Have you heard these Movies About Africa Based On True Stories? We promise you'll find some new movies. We wrote about 25 of our favorites.
From Malik Bendjelloul, starring Rodriguez, Stephen 'Sugar' Segerman, Dennis Coffey, Mike Theodore
Searching for Sugar Man is an Oscar-winning documentary about the 1970s American folk singer Sixto Rodriguez. After a failed music career in the US, Rodriguez disappears into obscurity, but unbeknownst to him, his music is wildly popular in South Africa. Two fans, Stephen “Sugar” Segerman and Craig Bartholomew-Strydom, set out to find out what happened to their idol. In the process, they uncover a story of success, failure, and redemption.
From Dereck Joubert, starring Star: Jeremy Irons
The Last Lions is an award-winning documentary about a lioness named Ma di Tau, her cubs, and their struggle to survive in Botswana’s Okavango Delta. The film follows the family’s perilous journey across the parched African savanna as they search for food and water and fight off predators. The narration follows Ma di Tau’s incredible story of survival and the determination she has to protect her cubs from lions, hyenas, and humans. Along the way, viewers learn about the fragile ecosystem of the Okavango Delta and the threats it faces from poachers, drought, and global warming. The Last Lions is both an inspirational and cautionary tale, emphasizing the importance of protecting these majestic creatures, and the beauty of their natural habitat. The film was praised for its cinematography and captivating storytelling, and it won a number of awards, including the BAFTA Award for Best Documentary.
From Terry George, starring Don Cheadle, Sophie Okonedo, Joaquin Phoenix, Xolani Mali
Hotel Rwanda is a 2004 British-Italian-South African historical drama film directed by Terry George. It is based on the true story of Paul Rusesabagina, a hotel manager who housed over a thousand Tutsi refugees during their struggle against the Hutu militia in the Rwandan Genocide of 1994. The film follows Paul (played by Don Cheadle) as he risks his own life to protect the Tutsi refugees from certain death at the hands of the Hutu militia. He must negotiate a tenuous peace between the two sides in order to save as many lives as possible. Throughout the film, Paul struggles to maintain his moral integrity as he faces the realities of the genocide and its indifference from the international community. In the end, he succeeds in saving many lives while also inspiring hope and courage in those around him. Hotel Rwanda is a powerful film that depicts the devastating effects of war and violence, as well as the courage and resilience of humanity in the face of tragedy. It has won numerous awards, including Academy Award nominations for Best Actor (Cheadle) and Best Original Screenplay.
From Gillo Pontecorvo, starring Brahim Hadjadj, Jean Martin, Yacef Saadi, Samia Kerbash
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The Battle of Algiers is an Italian-Algerian historical war drama film directed by Gillo Pontecorvo. Set during the Algerian War (1954-1962) between the Algerian National Liberation Front and the French government in Algeria, it depicts the fight of the Algerian people against French colonialism and the violence used by both sides. The movie follows three characters – Ali La Pointe, a freedom fighter; Colonel Mathieu, a military commander; and a young Algerian woman, Djamila – as they represent the two sides of the conflict. The film follows the violent struggle and the harsh tactics used by both sides, such as the French military’s use of torture and the Algerians’ use of bombings and assassinations. Ultimately, the Algerian independence movement succeeds in driving the French out of the country. The Battle of Algiers is widely acclaimed for its realistic and unbiased depiction of the war and is seen as an influential work of political cinema.
From Edward Zwick, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou, Jennifer Connelly, Kagiso Kuypers
Blood Diamond is a 2006 American political war thriller film directed by Edward Zwick and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou, and Jennifer Connelly. Set during the Sierra Leone Civil War, the film follows Danny Archer (DiCaprio), a South African mercenary, and Solomon Vandy (Hounsou), a Mende fisherman. Both men are struggling to recover a rare pink diamond that can transform their lives. While in pursuit of the gem, they form an uneasy alliance in order to survive. As the situation in Sierra Leone worsens, their search for the diamond leads them into a dangerous game in which the stakes couldn't be higher. In the end, the two men must choose between their own personal gain and the greater good.
