Box art for Invictus


drama, sports

The inspiring true story of how Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) joined forces with the captain of South Africa's rugby team, Francois Pienaar (Matt Damon), to help unite their country.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

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common sense

ON for kids age 12
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
0 out of 5
3 out of 5
Positive messages
3 out of 5
Positive role models
4 out of 5
2 out of 5
1 out of 5

Inspiring tale about Mandela, rugby, and national pride.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this fact-based Clint Eastwood-directed drama (which stars Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman) is an uplifting movie that's age appropriate for older tweens and young teens -- the PG-13 rating is primarily for language (one use of "f--king" and a couple of "s--t"s are the worst of it). Because of its narrow focus -- the movie follows President Nelson Mandela's decision to rally support behind South Africa's nearly all-white national rugby team -- there's no violence except for the rugby itself (which is quite physically aggressive). And Damon's character kisses his wife, but there's nothing more risque than that. Ultimately the movie is both educational and inspiring, providing an excellent lesson about post-apartheid South Africa, national unity, and the universality of sports.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the movie's themes of national unity and desegregation. Why does Mandela decide to save the rugby team? What does the rugby team represent to black South Africans at the beginning of the film, and how does that change throughout the movie?
  • What do Pienaar's rugby teammates mean when they that say the new national anthem is a "terrorist song"? What does the movie teach viewers about the history of South Africa?
  • The poem "Invictus" is referenced and read more than once in the movie. What do you think the poem means, and why does Mandela give it to Pienaar?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 2
    see all Invictus reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: With Invictus, Eastwood gets his message across in much the same way as the South African special forces -- he beats us over the head with it.

- Giles Hardie,, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fresh: Perhaps the greatest testament to Eastwood's directorial skill is that such an unattractive, brutish game could serve as an uplifting symbol of communal harmony and renewed national spirit.

- Jim Schembri, The Age (Australia), Thursday, June 24, 2010

Audience Reviews

3 stars

Sports movies usual have social/political redemption/justification as a subplot and Eastwood's entree here is no different, with racial equality thrown in on the side. You know the ending from the very first. And so its up to his leads to carry the weight of "its more than just a game" ballast, which Freeman and Damon admirably do w/o a problem. I learned a bit about rugby, and South Africa seems more of a welcoming place now, so its "mission accomplished!".

- ApeneckFletcher, Tuesday, May 1, 2012

3 stars

The true story of newly elected South African president Nelson Mandela making it his top priority to unite the nation thanks to a successful rugby team. Morgan Freedom is the obvious but perfect choice as Mandela and really turns into the politician, which is particularly difficult considering he is a contemporary celebrity many people are still familiar with. The film stays focused on the president, his ideals and small steps to get the white and black people of South African to overcome the years or resentment. So it's not until the second half that the movie follows the usual sports drama steps, but remains really well done. The sport scenes look realistic and well filmed, but for people unfamiliar with the game, the lack of commentary makes them look kind of arbitrary. That doesn't change the fact that the film is heading for a moving and satisfying climax. It's nice to see that sometimes history does make the right choices and people can change.

- ironclad1609, Tuesday, February 28, 2012

3 stars

'Invictus' is a beautiful movie with great acting, directing, and everything else you could ask for in a great movie. Very inspiring, and very heartwarming. Allow me to break it down. Acting: The actors managed to put on new accents quite convincingly. That itself is admirable. I was also glad to see they didn't compromise proper acting to pull of accents. Freeman and Damon fit into their characters comfortably and believably. The performances were flawless, and the actors show the fierceness and emotions of the characters they are playing. Overall, the acting wasn't magnificent, but it was pretty great. 80/100 The Story: The story puts a pretty creative twist on the sport drama genre. The fact they managed pull off conversing government issues along with an underdog story will please a majority of moviegoers. It may seem a bit slow to some, but it contained enough twists, touching moments, and powerful words to be a satisfying story. 60/100 The Plot: It's a bit hard to follow at first, but eventually you'll get caught up. It's hard not to esteem the careful weaving of this story, and you'll probably agree with me later when I tell you the plot passes. 69/100 The directing: The directing is not Eastwood's best, but then again, it would be difficult to outdo what he managed in 'Changeling' and other past works. That aside, one has to notice the casual beauty of the direction in Invictus. It is packed with gentle, meticulous touches. Each scene departure seems to leave you with a question that isn't directly answered. It is the most polished, intricately done direction I've ever seen in a movie like this. You can practically feel the emotion in the air of the scene right in the room you're watching it in. Overall, the direction was awesome. 81/100 Script/Screenplay: The words were very powerful and inspiring, and the characters movements were very carefully planned and done. It was all very stunning and memorable. I wish they would give a few tips to some of the sloppy, unorganized scripts and screenplays out there. 85/100 My favorite parts: Since most of the plot twists in this movie revolved around Mandela, (Freeman) I was excited when he came into scenes than made decisions that impacted the characters. It made me question my own character. Wow, me questioning my character. Overall: Overall, it's a touching, kind-of powerful, inspiring movie with great direction and a great script. Even if you don't love it, you got to admire it somehow. It's a great movie to invite friends over, make some popcorn, flop onto the couch, and then watch. Or, if you're all alone on a rainy day and want some entertainment. Even the kids will find something to love. This movie could be appropriately described as living up to "Invictus" standards. 75/100

- jonnyjason, Tuesday, April 26, 2011