movies

7 Movies Set in Africa ...

Lauren Chadwick

7 Movies Set in Africa ...

I love movies set in Africa. They are atmospheric and showcase the continent’s incredible beauty and culture. The history is fascinating and often brutal, but with movies set in Africa you can guarantee a rainbow of color and a kaleidoscope of emotions. Here are just a few of my favorite movies set in Africa

1 Out of Africa

On iTunes at: itunes.apple.com

With its stunning setting of colonial Kenya, Out of Africa has everything you expect from movies set in Africa. Based on the true life story of Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep), it’s the fight of a Danish woman to establish a coffee plantation. The portrayal of her love and respect for the local Kikuyu natives, her struggles as a female in a male dominated world and the love and passion she doesn’t have with her husband but finds with rugged hunter Denys Finch-Hatton (Robert Redford) is totally engrossing.

2 Blood Diamond

On iTunes at: itunes.apple.com

Can a man find peace with himself in a time of war? Can it happen for Danny Archer (Leonardo DiCaprio)? Former mercenary Archer is in Sierra Leone and is in the business of so-called blood diamonds – aka conflict diamonds. Will this global issue be his downfall or will the beautiful Maddy save him? I think this is one of Leo’s most consummate performances!

3 Shooting Dogs/beyond the Gates

On iTunes at: itunes.apple.com

If I hadn’t just watched this film this week, I would have been including Hotel Rwanda on my list. Instead I’m going with Shooting Dogs (US title: Beyond the Gates). Both are horrifying movies about the Rwandan Genocide. Somehow Shooting Dogs is actually more moving, although both movies are completely harrowing and shocking. To be honest, if you want to learn about one of the bloodiest and most infamous events in African history, watch either of these, or even Shake Hands with the Devil.

4 Lawrence of Arabia

On iTunes at: itunes.apple.com

Often cited as one of the most stunningly cinematographic films of all time, and one that set standards for movies to follow, David Lean’s story of TE Lawrence – as magnificently portrayed by Peter O’Toole – is just brilliant to watch. Its count of 7 Oscar wins testifies to its magnificence. Seriously – the sweeping desert scene where Omar Sharif makes his appearance just draws you and then you’re hooked.

5 The Four Feathers

On iTunes at: itunes.apple.com

This is one of the movies set in Africa that has a few versions (6 actually). The Four Feathers is the story of Harry Faversham (Heath Ledger), who chooses love over his duty as a soldier. His comrades see this as the ultimate in cowardice and Faversham is shunned and ostracized when he receives the Four White Feathers. Follow Faversham to Sudan as his true heroism comes to fore.

6 The Lion King

On iTunes at: itunes.apple.com

Well I couldn’t leave the Disney classic out, could I? No matter your age, you can guarantee this is one of the best movies set in Africa out there. It may be animated, but you still get such a sense of life in the jungle, the sweeping landscapes and wide open skies. The colors of the savanna, the jungle sounds and of course the songs as we follow the story of Simba, are pure Disney magic.

7 The African Queen

On iTunes at: itunes.apple.com

Hmmm – Casablanca or The African Queen? The African Queen or Casablanca? What a dilemma! Both fantastic films set in Africa. Both films set in wartime (Casablanca – WWII; The African Queen – WWI). Both films starring the late great Humphrey Bogart. Why did I plump for The African Queen? Because although Casablanca is one of the greatest movie love stories, for me, the portrayal of the relationship between Kathryn Hepburn and Bogart in The African Queen is one of the most accomplished in movie history. Bogie won the Best Actor Oscar for his role as Charlie Allnut – Hepburn was also nominated but lost out to Vivien Leigh in A Streetcar Named Desire.

Movies set in Africa are an eclectic and thought-provoking collection. If you want something a little different for a rainy day and want your emotions to be challenged while enjoying the incredible scenery of the diverse continent, give one of these a try. I’d love to hear other recommendations too. Please share in the comments.