A Dry White Season Poster

Release Date: 1989

DVD Release Date: November 8th, 2005

R|1 hr 37 min

Plot Summary
Teacher Ben du Toit (Donald Sutherland) mostly ignores the problems of apartheid in South Africa until he discovers that the son of a gardener (Winston Ntshona) at his school has been killed by corrupt policeman Stolz (Jürgen Prochnow). Du Toit persuades human rights attorney Ian McKenzie (Marlon Brando) to try the long-shot case against Stolz. During the trial, Du Toit's transformation into an advocate for justice is so absolute that it distances him from his family.

Cast: Donald Sutherland, Winston Ntshona, Zakes Mokae, Jürgen Prochnow, Susan Sarandon, Marlon Brando, Janet Suzman, Thoko Ntshinga

Director: Euzhan Palcy

Genres: Drama

Production Co: Sundance Productions

Keywords: Transformation, Police officer, Gripping, Rousing, Revenge, 1970s, Quest

Ratings & Reviews

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  • A heavy, effective dramatization of the effects of the Soweto Uprising of 1976 on a white South African teacher (Donald Sutherland) whose black gardener is murdered by police. This film is unblinking in its depiction of the most violent side of apartheid. Marlon Brando lightens the drama with a colorful cameo as the lawyer hired by Sutherland to combat the state. show more

  • Donald Sutherland is perfectly cast and quietly effective as a man who will not be turned aside, who does not wish misfortune upon himself or his family, but cannot ignore what has happened to the family of his friend. show more

  • A Dry White Season is a powerful movie. It is sometimes horrifying and hard to take, although there also is considerable ironic humor in the Clarence Darrow-like trial tactics of the lawyer. The cast, clearly dedicated to the project, is uniformly excellent, and there is no sense in the skillfully built, suspenseful flow of the story that this is Palcy's first major feature. [06 Oct 1989, p.3E]

See all critic reviews on metacritic.com


Nominated Actor in a Supporting Role
British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1989)
Nominated Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated Best Performance By an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture