was the greatness of the film. Ben Kingsley portrayed Gandhi to perfection. The Indian music was by the great Ravi Shankar.

Gandhi was an Indian lawyer, educated in England, who entered the political arena in South Africa to fight against the treatment of Indian immigrants, uniting both Hindus and Muslims in the cause. Everyone, even his enemies, were impressed by his willingness to suffer, even die, at the hands of those in power, rather than back down from a just cause. He won the victory by insisting that his followers use civil disobedience and eschew all violence, thereby depriving the authorities of a justification for violent suppression. Gandhi explained it: "When I despair, I remember that all through history, the way of truth and love has always won. There have been murderers and tyrants, and for a time they can seem invincible. But in the end they always fall. Think of it, always."

He returned to India after the victory to become that country's spiritual leader. He led the struggle for independence from Britain, still insisting on non-violent means. The goal of independence was achieved but the Hindus and Muslims did not unite as they had in South Africa. Instead, they caused India to be split into India, Pakistan and East Pakistan, which later separated from Pakistan as Bangladesh. Gandhi was assassinated by a Hindu fanatic.

Two decades later, his methods were used by Martin Luther King in the fight against segregation in the United States of America. Gandhi and King were both willing to die for a cause and they both did but even now, in the next century, there is still some hatred between Hindus and Muslims in Kashmir state and between blacks and whites in America. Where is the next Gandhi? Where is the next Martin Luther King? Such men are still needed all over the world.
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Gandhi: A true warrior without any weapon.
wetNdry13 December 2003
First to understand Gandhi's principles you must read his autobiography. He has admitted in his book that he was having sex while his father was dying. He admitted this when he was known as Mahatma (a great soul). Who can dare to admit such a thing. He vowed that he will never lie in his life. Is it possible for you and me not to lie in life? He took vow about his cloths and wore same cloths (he was half naked in those cloths) while he was in London in winter!!! Just imagine a freedom fight against Britain without any kind of weapon or violence!!! And he was successful. He gave freedom to India without any army. In fact his principles should be followed in today's world. I must say this movie was not enough to describe his principle. He was more than movie GANDHI. No body can capture his principles in a movie. For me he is like GOD because of his principles.

GANDHI: " My life is my message". " I have nothing new to teach this world, truth and non- violence are as old as hills".
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Splendid biopic about the lawyer who became the prestigious leader of the Indian revolts against the British through his philosophy of non-violence
ma-cortes31 October 2013
Biography of Mohandas K. 'Mahatma Gandhi' , the lawyer who became the famed leader of the Indian revolts against the British rule through his philosophy of nonviolent protest . Gandhi (excellent Ben Kingsley) realizes that the laws are biased against Indians and decides to start a non-violent protest campaign for the rights of all Indians in South Africa . Gandhi returns to India in 1915, when he has now abandoned his western clothing for more basic self-made garb of shawls and loincloths . Too weak from World War II to continue enforcing its will in India, Britain finally grants India's independence . Indians celebrate this victory, but their troubles are far from over. He is asked by prominent Indian figures of the day, such as Jawaharlal Nehru (Roshan Seth) , Sardar Vallabhai Patel (Saeed Jaffrey) and Mohammad Ali Jinnah (Padamsee) , to join the fight for Indian independence from the British, despite some within that group believing Gandhi's methods ineffective . Religious tensions between Hindus and Muslims erupt into nation-wide violence. Gandhi declares a hunger strike . All events leading to his assassination in 1948 .

