In 1982 Gandhi was released to critical acclaim. That success would translate into eight Academy Awards as well as another 26 awards and multiple other nominations. Richard Attenborough took home Best Picture and Best Director for this film. Ben Kingsley won Best Actor for his portrayal of this historical figure. The film also features the talents of Candice Bergen, John Gielgud, and Martin Sheen. The film is on countless top film lists and stands the test of time when watched today.
The story follows the life of Mahatma Gandhi from his early career in law to his rise to fame as a peaceful and controversial leader of his people in India. His rise as a leader in the Indian revolts against Britain are marked by his policy of non-violence. Starting in South Africa he pushes the British empire to recognize the minorities in its realm and grant them the rights they deserve. All of this is done under the stress of imprisonment and the threat of violence against him and the people he leads. He then focuses on the freedom of his native land as he seeks to make India independent. Significant events in his life and works are portrayed with brutal honesty. The epic scale of the film fits the massive undertaking needed to portray a man who was famous in his own time.
The film has many wonderful aspects. The camera work is amazing, each scene seems to be flawlessly framed to allow for little distraction. The scale of the film is epic and the scenes often seem to go on forever. The sound and score are also impressive. The music throughout the film isn’t constant or used to fill silence. It seems to be music that fits naturally into the setting of the scenes.
The acting was amazing. I wasn’t sure that I would find Kingsley believable as Gandhi but I was wrong to question it. He brings a performance that could be his best despite his other amazing roles throughout the years.
I would recommend this film for anyone who wants to see what a masterpiece is. This would easily make my top 50 films of all time and likely the top 20. The story is one we should all know and the film tells it wonderfully. Although this is an inspiring film it does deal with injustice and violence that makes it rough at times. This is all worth it when you put all the aspects of the film together.
I would give this film a 4.8 out of 5 stars.
Running Time: 191 minutes