Living in Bondage: Breaking Free

Living in Bondage: Breaking Free, also known as Living in Bondage II, is a 2019 Nigerian supernatural thriller executive produced by Charles Okpaleke.[3][4] A sequel to the 1992 classic Living in Bondage, the film stars Kenneth Okonkwo, Kanayo O. Kanayo, Enyinna Nwigwe, and Muna Abii, with Swanky JKA in his breakout role. Ramsey Nouah, who makes his directorial debut, plays the main villain.[5][6] It received mostly positive reviews and ranked 11th overall on the list of highest-grossing Nigerian films of all time at the end of its theatrical run. The film premiered on Netflix in May 2020.[7]

Living in Bondage: Breaking Free
Living in Bondage Breaking Free poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRamsey Nouah
Screenplay byNicole Asinugo
C.J. Obasi
Story byNicole Asinugo
Produced bySteve Gukas
Dotun Olakunri
Charles Okpaleke
StarringRamsey Nouah
Enyinna Nwigwe
Kenneth Okonkwo
Kanayo O. Kanayo
Muna Abii
Jide Kene Achufusi
CinematographyJohn Demps
Edited byAnthony Ribeiro
Music byGeorge Kallis
Play Network Studios
Natives Filmworks
Michelangelo Productions
Distributed byFilmone Distributions
Release date
  • 8 November 2019 (2019-11-08)
Running time
149 minutes
Nigerian Pidgin
Budget₦10 million[1]
Box office₦168.7 million [2]


Twenty-five years after the events of the original movie, Andy Okeke (Kenneth Okonkwo) has become an ordained man-of-God, renouncing his allegiance to the secret cult now known as Brotherhood of the Six. The sect has expanded into an international organisation, with most Nigerian members who survived the 1996 Otokoto riots fleeing the country apart from Chief Omego (Kanayo O. Kanayo) – now an Imo state governorship aspirant – and Mike Ekejimbe (Bob-Manuel Udokwu). The film opens with Omego's son Obinna (Enyinna Nwigwe) murdering his young daughter Kosi (Charlene Chisom Ignatus) in a forest as part of a money-making ritual. In a nod to the original story, her spirit torments her father throughout the movie, leading to his sudden death towards the end.

Nnamdi Okeke (Swanky JKA) – Andy's secret son by his late second wife Ego – has been raised by maternal relatives Pascal Nworie (Zulu Adigwe) and his wife Eunice (Ebele Okaro), and shares a close bond with their son Toby (Shawn Faqua). Highly ambitious but largely unlucky, Nnamdi is unable to maintain a stable career as an advertising executive five years after graduation. Despite the disapproval of his uncle who is aware of Omego's occultic background, Nnamdi, who yearns for a luxurious lifestyle by any means possible, becomes acquainted with Omego's wife Nneka (Ndidi Obi) and Obinna who both offer to help him establish connections within the advertising industry.

During an office presentation where Nnamdi pitches his campaign for an upcoming rail network, billionaire tycoon Richard Williams (Ramsey Nouah) is impressed by his ingenuity. He mentors Nnamdi professionally, and the latter is catapulted into high society status, acquiring vast wealth and recognition, but his new life comes at a price. Unbeknownst to Nnamdi, Richard is the new leader of The Six, and on a mission to lure him into their cult. Due to Andy's past, the Okeke lineage is eternally bound to the dark side.

Investigative journalist and blogger Uzoma (David Jones) grows suspicious of notable billionaires associated with mysterious murders, particularly after his sister and her daughter Kosi die in mysterious circumstances, and pays Andy a visit in search of answers. Having experienced cultism himself, Andy attempts to warn his son after Uzoma informs him of Nnamdi's existence, and tries save him from The Six before time runs out. Richard eventually initiates Nnamdi, but fails to persuade Andy back into the fold after the latter refuses. Nnamdi later regrets joining The Six, especially after falling for Kelly (Munachi Abii) whom he meets at Obinna's wedding when the latter remarries seven months after his wife's death. Richard and Omego have commanded him to present her as a sacrifice, and Nnamdi is torn between appeasing the cult and sparing Kelly's life.