It's an enjoyable historical drama story where the protagonist , Ben Kingsley , is awesome . Ben Kingsley looked so much like Mohandas K. Gandhi, many natives thought him to be Gandhi's ghost , Kingsley was recommended for the role by Harold Pinter, who had seen him in a play. This exciting , overproduced and immortal story is plenty of emotion , realized in documentary style , though sometimes results to be overlong . It is an epic and moving tale , as the starring fights violent forces , taking on the risks to survive in a world surrounded by hatred , racism and intolerance . The script relies heavily on the Gandhi life but it doesn't originate boring . It's a brilliant story and though is slow-moving , isn't tiring . Ample support cast formed by notorious secondaries playing brief roles , many of them performing historical characters , such as Candice Bergen as photographer Margaret Bourke-White , Edward Fox as General Dyer , John Gielgud as Lord Irwin , Trevor Howard as Judge Broomfield , John Mills as The Viceroy , and Indian actors such as Saeed Jaffrey as Sardar Patel , Alyque Padamsee as Mohammed Ali Jinnah , Om Puri , Amrish Puri as Khan and Roshan Seth as Pandit Nehru . Furthermore , uncredited Daniel Day Lewis , Dominic Guard , Richard Griffiths , Bernard Hill and John Ratzenberger's brief scene ; being the last film of John Boxer and Sir John Clements. Lush cinematography woven into a rich and exotic tapestry from Ronnie taylor and Billy Williams . Sensitive score by George Fenton , including musical sounds with Hindu motives by Ravi Shankar . The picture was stunningly directed by Richard Attenborough , though no studio was interested in financing the film . Richard cited that most of the financing were solicited from Joseph E. Levine whom agreed to finance in exchange of Attenborough directing A bridge too far and Magic. Richard won the Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director for this film .

The motion picture was correctly based on historic events , these are the following : Gandhi returns to India in 1915 from South Africa , there he carries out the 'salt march' , he subsequently declares a hunger strike, saying he will not eat until the fighting stops . The fighting does stop eventually, but the country is divided . The actual division between the two new dominions was done according to what has come to be known as the 3 June Plan or Mountbatten Plan . The border between India and Pakistan was determined by a British Government-commissioned report usually referred to as the Radcliffe Line after the London lawyer, Sir Cyril Radcliffe, who wrote it. During 1947, after 350 years of occupying India, the British decide to leave, but not before separating Islamic Pakistan and secular India. Millions of Muslims crossed from India to Pakistan, while an equal number of Hindus, Sikhs, and Christians crossed over from the other side .Pakistan came into being with two non-contiguous enclaves, East Pakistan (today Bangladesh) and West Pakistan, separated geographically by India. India was formed out of the majority Hindu regions of the colony, and Pakistan from the majority Muslim areas. Countries of Modern Indian sub-continent . On 18 July 1947, the British Parliament passed the Indian Independence Act that finalized the partition arrangement. The newly formed governments were completely unequipped to deal with migrations of such staggering magnitude, and massive violence and slaughter occurred on both sides of the border. Estimates of the number of deaths range around roughly 500,000, with low estimates at 200,000 and high estimates 1.000.000. Gandhi spent his last days trying to bring about peace between both nations. He thereby angers many dissidents on both sides, one of whom finally gets close enough to assassinate him.
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how many movies have changed your life?
welladjusted8427 July 2003
this movie did. seeing how gandhi sacrificed his all and still never gave in to hate or violence changed me. i now choose to practice peace and understanding in my life. that's how good this movie is. it is probably the greatest film ever made
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'ghandi' in 2001
karmela30 December 2001
this great epic has - without any doubt - exquisite value as an achievement in the field of moviemaking. the movie is really great by every means and has definitely deserved all the nine academy awards it had won back in 1982. one watches it, breathless, for all three hours, as if it was just 15 minutes long. but there's more. after 9-11 and all the things we have seen happen recently, this great biopic about this extraordinary man is especially worth recommending. it is worth seeing especially for this one line ghandi says in the film: 'eye for an eye will make the whole world blind'.
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It's a great film
ANIL-82 June 1999
I have seen this movie many times . Each time i was focussing on certain fine aspects . Believe me when i say that any student of makeup / editing should have a look at this film . When Ben (Gandhi) was in Delhi to shoot this film , Attenbourough filled entire wall space in Ben's hotel room with photographs of Gandhi in various moods to get the mannerisms of Gandhi imbibed into Ben. And i certainly feel stories such as this accompany every great film .

Coming to makeup ... during closing stages of this film the old and aging Gandhi is seen ( through Ben) with the nerves on forehead clearly bulging and two of Gandhi's teeth missing. Yes ... they have gone to that length of accuracy ...

