Nelson Mandela's life has inspired the world and has been the basis for many memorable performances and films.
Sidney Poitier, "Mandela and de Klerk" (1997) -- The legendary actor portrayed Mandela in 1997 Hallmark TV movie. He co-starred with Michael Caine, who played former South African President F.W. de Klerk, in a story that depicted Mandela's release from Robben Island and the transition of power between the two men. Poitier was nominated for both an Emmy and a SAG Award.
Danny Glover, "Mandela" (1987) -- Glover also earned an Emmy nomination for his performance as Mandela 10 years prior to Poitier. In this TV movie, Glover portrayed Mandela's life from lawyer to political activist to prisoner on Robben Island, where he was still being held when the movie was made.
Clarke Peters, "Endgame" (2009) -- "The Wire" actor played Mandela in the 2009 miniseries "Endgame." It was more of a supporting role, as the film focused on the covert discussions that helped to end Apartheid in South Africa. Chiwetel Ejiofor and William Hurt starred.
Dennis Haysbert, "Goodbye Bafana" (2007) -- Set entirely during his 27 years imprisoned on Robben Island, the film "Goodbye Bafana" tells the story of a racist prison guard (Joseph Fiennes) whose life and views are changed through his interactions with Nelson Mandela, played by Dennis Haysbert.
David Harewood, "Mrs. Mandela" (2010) -- The BBC came out with their own depiction of Winnie Mandela, starring Sophie Okonedo. David Harewood played Mandela in this version of her story.
Lindani Nkosi, "Drum" (2004) -- Lindani Nkosi is only the second South African to ever play Nelson Mandela, the other being Simon Sabela in a 1966 TV-docudrama. "Drum" follows a young journalist that is swept up in the Apartheid movement in the 1950s and meets a young Mandela.
Terrence Howard, "Winnie" (2013) -- Though the center of the film is Jennifer Hudson's Winnie Mandela, Terrence Howard stars as Mandela at the peak of his political activism just prior to his arrest. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2011, and enjoyed a limited U.S. release in September 2013.
Morgan Freeman, "Invictus" (2009) -- Many said this was the role that Morgan Freeman was born to play. Freeman portrayed the South African President in Clint Eastwood's inspiring drama, the story of how Mandela brought the country together through the 1995 Rugby World Cup. Freeman was nominated for an Oscar and delivered what many consider the definitive performance of Mandela.
Idris Elba, "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" (2013) -- Released this past weekend, Idris Elba plays Mandela in a film based on his autobiography of the same name. Elba stars alongside Naomie Harris, who plays Winnie, in the Justin Chadwick directed film.