Toby visits the depressed Nnamdi to get to the bottom of the latter's melancholy demeanor and passes the night at his place, but Richard possesses Nnamdi, commanding him to stab his sleeping cousin in lieu of Kelly. Unable to resist, Nnamdi resorts to stabbing himself instead and is rushed to hospital where he survives and reconciles with his biological father Andy whom he had previously rejected. Members of The Six are arrested after a recording Obinna sent Uzoma before his suicide is used as evidence. However, Richard is able to dodge indictment, and is seen on his private jet before the ending credits roll.



In 2015, Charles Okpaleke[8] acquired the rights to Living In Bondage from the writer Kenneth Nnebue for a possible remake to be filmed in Europe and America as well as Nigeria.[9][10] The news was later confirmed on Instagram, but languished in development hell for three years.[11] In 2018, Nouah announced the film would become a sequel instead of a remake and titled Living in Bondage: Breaking Free, marking his directorial debut.[12] Actors Okonkwo, Udokwu, and Kanayo who featured in the original were retained.[13]

Filming took place on location in Lagos, Owerri, and Durban.[14]


A special premiere held on 2 November 2019 at the Filmhouse Cinemas, Lagos; it was generally tagged as the one of the most anticipated Nigerian films for 2019 in the media.[15] The film had its theatrical release in Nigeria across 52 locations on 8 November 2019.[16]


Box officeEdit

The film was critically successful at the box office. At the time of its release, it recorded the highest opening weekend for a Nigerian film for 2019, grossing ₦25.8 million, and the highest collection in a single day for a Nollywood film in 2019.[17] The film also recorded the highest opening as a non-comedy film for 2019.[18]

In its first seven days of release, the film grossed ₦48.6 million, as reported by the Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria.[19] The film collected ₦36.7 million in its second week to remain number 1 at the Nigerian box office. In the third week, the film collected ₦24.7 million, dropping to number 2, albeit having the highest weekend admissions. After three weeks it had grossed over ₦100 million. This surpassed the 2019 record set by Bling Lagosians.[20]

In its fourth week, the film regained the number 1 spot at the box office and grossed ₦19.6 million over the week. In its 5th week, the film experienced a drop by 38% for its week on week gross, earning ₦12.5 million and dropping to number 4. The 6th week saw the movie drop to number 6, earning ₦5.7 million. The 7th week; over the holiday period, the movie grossed ₦5.4 million, dropping by just 6%. The 8th week saw the movie grossed ₦4.6 million staying at number 10 at the Nigerian box office. The final cumulative stood at ₦163.4 million at the box office after 11 weeks.[2] The film ranked eleventh overall on the list of highest-grossing Nigerian films of all time after its theatrical run.[21][22] The film saw a short theatrical re-run in March, bringing its total gross to ₦168.7 million [23]

Critical responseEdit

Living in Bondage: Breaking Free generally received positive reviews from film critics and audiences.[24] Entertainment website Pulse Nigeria ranked it first on its list of the Top 10 Nollywood movies of the year.[25] It received critical acclaim for its direction, cinematography, and soundtrack, with critics commending Swanky JKA's performance. Conversely, the character direction of Uzoma (played by David Jones) has been panned.[26] Gbenga Bada of Pulse Nigeria commended Nouah's directorial execution and role as the villain; Bada also said the film sheds "more light on the existence of occult societies while entertainingly educating the general public".[27]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Result Ref
2020 Best of Nollywood Awards Movie with the Best Special Effects Won [28]
Best Use of Make-up in a Movie Won
Movie with the Best Editing Won
Director of the Year Won
Movie of the Year Won
Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards Best Overall Movie Won [29]
Best Movie West Africa Won
Best Director Won
Best Writer Won


