Gandhi (1982) - Rotten Tomatoes


Gandhi (1982)



Critic Consensus: Director Richard Attenborough is typically sympathetic and sure-handed, but it's Ben Kingsley's magnetic performance that acts as the linchpin for this sprawling, lengthy biopic.

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It was Richard Attenborough's lifelong dream to bring the life story of Indian political and spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi to the screen. When it finally reached fruition in 1982, the 188-minute, Oscar-winning Gandhi was one of the most exhaustively thorough biopics ever made. The film begins in the early part of the 20th century, when Mohandas K. Gandhi (Ben Kingsley), a British-trained lawyer, forsakes all worldly possessions to take up the cause of Indian independence. Faced with armed resistance from the British government, Gandhi adopts a policy of "passive resistance," endeavoring to win freedom for his people without resorting to bloodshed. In the horrendous "slaughter" sequence, more extras appear on screen than in any previous historical epic. The supporting cast includes Candice Bergen as photographer Margaret Bourke-White, Athol Fugard as General Smuts, John Gielgud as Lord Irwin, John Mills as the viceroy, Martin Sheen as Walker, Trevor Howard as Judge Broomfield, and, in a tiny part as a street bully, star-to-be Daniel Day-Lewis. Gandhi won eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Director.

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Ben Kingsley
as Mahatma Gandhi
Candice Bergen
as Margaret Bourke-White
Trevor Howard
as Judge Broomfield
John Mills
as Viceroy
Edward Fox
as Gen. Dyer
John Gielgud
as Lord Irwin
Ian Charleson
as Charlie Andrews
Athol Fugard
as Gen. Smuts
Günther Maria Halmer
as Herman Kallenbach
Saeed Jaffrey
as Sardar Patel
Alyque Padamsee
as Mohammed Ali Jinnah
Roshan Seth
as Pandit Nehru
Ian Bannen
as Sr. Police Officer
Michael Bryant
as Principal Secretary
John Clements
as Advocate General
Michael Hordern
as Sir George Hodge
Peter Harlowe
as Lord Mountbatten
Jane Myerson
as Lady Mountbatten
Shreeram Lagoo
as Prof. Gokhale
Om Puri
as Nahari
Virendra Razdan
as Maulana Azad
Richard Vernon
as Sir Edward Gait
Harsh Nayyar
as Nathuram Godse
Peter Cartwright
as European Passenger
Marius Weyers
as Conductor
Shane Rimmer
as Commentator
Anang Desai
as J.B. Kripalani
Ken Hutchison
as Police Sergeant
Alok Nath
as Tyeb Mohammed
David Gant
as Daniels
Avis Bunnage
as His Mother
Sunila Pradhan
as Mrs. Motilal Nehru
John Savident
as Manager of the Mine
Ernest Clark
as Lord Hunter
Stewart Harwood
as Prison Officer
Pankaj Mohan
as Mahadev Desai
Bernard Horsfall
as Gen. Edgar
Stanley McGeagh
as Prison Guard
Christopher Good
as Young Englishman
David Markham
as Older Englishman
Terrence Hardiman
as Ramsey MacDonald
Jalal Agha
as Traveller on Train Roof
John Vine
as ADC to Gen. Dyer
Rupert Frazer
as Cavalry Troop Leader
Bernard Hill
as Sergeant Putnam
Nana Palsikar
as Villager
John Quentin
as Batsman
Graham Seed
as Wicket-Keeper
Gerald Sim
as Magistrate
Gareth Forwood
as Secretary
James Cossins
as Brigadier
Geoffrey Chater
as Government Advocate
Barry John
as Police Superintendant
Brian Oulton
as Clerk of Court
James Snell
as Court Reporter
John Boxer
as Court Reporter
Richard Leech
as Brigadier
David Sibley
as Subaltern
Stanley Lebor
as Police Officer
Terence Hardiman
as Ramsey MacDonald
Jon Croft
as Colonel
John Ratzenberger
as American Lieutenant
Jack McKenzie
as Major at Aga Khan Palace
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Critic Reviews for Gandhi

All Critics (62) | Top Critics (16)

The film is triumphantly not a deification, but it is necessarily a simplification, and suffers from some of those disadvantages... But the embattled spirit of respect for human dignity and the need for mutual tolerance flow clearly through the film.

March 16, 2020 | Full Review…

Although Gandhi may lack the depth of a more academic approach, it is an old-fashioned, inspirational ode to a man who dared to challenge military power with self-restraint and political cunning.

April 26, 2018 | Full Review…

Grievously doting and squeamishly evasive.

May 6, 2017 | Full Review…

They simply do not build movies like this any more, which is a pity.

February 17, 2015 | Full Review…

In playing Gandhi, an actor must be less concerned with physical verisimilitude than with spiritual presence, and here Kingsley is nothing short of astonishing.

February 24, 2010 | Full Review…

Once in a long while a motion picture so eloquently expressive and technically exquisite comes along that one is tempted to hail it as being near perfect.

January 29, 2008 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Gandhi


A sincere biopic about a most admirable man and enriched by Ben Kingsley's exceptional performance - even if the story is in fact more didactic than really compelling and with Gandhi not as fascinating as a character as the strength of his convictions and accomplishments.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


Ben Kingsley is definitely one of the best actors absolutely shows in this wonderful film.

Cynthia S.
Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer


It's been ages since I've seen this, so my review is being dictated primarily by memory. Perhaps it's time for a rewatch? Richard Attenborough takes the helm for this sweeping historical epic about the life of Indian political and spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi. It's a very reverent film, is extremely long, and covers a lot of ground, but is a very powerful and compelling tale that highlights the life and work of one of the most influential and important figures in history. This will probably always be Sir Ben Kingsley's defining role, but that's totally fine. He disappears into the character completely, was nothing but deserving of all the awards and acclaim he got, and really brings the character to life in the best way. It's seriously one of the most convincing performances ever. Like I said, I haven't seen this in ages, so I really don't remember much, but given who makes up the rest of the cast, such as Gielgud, I'm going to go out on a limb and just assert that their performances were also probably great too. There's also great music, wonderful production values, superb cinematography, and of course, a great message. There's many reasons to see this, and for whichever ones you pick, hopefully you'll not be disappointed.

Chris Weber
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

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