And the PIECE DE RESITANCE of the entire film is the particular scene in which row after row of Indian freedom fighters march towards a salt factory to stop government from running it . Each of these rows of people are lathi charged . They fall to ground --- are taken aside by volunteers and their wounds are attended to . But the new row of fighters are ready and march on.... this truly captures the non-violent nature of freedom fight...
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Kingsley's best work
dbohr24 July 2002
Ben Kingsley is an outstanding actor, and portraying Gandhi is his most outstanding work. He shows the young man shocked to see what is happening to his fellow Indians who go to Africa, the idealist trying to form the Ashram in his home country, the leader standing up to the English, and the aging man distraught over the conflict between the religious groups in India.

But this movie is worth seeing for other reasons as well. The rest of the cast turn in A+ performances. The film is extensive enough to show most of the key moments in Gandhi's life. The epic scale of certain scenes are all the more impressive considering that today's modern computer technology was not used to depict the large crowds.

The sequence leading up to and including the Great Salt March is one of the most moving scenes in film.

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His Triumph Changed India
Lady_Targaryen8 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
'Gandhi' is a great movie, and I cannot think anyone better then Ben Kingsley to play his role.( The guy IS perfect in the movie. So perfect, that I read in the trivia part of IMDb that many people in India actually thought that Ben was Gandhi's ghost!) Gandhi was murdered in 1948 by an Indian rebel, when he was going to make one of his prayers. This great and simple little man made the India Independent and was against all types of prejudices existent, since racial prejudice until the religion's one. He started his anger with the British Empire when he was going to South Africa, and was throw away from the train because he was in the first class, and the prejudice of that time could not allow any non white man,specially being Indian or black to have the same rights as the white men. From that time, until his death, he made people from India and the English to think about the prejudice and the fact that all people should have the same rights. He was also followed by many white people, in the movie showing the clergyman Charlie Andrews and Miss Slade.

PS:A thing that I discovered watching this movie was the fact that Gandhi was an attorney...I would never imagine that the peaceful leader made Law School!
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One of the greatest movies based on a real person
ab-230 August 2001
Next to Patton I think this is one of the greatest movies based on a real historical person. The movie is about a lawyer turned great leader. His name is Mohandas "Mahatma" Gandhi (Ben Kingsley). He is a man who just wants India to break away from British rule. Unfortunately he has got quite a number of obstacles to climb over before getting the freedom of India. This movie was just fantastic. The cinematography just made me go "WOW". I can see why it won a lot of academy awards. I recommend this film to everyone living or dead.

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Sweeping Epic With A Bravura Performance
ween-327 December 2000
A magnificent movie by Attenborough and a career-topper for Ben Kingsley. Brilliant story of the man who almost single-handedly brought India kicking and screaming into the world as an independent nation. One of this century's true heroic figures, it is a crying shame that more than 50 years later, we are still dealing with the dangerous fallout of the Indian-Pakistani aggression that he so desperately sought to end.

Count this movie amongst the great epics of cinematic history. All the supporting performances, particularly that of Roshan Seth as Nehru, are an absolute joy to behold. Classic cinematography, and a masterwork of a score by Ravi Shankar. Attenborough, of course, when he's not out raising dinosaurs, is a director of epics par excelllence ("A Bridge Too Far" is another stroke of genius). Ben Kingsley spends the better part of 3 hours on screen in an absolutely riveting performance.

The road to peace is a hard road. Just ask Nelson Mandela or John Lennon. This movie allows the viewer to take part of the journey.
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Can't relate to the sensibilities
lediscipledessocrates18 July 2009
I fully endorse the opinion which the jury at the academy awards shared regarding the quality of this movie. To be fair the scale at which the movie has been produced is massive and grand. The script is beautifully written ,primarily because of the fact that Gandhiji's life and contribution to human emancipation has been dealt with in judicious detail. The movie also shines in departments such as cinematography, screenplay . The inquisitive reader may then quite naturally ask me- Why have you given the movie a miserly 7 points in your rating?. This question deserves the following answer- Firstly, the etiquette of the movie is quite western. This is something which is hard to digest, for the protagonist and the storyline both are Indian. Ben Kingssley's ethnicity is the only thing which is Indian in the movie. His manners and demeanour are purely western. The style of speech and dialogue delivery is alien to the Indian mentality.

Let us all thus allow ourselves to independently judge the movie disregarding the Oscars it won.

What we get is a brilliant script performed brilliantly but in a manner so completely western that the movie should have named "Gandhi in Perspective".

