A Good Man in Africa

A Good Man in Africa is a 1994 comedy-drama film, based on William Boyd's 1981 novel A Good Man in Africa and directed by Bruce Beresford. The film starred Colin Friels, Sean Connery, John Lithgow, Joanne Whalley, Diana Rigg and Louis Gossett, Jr.[1][2]

A Good Man in Africa
A Good Man In Africa.jpg
Directed byBruce Beresford
Screenplay byWilliam Boyd
Based onA Good Man in Africa
by William Boyd
Produced byJohn Fiedler
Mark Tarlov
Bruce Beresford
CinematographyAndrzej Bartkowiak
Edited byJim Clark
Music byJohn Du Prez
Polar Entertainment
Capitol Films
South African Breweries
Southern Sun
Distributed byGramercy Pictures (United States)
United International Pictures (United Kingdom)
Release date
  • 9 September 1994 (1994-09-09) (USA)
  • 25 November 1994 (1994-11-25) (UK)
Running time
94 min
CountriesUnited States
United Kingdom
South Africa
Budget$20 million
Box office$2,308,390


Morgan Leafy (Colin Friels) is a British diplomat living in Kinjanja, an African nation which has recently become independent from British rule. Arthur Fanshawe (John Lithgow), a new diplomat eager to leave Africa, learns that Kinjanja sits on top of a huge oil reserve. Unfortunately, Morgan is too preoccupied with alcohol and women to know what to do with the oil. To make matters worse, a woman is struck by lightning on the British compound, creating a tense political situation with the Kinjanja government.



The movie received mixed to poor reviews. Roger Ebert said that he felt uncomfortable during the film but praised the performances of Connery, Lithgow and Gossett.[4] Hal Hinson of The Washington Post said that although the film "held the possibility of being a welcome departure from the ordinary [...] ordinary is what it rises to at its best."[5] Janet Maslin of The New York Times opined that "a good book is the basis for "A Good Man in Africa," but its mordant humor has curdled badly on the screen," adding:

Although William Boyd, the author of these gimlet-eyed observations of colonial antics in Africa, adapted his own novel and also served as one of the film's producers, "A Good Man in Africa" now has none of the cunning that it had on the page.[6]

The film's director, Bruce Beresford, did not remember the film fondly:

God, that was horrible. That was the worst film experience I ever had. It was cast wrong, the crew was all strange. We were filming in the wrong place. We filmed in South Africa, it was set in West Africa. Which is like shooting in Alaska when it’s set in New Orleans. And I realized that although the novel that it’s based on is terribly funny, it was very anecdotal. It had no narrative. I think on about the second day I realized it was never going to work, because the scenes don’t link. I thought, “I’m sunk! I’m never gonna get out.”[7]

DVD releaseEdit

Focus Features released an Amazon.com exclusive DVD of the film on 11 January 2010.


  1. ^ Kraft, Scott (1993-05-30). "MOVIES : South Africa, Take 2 : What happens when Bruce Beresford brings 'A Good Man in Africa' to the country as the first post-cultural embargo film". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-10.
  2. ^ Clark, John (1994-09-18). "PAGE TO SCREEN : Boyd's Good Man". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-13.
  3. ^ Onikoyi, Ayo (2012-01-22). "Nollywood is doing fabulously well, says Nigerian Hollywood star". Vanguard. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  4. ^ "A Good Man in Africa". Chicago Sun Times. 1994-09-09. Retrieved 2021-09-20.
  5. ^ "A Good Man in Africa". The Washington Post. 1994-09-09. Retrieved 2012-06-03.
  6. ^ Maslin, Janet (1994-09-09). "FILM REVIEW; Of Colonials in Africa And Insults That Insult". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-06-03.
  7. ^ "Driving Miss Daisy Director Bruce Beresford on Aussie Cinema, Powerless Characters, and His Worst Film Experience" 23 Sept 2015

External linksEdit