From Leon Gast, starring Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Don King, James Brown
When We Were Kings is a 1996 documentary film about the famous "Rumble in the Jungle" boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in 1974. The film chronicles the events of the fight and the promotion leading up to it, set against the larger political and social context of the time. It also looks at Ali's role in the Black Power movement and his ongoing struggle against racism and injustice. The film features interviews with many of the key participants and supporters involved, as well as archival footage of the fight itself. At the time of its release, the film was acclaimed for its remarkable look at a pivotal moment in history, and for its sensitive portrayal of Ali's struggles.
From Neill Blomkamp, starring Sharlto Copley, David James, Jason Cope, Nathalie Boltt
District 9 is a science fiction action film directed by Neill Blomkamp, released in 2009. The film takes place in Johannesburg, South Africa, where a group of aliens, referred to as "prawns" have been forced to live in slum-like conditions in a small area called District 9. The aliens, who arrived in a spaceship 20 years earlier, are managed by the Multi-National United (MNU). Tensions between the aliens and humans grow as MNU plans to forcefully evict the aliens from District 9 to a new internment camp. The story follows Wikus van der Merwe, an MNU employee tasked with leading the relocation. During the course of his job, Wikus becomes exposed to a strange alien chemical, which slowly mutates him into an alien-human hybrid. To save himself, Wikus must find a way to reverse the mutation and find a cure, while also attempting to prevent the MNU from taking over District 9 and carrying out their plans.
From Paul Greengrass, starring Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman, Catherine Keener
Captain Phillips is a 2013 American biographical thriller film directed by Paul Greengrass and starring Tom Hanks. The film is based on the true story of the 2009 hijacking of the US container ship Maersk Alabama by a group of Somali pirates. When the heavily armed pirates board the ship and take the crew hostage, its captain, Richard Phillips (Hanks), is forced to go to extraordinary lengths to ensure the safety of his crew. With the pirates wanting millions of dollars in ransom, Phillips and his crew must confront their captors and negotiate for their lives in a desperate, high-stakes standoff. Ultimately, Phillips and his crew come out safely, but their ordeal is far from over.
From Cary Joji Fukunaga, starring Abraham Attah, Emmanuel Affadzi, Ricky Adelayitor, Andrew Adote
Beasts of No Nation is a 2015 war drama film directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga and based on the 2005 novel of the same name by Uzodinma Iweala. The film stars Abraham Attah as Agu, a young boy from an unspecified West African country who is forced to join a unit of mercenary fighters as a child soldier. Agu struggles to stay alive as he navigates the dark realities of war and his own struggles with morality. At the same time, he must confront his own inner demons as he attempts to come to terms with his newfound identity. The film follows Agu's journey as he learns to survive in a world of violence and chaos, while coming to terms with the darkness inside him.
From Cy Endfield, starring Stanley Baker, Jack Hawkins, Ulla Jacobsson, James Booth
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Zulu is a 1964 British epic war film depicting the Battle of Rorke's Drift between the British Army and the Zulus in January 1879, during the Anglo-Zulu War. The film depicts 150 British soldiers, led by Lieutenants John Chard (Stanley Baker) and Gonville Bromhead (Michael Caine), who successfully defend the garrison against an onslaught by 3,000 to 4,000 Zulu warriors. The film accurately portrays the historical events of the battle and was made with the assistance of veteran soldiers who had been in the actual battle. It also features a memorable score by composer John Barry. The film is seen from both British and Zulu perspectives, with scenes of both the British and Zulu commanders and troops preparing for battle, as well as the actual battle itself. It is filled with suspense and action, as well as some moments of humor throughout. It is a thrilling and inspiring battle epic that has become a classic.
