The film community is mourning the recent passing of actor and director Richard Attenborough, who died at the age of 90. Although younger fans may connect him more with his seminal performance in Steven Spielberg’s perennial favorite “Jurassic Park,” film buffs associate him with several epic films, ones that examined the lives of great men and their impact on the course of world history. Although there are many worthy films to consider, he earned an Academy Award for directing the 1982 film “Gandhi,” which also won the Oscar for Best Picture.
“Gandhi” begins in the late 1940s, when Mohandas K. Gandhi (played by Ben Kingsley) was shot and killed at age 78. The movie then goes back to the 1890s when he was a young lawyer. After he was kicked off a South African train for being an Indian, he initiated a nonviolent protest movement in an attempt to draw attention to and change South Africa’s segregated political system. Word of his activism spread to his native India, and in 1915, Gandhi traveled back to his home country. He began to work on behalf of India’s marginalized populations and led efforts to establish Indian independence from Great Britain. His successful nonviolent tactics turned him into a celebrity who became famous all over the world.
Attenborough’s direction is very impressive. He makes the movie epic and similar to the films of David Lean, such as “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Doctor Zhivago.”
Ben Kingsley gives a stunning performance in the title role. He looks almost exactly like the real Gandhi. We see that he is very dedicated to his cause and always respects people, even his enemies. Kingley’s performance won an Academy Award. Also strong is Candice Bergen, who plays Margaret Bourke-White, the celebrated American photojournalist whose searing photographs of Gandhi and abject conditions of Indian strife touched many across the world.
“Gandhi” is one of Richard Attenborough’s best movies. It is a good choice for those who want to pay tribute to Attenborough and increase their understanding of this significant moment in 20th century history.