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The Wilby Conspiracy

PG 1975 1h 41m Action Adventure List
67% Tomatometer 6 Reviews 45% Audience Score 1,000+ Ratings
English engineer Jim Keogh (Michael Caine) and black anti-apartheid activist Shack Twala (Sidney Poitier) go on the run together in 1970s South Africa after falling foul of the police. Aided by Shack's lawyer, Rina (Prunella Gee), the two attempt to make their way to Cape Town where Shack hopes to return a diamond stash to the African National Congress and in turn seek help from the Congress' leader, Wilby (Joe De Graft). Unbeknownst to the pair, they are being followed. Read More Read Less
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Critics Reviews

View All (6) Critics Reviews
Matt Brunson Film Frenzy A crackling action film that also takes time out to frown upon South Africa's policy of apartheid. Rated: 3/4 Sep 18, 2021 Full Review Nathanael Hood The Retro Set The film is a confused mishmash of genres and inexplicable character moments that fail to coalesce into something greater. Rated: 5/10 Jan 9, 2020 Full Review Ruth Batchelor Los Angeles Free Press Fortunately the actors, direction, dialogue and scenic photography carry the film over some confusing moments in the plot. Nov 27, 2019 Full Review Emanuel Levy EmanuelLevy.Com Rated: 2/5 Jul 24, 2005 Full Review Dragan Antulov rec.arts.movies.reviews Rated: 6/10 Jan 1, 2000 Full Review Shane Burridge rec.arts.movies.reviews An adventure yarn with enough odd flourishes to earn itself a cult audience Jan 1, 2000 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (21) audience reviews
Steve D Not quite worthy of its stars. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 08/19/23 Full Review Audience Member In apartheid-era South Africa, Shack Twala (Sidney Poitier), a black revolutionary who had served time on Robben Island, is freed by Rina van Niekerk (Prunella Gee), his Afrikaner defence attorney, because he would be a victim of retroactive legislation. Rina, estranged from her husband Blane van Niekerk (Rutger Hauer), is having a relationship with an English mining engineer, Jim Keogh (Michael Caine), who has attended Shack's trial. Surprised by the verdict, Rina, Jim and Shack go off to celebrate at her house. They are stopped by policemen who are conducting identity document checks and arresting everyone who does not have their papers on them. As Shack has only just been released from prison he will not receive his papers until the next day. The policeman and Shack antagonise each other leading to Shack being handcuffed and arrested. When Rina attempts to pull the policeman off Shack, the policeman hits her, knocking her to the ground. Jim assaults and knocks out the policeman making all three fugitives. At a police station, a police brigadier (Patrick Allen) is chastised by the racist Major Horn (Nicol Williamson) of the Bureau of State Security (BOSS) for not only arresting Shack but continuing with their random identity checks and arrests that have infuriated world opinion. The three fugitives are followed and monitored by BOSS to lead them to discover their escape route to Botswana and its facilitators, Indian dentists Anil Mukarjee and Persis Ray; a stash of stolen uncut diamonds being used to fund the Black Congress Party and its leader, a man named Wilby Xaba (Joe De Graft)... "The Wilby Conspiracy" shines the light on apartheid in South Africa in the 1970s, but the storyline doesn´t add up with its messy structure, plot holes and a partly not that logic set up. Caine and Poitier seems a bit lost in their roles as well despite the fact that they are trying to portray the characters as good as they can. Maybe the direction was not that good. However it was nice to see one of my favourites, Rutger Hauer, in the film. Rest in peace Rutger. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 02/21/23 Full Review Audience Member Sidney Poitier and Michael Caine carry off respectable performances in a film that shows the dark underside of South African society. A few contrived twists and turns in the plot. with a surprise ending. The villagers speak Swahili, the language of Kenya, which is not spoken in South Africa. Hollywood doesn't care. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/19/23 Full Review dave j Monday, September 23, 2013 (1975) The Wilby Conspiracy THRILLER Adapted from the novel written by Peter Driscoll and directed by Ralph Nelson starring Sidney Poitier as Shack Twala and Michael Caine as Jim Keogh escaping by going on a road trip from Cape Town to Johannesburg after scuffling and then assaulting a couple of police officers after winning at a trial. It's called "The Wilby Conspiracy" because Wilby is the name Shack is trying to reach with the help of Jim and his soon-to-be-wife Rina (Prunella Gee). Rutger Hauer also stars as Blane. This movie gives viewers some sense about what living in Africa used to be like which is similar to what it used to be like in United States when segregation was being practiced between "white collar" Christianity and African natives. All the irony and the rapport being built between the Poitier character and the Caine character is just a backdrop to some of the real issues with Africa during that particular time. But still, it still feels somewhat outdated since many things has happened since then after the releasing of Nelson Mandela. Footnote: This is the last and final film director Ralph Nelson worked with African American actor Sidney Poitier. 3 out of 4 stars Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 03/30/23 Full Review Audience Member As you would expect, "The Wilby Conspiracy" is unsurprisingly lean when it comes to storytelling, but that doesn't make it any less fun. It's an adventurous caper that's set in an interesting part of the world, which makes for some spectacular scenery, and overall, it works as good, mindless entertainment. There are some entirely irrelevant sequences (such as Shack's passionate exchange with Dr. Ray), which seem to be the result of 70s film making, but "The Wilby Conspiracy" is great in its own way. Generally, I prefer to be genuinely amused by a film than blown away by its artistic merit. Oh, and Nicol Williamson is great. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/16/23 Full Review Audience Member One of Michael Cains turkeys. Avoid at all costs. Rated 1 out of 5 stars 01/19/23 Full Review Read all reviews
The Wilby Conspiracy

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Cast & Crew

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Movie Info

Synopsis English engineer Jim Keogh (Michael Caine) and black anti-apartheid activist Shack Twala (Sidney Poitier) go on the run together in 1970s South Africa after falling foul of the police. Aided by Shack's lawyer, Rina (Prunella Gee), the two attempt to make their way to Cape Town where Shack hopes to return a diamond stash to the African National Congress and in turn seek help from the Congress' leader, Wilby (Joe De Graft). Unbeknownst to the pair, they are being followed.
Director
Ralph Nelson
Producer
Martin Baum
Production Co
Baum/Dantine Productions
Rating
PG
Genre
Action, Adventure
Original Language
English
Release Date (Streaming)
Jan 17, 2017
Runtime
1h 41m
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