I was about to give the movie 9 but my eyes caught sight of the movie's name at quite an inopportune moment. 7 for it's brilliance, the 3 it didn't get for it's incredible deviation from Indian sensibilities.
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One of the most outstanding screen biographies
bbhlthph15 October 2003
Until very recently major Hollywood Studios seldom attempted to produce biographies, but when they did the subjects were usually legendary figures or long dead historic characters that impose few restraints on the screenwriters freedom - some pseudo-biographies even featured fictional characters. We have only to think of The Ten commandments, Cleopatra, Jason and the Argonauts or even Ben Hur to recognise that freedom from the rigours of historical veracity is the first requirement for the production of such epics. It is British films which have established an enviable reputation for widely acclaimed biographies that do not seriously distort historical facts. These include such masterpieces as Lawrence of Arabia, The Young Winston, Elizabeth (1998), Isadora, and That Hamilton Woman. Richard Attenborough's "Gandhi" also takes a very high place in this collection.

As a Hindu mystic Gandhi is not an easy character for a Western European to fully appreciate but after watching this film one does really begin to develop some understanding of his life and times. Historically there are only a few recorded triumphs of non-violent revolts over the government of the day - the best known are probably the rise of Christianity in pagan Rome, and the independence of India from the British Raj. The latter is better documented, and this film is significant because of the way in which it shows how non-violent protest can be successful against what appear to be all the odds. However this is of less importance than the fine re-creation of life as it was lived in India at the time, and the magnificent acting - particularly the award winning performance of Ben Kingsley as Mahatma Gandhi. The film is lengthy (running for 188 min.) but utterly fascinating, and not overlong as it has such a vast sprawling canvas to cover. It should certainly be seen by every film lover. However it is probably best viewed in two parts as it is too fine a work to allow ones attention to flag.

In the 20 years since this film was made the indigenous Indian film industry has developed to the point where there are now some very fine Indian Directors and a large pool of other talent. There have also been some changes in historical perspectives because of the ongoing friction between Hindus and Muslims on the Indian subcontinent. It can only be a matter of time before an Indian production company creates a new film about Gandhi's life from a strictly Indian point of view. When this occurs it will make a fascinating comparison with this film which still remains one of the truly great screen biographies. I really look forward to the release of such a film.
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Gandhi vs. Malcolm X
canadude15 June 2004
If I were to liken Attenborough's "Gandhi" to any other epic film, I would choose Spike Lee's "Malcolm X." Initially, of course, this may appear rather irrational, but just because Gandhi and Malcolm X differed in their methods (at least as historians and filmmakers would have us believe) their ends and many of their attitudes were exactly the same.

Both men believed in the dignity of their people (whether "their" was defined across racial or national lines makes little difference) and, consequently, both believed in their right to freedom, to liberty. Both served time in jail, both had religious revelations, or rather, so as not to insult their achievements, spiritual revelations. Malcolm X believed in separation of the black population from the white population, though he wanted blacks to retain and gain the same rights as the whites. Gandhi believed Indians should have sovereignty without British interference or control - and retain and gain rights denied to them by their colonial oppressors. Both Malcolm X and Gandhi were struck by social problems of their people, problems of poverty, hunger, degeneracy and loss of identity. This final problem occupied both Malcolm X's and Gandhi's philosophies. They recognized that foreign dominance over their people, i.e. English over Indian and white over black, inevitably led to an inculcation of inferiority in the minds of the subjugated people. In both cases it was institutionalized, socially and politically (not to mention economically). The blacks and the Indians were led to believe by their oppressors that not only were they not capable of having sovereignty, freedom and the rights their oppressors enjoyed, but even if they were, they were not worthy of them. Gandhi and Malcolm X both recognized this problem and tried to resolve it.

However, while both men fought to achieve similar goals, they differed in their means. Malcolm X advocated active resistance against the people he hated: the white oppressors. He was not afraid to say so - and employed the very racism that was meant to keep blacks down against the whites. He vehemently opposed the choice of many blacks to strive to gain rights within the existing system. Consequently he opposed people like Martin Luther King Jr. who, Malcolm X felt, pandered to the whites and made them all-too-comfortable. He, like Gandhi, fought for the dignity of his people and he made it very clear as to what this fight entailed.

Gandhi's approach is now famously described as "nonviolent resistance." While at first, this may seem too much like the methods of Martin Luther King Jr. of whom Malcolm X had a low opinion, Gandhi's nonviolence had little to do with negotiation and speech-making. The operative word is "resistance" and Gandhi inspired the Indian people to resist - and what makes Gandhi such an awe-inspiring figure, no doubt an inspiration for an epic film, is his innovativeness in not betraying his nonviolent, peaceful spirit in achieving Indian independence. From the emphasis on economic self-reliance, examples of which include cloth-weaving and illegal salt-making, to self-respect and respect and love for one's enemy, Gandhi's method was not only practical in the sense of economics, but also spiritual in terms of legitimating the goals and desires of the Indian people in the eyes of the British colonialists and, most importantly, in the eyes of the Indians themselves.

Both Gandhi and Malcolm X were assassinated not by their oppressors, but rather, by extremist members of groups to which they also belonged: they died as a result of internal politics and internal dissent.

Malcolm X did not exactly achieve a separate black state, or (even less so) a return to the traditional ways of African blacks, to the roots of African-Americans. He did not solve the social problems of blacks, especially in urban areas. Gandhi inspired his people to win Indian independence, but he also did not resolve impending social and ethnic dilemmas that erupted shortly after independence was achieved.

However, the world speaks more comfortably and openly about Gandhi than Malcolm X. No doubt, part of that stems from the fact that Gandhi's fight had a much larger scope literally - he occupied world attention. But, it would be wrong to deny that many people, historians among them, choose to put less emphasis on Malcolm X than, say, Martin Luther King Jr. because the former attempted to fight for rights more actively than other civil rights activists.

Who's to say he was wrong? Nobody. How do we judge men like Gandhi and Malcolm X? The reason I decided to compare the two films is not only because of the shared similarities in the characters they portray. I also chose the two films because of their portrayal: Richard Attenborough shows us Gandhi, like Spike Lee shows us Malcolm X, without compromises and judgments.

In "Gandhi" Attenborough, through the phenomenal (and I mean Phenomenal) Ben Kingsley, captures the beautiful spiritual clarity with which Gandhi spoke and, furthermore, which he embodied in his actions. The film does not vilify the British colonialists any more than their actions vilify them - it presents and it invites the viewer to judge. It is flawlessly directed and it is one of the few great epics ever made. It obsesses to perfection about whom it is about. In that it is comparable to the passionate portrayal of Malcolm X in Spike Lee's film. However, while "Malcolm X" ends with an unfortunate false note of "social importance," "Gandhi" transcends preaching and forced social commentary.

And, most importantly, "Gandhi" reminds us of people who come and go, who love humanity and are not afraid to fight for it on their terms. It reminds us of people whose vision of existence is not stale and full of the empty words of politicians, but instead spiritual and moral clarity. One only has to watch Gandhi's self-confidence in argument with the various British soldiers and politicians he meets - he doesn't have to prattle and propagandize. He has discovered truth and it gives him comfort, strength and confidence - he lets it speak for him. This clarity is something many of us thirst for every day - and "Gandhi" reminds us that it is achievable.
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Truely... true !
bithok21 January 2002
This movie deals with issues such as oppression, colonization, and most of all : non-violence in a way that i quite unique. There is much more action in this film as there is in The Matrix which indeed appears monotonous and boring after several times. it is not a matter of watching exploding helicopter but rather hearing and seeing a small poor man making the English shale in their boots after they realize how wrong their Civilization Dogmas are. I guess Gandhi is much underrated as most disturbing films might be. Concerning the actors, Ben Kingsley is actually astonishing and, until I sawthe beginning of this film, then "Dave", I seriously thought he was around 60 years old. That also goes for the make-up artists. Gandhi is one of my all-time favorites and truely desserves to be broadcasted in School in order to teach children how far from the truth their education leads them.
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A wonderful piece of film making
ab-21 September 2001
Gandhi is one of the best movies I ever saw. The film is about Mahatma Gandhi (Ben Kingsley) and his struggle to free India from British rule. Gandhi is and will always be a classic. This movie should be watched by all no matter what. This film has something it has acting, a great plot, and realism. I recommend this film to all without hesitation.

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