From Ridley Scott, starring Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Tom Sizemore, Eric Bana
Black Hawk Down is a 2001 war film directed by Ridley Scott, based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Mark Bowden. The film chronicles the events of a failed United States military mission in Somalia on October 3, 1993, in which 18 U.S. Army Rangers and Delta Force soldiers were killed while trying to capture two lieutenants of Somali warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. The mission was intended to capture Aidid, who had been accused of leading a movement against the United Nations' attempt to deliver food to the Somali people. The film follows the U.S. soldiers as they enter the hostile environment of Mogadishu and battle against Aidid's militia in a desperate attempt to rescue their comrades. The movie emphasizes the courage and determination of the American forces, as well as their heavy losses. It stars Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Tom Sizemore, Eric Bana, William Fichtner, and Sam Shepard.
From Kevin Macdonald, starring James McAvoy, Forest Whitaker, Gillian Anderson, Kerry Washington
The Last King of Scotland is a 2006 historical drama film directed by Kevin Macdonald, based on the 1998 novel of the same name by Giles Foden. The film tells the story of Scottish doctor Nicholas Garrigan (James McAvoy) who, after moving to Uganda to work in a rural hospital, becomes the personal physician and closest confidant of Ugandan President Idi Amin (Forest Whitaker). Garrigan’s unwitting involvement in the atrocities of Amin's regime lead him to a moral dilemma, where the only way to survive is to confront his own conscience. The film also stars Kerry Washington, Gillian Anderson and Simon McBurney. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and won an Oscar for Best Actor for Forest Whitaker.
From Michael Caton-Jones, starring John Hurt, Hugh Dancy, Dominique Horwitz, Louis Mahoney
Shooting Dogs, directed by Michael Caton-Jones in 2005, is a historical drama set during the Rwandan genocide of 1994. The film focuses on the horror of the genocide and the devastating toll it takes on both the people and their faith. The story follows Father Christopher (John Hurt) and a British teacher, Joe Connor (Hugh Dancy), as they try to protect and save the lives of hundreds of Rwandan students who have fled to a Catholic school in Kigali. While they attempt to protect the students, they are caught in the midst of the conflict and violence between the Hutus and the Tutsis. As the conflict escalates, the characters are faced with the harsh reality of their situation and must make difficult decisions that will define their future. In the end, the film serves as a powerful reminder of the tragedy of the genocide and its lasting impact.
From Andrew Niccol, starring Nicolas Cage, Ethan Hawke, Jared Leto, Bridget Moynahan
Lord of War stars Nicolas Cage as Yuri Orlov, an arms dealer who becomes one of the most successful and ruthless people in the world. The film follows the life of Yuri, from his humble beginnings in Ukraine to his rise to international prominence and his fall from grace. Along the way, he must navigate the international political landscape and dodge the efforts of an Interpol agent (Ethan Hawke) to bring him to justice. Yuri's journey takes him to many places, where he comes face to face with the horrors of war and the people affected by it. In the end, Yuri is forced to confront the consequences of his actions and make a hard choice.
From Susanne Bier, starring Mikael Persbrandt, Trine Dyrholm, Markus Rygaard, Wil Johnson
In a Better World is a 2010 drama film directed by Susanne Bier and written by Anders Thomas Jensen. The film follows two Danish families, one in Denmark and one in a remote area of Africa, and their struggles with violence, grief, and compassion. In Denmark, two young boys, Christian and Elias, become friends despite their different backgrounds. When Christian's father, Claus, is away working in Africa, Christian and Elias form a strong bond and start engaging in dangerous acts of revenge. Meanwhile, Claus has become involved with an African refugee camp and attempts to create a better, more peaceful life for its inhabitants. As the two boys and their families struggle with their differences and confront their own capacity for violence, they must also learn to accept one another and themselves. The film examines how justice, revenge and compassion can exist side by side in a better world.