  1. ^ (28 October 2019). "We Had an Exclusive Chat with Charles Okpaleke, Executive Producer of "Living In Bondage: Breaking Free"". BellaNaija. Retrieved 28 June 2020.
  2. ^ a b "TTop 20 films 20th 26th March 2020". Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria.
  3. ^ StyleVitae (22 October 2019). "Charles Okpaleke Opens Up About Producing 'Living in Bondage'". StyleVitae. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  4. ^ "'Living in Bondage: Breaking Free' is perfect for Ramsey Nouah's directorial debut (Review)". Pulse Nigeria. 31 October 2019. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  5. ^ "Living in Bondage: How 1992 classic changed Nollywood". Pulse Nigeria. 22 November 2019. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  6. ^ "Living in Bondage returns 27 years after with 'Breaking Free'". The Guardian Nigeria News – Nigeria and World News. 1 November 2019. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  7. ^ "'Living in Bondage: Breaking Free' to begin streaming on Netflix from May 22". 15 May 2020.
  8. ^ (28 October 2019). "We Had an Exclusive Chat with Charles Okpaleke, Executive Producer of "Living In Bondage: Breaking Free"". BellaNaija. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  9. ^ "Charles Okpaleke explains the idea behind 'Living in Bondage: Breaking Free'". Pulse Nigeria. 4 November 2019. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  10. ^ " – Nigeria's Top Website for News, Gossip, Comedy, Videos, Blogs, Events, Weddings, Nollywood, Celebs, Scoop and Games". Nigerian Entertainment Today. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  11. ^ "A sequel to the 1992 classic is being made". Pulse Nigeria. 27 October 2015. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  12. ^ "Awaiting Second Coming Of Living In Bondage". 31 October 2015. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  13. ^ "Where are they now? What the main cast of Nollywood classic 'Living in Bondage' is up to". Pulse Nigeria. 6 November 2019. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  14. ^ Ramsey Nouah Makes Directorial Debut
  15. ^ editor (8 November 2019). "Charles Okpaleke's 'Living in Bondage the Sequel' Premieres". THISDAYLIVE. Retrieved 21 December 2019.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  16. ^ "'Living In Bondage: Breaking Free' out November 8". The Nation Newspaper. 2 November 2019. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  17. ^ "Nigerian Box Office: 'Living in Bondage' sequel continues to outperform movies from huge foreign studios like Sony, Fox and Disney". 20 November 2019. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  18. ^ "'Living in Bondage' sequel becomes highest opening for a non-comedy film". The Nation Newspaper. 22 November 2019. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  19. ^ "'Living in Bondage: Breaking Free' displaces 'Terminator' to gross over N25M in first weekend". Pulse Nigeria. 13 November 2019. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  20. ^ "Top 20 films 29th November 1st December 2019". Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  21. ^ "'Living in Bondage': After 3 weeks in cinemas, this 2019 sequel is officially one of the highest-grossing Nigerian movies of all time". 26 November 2019. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  22. ^ Okechukwu, Daniel (26 November 2019). "Living In Bondage: Breaking Free now ninth Highest-Grossing Nigerian Film in History". The Culture Custodian (Est. 2014). Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  23. ^ "Top 20 films 13th 15th March 2020".
  24. ^ "'Living in Bondage': Nigerians respond positively to the sequel to 1992 Nollywood classic". 11 November 2019. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  25. ^ "Pulse List 2019: Top 10 Nollywood movies of the year". Pulse Nigeria. 16 December 2019. Retrieved 21 December 2019.
  26. ^ "The 3 important things the 'Living in Bondage' sequel got right — and the 1 thing it got wrong". 6 November 2019. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  27. ^ Bada, Gbenga (31 October 2019). "Living in Bondage: Breaking Free' is perfect for Ramsey Nouah's directorial debut (Review)". Pulse Nigeria.
  28. ^ Augoye, Jayne (7 December 2020). "BON Awards: Laura Fidel, Kunle Remi win Best Kiss (Full List of Winners)". Retrieved 13 June 2021.
  29. ^ Okanlawon, Taiwo (15 March 2020). "Living In Bondage wins big at AMVCA2020". P.M. News. Retrieved 25 May 2020.

External linksEdit