#196: Gandhi (1982)

When and how did I watch this?

November 2nd and 3rd, 2015, on a friend’s Plex account.

Had I seen this film already?


What did I know about the movie before watching it?

I knew it was long, and I knew it won eight out of eleven Oscar nominations. I was vaguely familiar with the Gandhi story, but not to the depth I was certain this movie would present.

What do I know about it now?

Most baseball games are three hours or longer, and I have no problem “tolerating” them.  I love baseball.  It moves along at a quiet pace punctuated with moments of tension and releases, much like what you’d expect out of an epic movie (Barry Lyndon, for example). There are certainly distinctions between the two. But sometimes, neither team is scoring, and it feels like the game is just dragging on.  This is the effect Gandhi had on me. While I attempted to really like the movie, and I certainly grew to admire the man, nothing about the film was particularly gripping — in short, I was bored.  Sure, there was a big massacre scene (which broke my heart) and there was the sentimentality of Gandhi’s hunger strike to end rioting between Muslims and Hindus (which worked, much to my relief), but the movie slugged along with no end in sight.  It could’ve been shorter and been more effective.

What are some themes in the film?

Nationalism, humility, nonviolent protest, discrimination, imperialism, persistence

Did this affect me personally?

A couple of scenes rattled me. I knew nothing of the massacre shown in the film, and much of the details of Gandhi’s life as portrayed in the film moved me.  But I could’ve read a textbook and it might have had the same effect.

Why is this ranked #196?

The film swept the 1982 Academy Awards, and it accurately portrays the life of one of the greatest and humblest men ever in history.  Critics love it.  Those who admire Gandhi’s efforts find it fascinating. It’s colorful and comprehensive.

Did my wife watch/like it?

She was more bored than I was.  She spent both evenings/halves of the film playing video games.  And she doesn’t really like video games too much.

Would I watch it again?


Would I recommend it to a friend?

Many people love this film.  I can’t deny its “greatness”, so sure, go for it.  But if your favorite film is The Matrix, for example, you’ll likely be as bored as I was.

Does it deserve to be on this list as one of the greatest films of all time?

Yeah, I think so.  I wasn’t as riveted as I thought I should have been, but I can see why it’d be regarded as one of the finest films made.

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