Excellent … pulls you through the whole gamut of emotions AND gives great sense of history.  One of the greatest movies of all time?  No, because the characters are a little too simple and also there’s a self-conscious quality to the great “bits” involving two races getting together, but still … tremendous!

Mandela’s references to the poem, Invictus, by William Ernest Henley, written in 1875, are intensely moving.  In the context of being held in prison unjustly over a period of many years, those are two mighty last lines.  (Sometimes the poem is printed with the words in the first stanza “…my conquerable soul.”  I can’t imagine why.)  Henley wrote the poem in response to the amputation of his foot as a result of tuberculosis.  I’m including it below just to make it easy to get to and read.


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winched nor cried aloud
Under the bludgeoning of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond the place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

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