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Film: Gandhi

Whenever I despair, I remember that the way of truth and love has always won. There may be tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they may seem invincible, but in the end, they always fail. Think of it: always.
Mohandas K. Gandhi.

A 1982 Epic Movie directed by Richard Attenborough, Gandhi is the bio-pic of Mohandas K. Gandhi, aka Mahatma Gandhi. The titular role was played by Ben Kingsley in his star making Oscar-winning role. Its story concerns Gandhi as he leads the non-violent fight for India’s independence from the British Empire. Along the way, he earns the respect of much of the world and enemies of all forms.

In addition to Kingsley’s award, this won seven other Oscars, including Best Picture, and it holds the record for biggest cast, having around 300,000 people including extras.

For the individual, see the page Mahatma Gandhi.


This work shows examples of:

  • Actual Pacifist: Gandhi, obviously. As he states early in the film: "In this cause, I too am prepared to die. There's no cause for which I'm prepared to kill."
  • All-Star Cast
  • Badass Pacifist: The protagonist.
  • Bald of Awesome: Gandhi himself.
  • Biopic
  • Blunt Yes:
    British officer: You don't think we're just going to walk out of India?
    Gandhi: Yes. In the end, you will walk out.
  • Eccentric Mentor: Gandhi, especially when dealing with Smuts the British official and directly after he comes home from South Africa and has to deal with the wealthy congressmen of India - he comes off as a excessively polite and eccentrically wistful, until he starts doing things and moving whole countries right under their noses.
  • Epic Movie
  • Fake Nationality: Kind of. Ben Kingsley is British by birth, though he is of Indian descent.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The film starts with Gandhi’s murder.
  • Foreign Correspondent: Although primarily told from the perspective of the title character, large chunks of the story are seen through the eyes of Britons and Americans Charlie, Walker, Mirabehn, and Margaret Bourke-White.
  • General Ripper: General Reginald Dyer, but Gandhi makes it clear that the only difference between in him and the mainstream British colonial treatment of India is in the degree of blatant violence used.
  • Ironic Echo: "It would be uncivil for us to let you make such a long trip for nothing."
  • Mononymous Biopic Title
  • Moral Event Horizon: The Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar is a case In-Universe.
  • Music for Courage: Gandhi inspires his fellow Indians to protest discriminatory laws in South Africa with his speech - and a rendition of God Save the King.
  • Oh Crap: The gathered crowd inside the Jallianwala Bagh just before General Dyer orders to fire.
  • Really Gets Around: As this movie was an attempt to show Gandhi's life honestly, it also portrayed his well-known affinity for women.
  • La Résistance
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified: The trope Gandhi lives for
  • Shaming the Mob: Gandhi fasts as he sees his followers act violently, leading them to stop every time.
  • Star-Making Role: For Ben Kingsley, as he nailed the Oscar for Best Actor.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth
  • Undermined By Reality: The studio launched a quite sleazy Oscar campaign against the frontrunner E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, essentially saying that a vote against the film was a vote against Gandhi the man. The Mahatma certainly would not have approved.
  • What Could Have Been: Attempts to make a Gandhi biopic were started in the 50’s; David Lean was considered for the director’s chair.
Forrest GumpEpic MovieGangs of New York
The ForestFilms of the 1980sThe Ghost 1982
From Here to EternityCreator/Columbia PicturesGhostbusters
RedsAcademy AwardE.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

alternative title(s): Gandhi
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