From Ousmane Sembene, starring Fatoumata Coulibaly, Maimouna Hélène Diarra, Salimata Traoré, Dominique Zeïda
Moolaadé is a 2004 drama film directed by Ousmane Sembene. The film is set in a small village in Burkina Faso, West Africa, and focuses on the struggles of a strong-willed woman, Collé, to protect four young girls from undergoing a traditional form of female genital mutilation (FGM). Collé grants them protection in the form of a Moolaadé, a traditional form of immunity. Despite being opposed by the village chief and other influential members of the community, Collé stands her ground and manages to persuade the villagers to abandon the practice. The film ultimately shows the power of the collective to bring about social change.
Roger Spottiswoode, starring Roy Dupuis, Owen Sejake, James Gallanders, Michel Ange Nzojibwami
Shake Hands with the Devil is a 2007 Canadian drama film directed by acclaimed directors Jennifer Capraru and Roger Spottiswoode. The film is based on the autobiography of Canadian Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire, who served as Force Commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) during the Rwandan Genocide in 1994. The film follows Dallaire as he struggles to protect civilians, prevent an escalation of violence, and bring an end to the genocide. The film details the violence, suffering, and helplessness of Dallaire as he attempts to navigate the forces that subject the Tutsi people to genocide. The film also explores Dallaire's difficult journey of coming to terms with his personal guilt and helplessness in the situation. In the end, Dallaire's courage and perseverance provide a beacon of hope in the midst of the tragedy.
From Caroline Link, starring Juliane Köhler, Merab Ninidze, Matthias Habich, Sidede Onyulo
Nowhere in Africa is a 2001 German film directed by Caroline Link. It tells the story of a German Jewish family’s journey to the Kenyan town of Nanyuki during the Nazi regime in the late 1930s. The family consists of Walter Redlich (Merab Ninidze), a lawyer; his wife Jettel (Juliane Köhler), their young daughter Regina (Lea Kurka), and the African cook Owuor (Sidede Onyulo). Walter moves to Kenya to practice law, while Jettel and Regina initially stay in Germany, but eventually join him. Despite their initial culture shock, Jettel and Regina eventually adjust to their life in Kenya. They learn to appreciate its beauty and the culture of its people. At the same time, Walter finds himself torn between his loyalty to Germany and his disgust for the Nazi regime. The film follows the Redlich family through the war and its aftermath, as they struggle to make a home in a new and foreign land. It is a story of resilience, courage, and the power of love.
From Michelangelo Antonioni, starring Jack Nicholson, Maria Schneider, Jenny Runacre, Ian Hendry
The Passenger is a 1975 drama film directed by Michelangelo Antonioni and starring Jack Nicholson. It follows the story of a British journalist, David Locke, who is sent to Africa to cover a civil war. Upon arriving, Locke is frustrated by the lack of news and instead takes the identity of a recently deceased businessman in order to escape his own life. He soon finds himself on a journey of self-discovery, traveling from Africa to Spain and ultimately back to England. Along the way, he discovers a darker side of himself as he grapples with his identity and the implications of his actions. Throughout the film, Locke's journey is framed by his interactions with other characters and his own inner monologue. The Passenger is a unique and powerful film that explores themes of identity, morality, and existentialism. It is a visually stunning masterpiece that is regarded as one of Antonioni's best films.
From Justin Chadwick, starring Naomie Harris, Oliver Litondo, Tony Kgoroge, Alfred Munyua
From Mira Nair, starring Madina Nalwanga, David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong'o, Martin Kabanza
From Anthony Minghella, starring Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche, Willem Dafoe, Kristin Scott Thomas
From Philippe Falardeau, starring Reese Witherspoon, Arnold Oceng, Ger Duany, Emmanuel Jal
From Fernando Meirelles, starring Ralph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz, Danny Huston, Hubert Koundé
From Nabil Ayouch, starring Mounïm Kbab, Mustapha Hansali, Hicham Moussoune, Abdelhak Zhayra
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