By Paul Morgan, editor of Rugby World Magazine

I often feel privileged in my job and one of those times came last week when I was lucky enough to be one of the first people to see the new Clint Eastwood movie about the way Nelson Mandela used rugby to unite South Africa, after he was elected as President in the early 1990s – Invictus.
In fact I was lucky enough to see it before Francois Pienaar, who is one of the stars of the film, albeit he is played by Matt Damon.
It opens in America on 11 December and my only criticism of the film is that it doesn’t open in Great Britain until 4 February, just in time for the Six Nations I think.
It is a sensational movie and for someone like me who loves not only the Mandela story but also rugby it is the perfect film.
For those who don’t know Morgan Freeman players Madiba, as he is called in the film, and puts in a performance that will surely see him nominated for an Oscar. He was as he told us “expected” to play Mandela at some point. This is an incredible portrayal of an incredible man.
And the great thing for the game of rugby is that Mandela uses rugby to unite a divided nation, after he is elected.
Unlike the current British government (or the one before) Mandela appreciates how much sport means to people, and how powerful a tool it can be.
The film starts with South Africa’s defeat to England in 1994 and the black people in the crowd supporting England. it puzzles Mandela and he sets about bringing Pienaar on board for his dream for South Africa to win the World Cup in 1995.
The film could not depict rugby in a better way and shows it for what it is – the greatest team sport in the world. It will I predict be one of the greatest things to happen to the game. Think of it! Millions of people – many who have hardly heard of rugby – going to the cinema to see a film that shows what a great sport rugby is.
There is a lot of rugby action in the film, which lasts around two and a half hours. In fact there is 18 minutes of action from the final itself as South Africa set about halting Jonah Lomu, who is played by Zak Feaunati.
The action is superbly done by top-class players. This is not Escape to Victory!
I can’t wait for it to come out in Britain, so everyone can see it!
If you have any questions about the film ask them here and I will answer them.
Paul

  • http://heathersfavebooks.blogspot.com Heather

    I took my 9 year old boys to it opening week-end here in the states and they loved it. The following week they were invited to a free rugby clinic here ib Vegas. We have been doing it every week-end since and we are going to be going to USA 7′s and they will get to meet and attend a special clinic put on by the 16 countries for the LV Rugby Academy. All of this because of a movie.

    Another great rugby movie is Forever Strong.

  • Serge.T.

    My wife and I went to watch Invictus last evening. I used to play rugby in Argentina and looked forward to both the history and sport aspects of the movie.
    We did not live the cinema dissappointed. The movie is grand. It left me wanting to research the Mandela story further, to expand and verify the man’s character.
    The acting was great, as expected from both Freeman and Damon.
    I would not have a problem having my children watch this movie. They are 22, 17, 14, 13 and 10-years old and each would benefit from it, I think, besides enjoy the sport scenes. Maybe now they will understand where some of my scars come from… LOL
    Merry Christmas to all!!
    ST

  • AussieKeray

    Does anyone know when it starts screening in Australia? Singleton NSW Australia is a long way from Hollywood and London but it will get here…Can’t wait ….

    Is it suitable for me to take my Rugby mad 12 year old son?

    Sounds like it may be worth getting into school “history” curriculum’s the world over as a subliminal recruitment tool. Paul maybe you can suggest this to any IRB contacts you have……

    Merry and Safe Christmas to all (gonna be a bloody hot one down here by the looks of it)

  • http://www.nursedude.blog.com Nursedude

    Paul, I am really looking forward to seeing this movie where I live in Minnesota, in the northern part of the USA on Friday. Here in the states, reviewers as different as The New York Times and Rugby Magazine have given it a very hearty thumbs up.

    If you get a chance to read John Carlin’s book “Playing the Enemy”, I would strongly urge you to do so. It highlights just what a special man Nelson Mandela is during a watershed moment in world history. People don’t appreciate just how easily South Africa could have degenerated into civil war in the process of going from apartheid to one man/one vote.

  • Abagail

    i have seen many sport genre movies such as five fab,game and many more. but america has always took basket ball as a key note for their movies.but in this Christmas Invictus movie comes with rugby match. it was not a normal rugby match. it depict most crucial match which could decide south African future.
    source
    http://blog.80millionmoviesfree.com/in-theaters/invictus-movie-2009-game-against-apartheid