1982 • Gandhi

Gandhi, 1982Wednesday evening, Lauren and I thought we could both stay awake long enough to watch our next Best Picture winner, 1982’s Gandhi, the movie from my year of birth! At 190 minutes, it would be a challenge, but the part I fell asleep for I rewatched in the morning before work.

Gandhi is of course an epic biopic of the great Mahatma Gandhi, made famous as he led the nonviolent resistance movement against British Colonial rule in India in the early 20th century. Coming into this film, I had no knowledge whatsoever of Gandhi other than he was a small Indian man with funny glasses and a big moustache, not unlike that of Dr. Tobias Fünke, so this movie was as much a lesson in world history as it was part of the project.

The movie begins with Gandhi being assassinated by an angry Hindu man. From here, we flash back 55 years and see Gandhi as a young attorney being thrown off a train in South Africa because of the color of his skin and his refusal to move from first class to third class. This injustice leads Gandhi to search for equal treatment of Indians in South Africa. After achieving this monumental feat, Gandhi is welcomed back to India where he is a national icon. He is then urged to lead the Indian people for freedom from British rule. His same nonviolent resistance tactic is followed by millions of Indians, eventually leading to the nation’s independence.

Gandhi was surprisingly interesting and entertaining despite its length, and the acting of Ben Kingsley in the lead role was among the very best I’ve seen in this project, if not the best. At many times I forgot he was just an actor and not the real thing. A few other famous names pop up in the movie, including Candice Bergen and Martin Sheen. Another big name from Gandhi was English actor Ian Charleson, who we had just seen in 1981’s Chariots of Fire. Wow, what a nice little two-year run that was for Charleson, holding major roles in back-to-back Best Picture winners.

The film had its poignant moments, like the intensely long scene where 1,516 Indian men, women, and children were gunned down by an English general. The number of times Gandhi is arrested and thrown in jail for virtually no reason is ridiculous. He never even fights it and just accepts his sentences, and in one case, pleads for the maximum sentence. Every time fighting begins, Gandhi goes on a hunger strike and nearly kills himself.

Like I said, I didn’t have high hopes for a movie this long about a subject I thought I would find extremely uninteresting, but the acting of Kingsley and the huge ensemble cast pulled off a winner!

Next up, 1983’s Terms of Endearment.

1 Comment

  1. […] Picture reviews are up after Lauren and I watched 1981′s Chariots of Fire and 1982′s Gandhi this week. Find out which one ranked #10 on my list and which one ranked just […]


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