Dr Mark’s The Meaning in a Nutshell

Meaning of Clint Eastwood (Director) Invictus (2009)

Clint Eastwood (Director) Invictus (film)

The film Invictus (2009) is based on the book by the sports and political journalist John Carlin, Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game that Made a Nation (2008) that was adapted to the screen by the screenwriter Anthony Peckham and the director Clint Eastwood.  It celebrates an episode in the life of the first black president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, who used the 1995 Rugby World Cup to unite a racially divided nation after the end of Apartheid. 

While dealing with this subject matter, the film celebrates and glorifies Nelson Mandela as a great man who endured great hardship in his lifelong struggle against racism and injustice, but who showed enormous stoicism to overcome great adversity to eventually become a national leader who did not hate his enemies but rather promoted forgiveness and reconciliation.  In this context, the film can also be seen as celebrating the end of Apartheid and as promoting racial integration. 

As a film that deals with sport, it uses sport as a metaphor for life, noting that success in sport requires dedication, discipline, determination, self-sacrifice, courage and skill, which are qualities required for success in any field of endeavour.  In addition, the film deals with the relationship of sport and politics, noting how the problems and divisions in a nation can be reflected in its treatment of sport and in how a dynamic and visionary political leader can recognise this to use sport as a means to heal the nation, in this case by using the national rugby team, the Springboks, to promote reconciliation and national unity.  

Notably, the film depicts the relationship of President Nelson Mandela and the rugby captain Francois Pienaar who established a relationship based on mutual respect and came to share a common cause in promoting integration for their troubled nation.  With the Springboks victorious in the 1995 Rugby World Cup, and with jubilant crowds of blacks and whites together celebrating in the streets, the film concludes with their shared pride in what they have achieved for South Africa. 

Student and teacher resources by Dr Mark Lopez

© Mark Lopez 2019 All RIGHTS RESERVED

The purpose of the concise notes of Dr Mark’s The Meaning in a Nutshell is to provide much needed help to students and teachers seeking to unlock the meaning of the texts with which they have to deal.  (More elaborate notes are provided in lessons as part of my private tutoring business.) 

Subject: Invictus meaning, Invictus themes, Invictus analysis, Invictus notes