Reel American HistoryHistory on trial Main Page

AboutFilmsFor StudentsFor TeachersBibliographyResources

Films >> Hotel Rwanda (2004) >>

A true story of a man who fought impossible odds
to save everyone he could,
and created a place where hope survived

View the trailer

In the midst of the atrocities of the Rwandan genocide in 1994, hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina provides refuge for Hutu and Tutsi refugees in Hotel Rwanda. As the genocide breaks out and foreign nationals flee the country, Rusesabagina is appointed to new leadership over his four-star hotel Sabena Hôtel des Mille Collines in Kingali, Rwanda. Confronted by evidence of the genocide -- burning homes lining the streets and dead bodies littering lawns -- Rusesabagina is moved to open the doors to his hotel, previously occupied by wealthy white tourists, to provide safety to his Hutu and Tutsi neighbors. After word gets out about this new haven, the hotel is overrun by waves of other Hutu and Tutsis from UN camps and orphanages. Pressure mounts on Rusesabagina as he leads his community through this civil war, provides stability for his family, and maintains the function of the hotel as the Interahamwe, a brutal anti-Tutsi militia, threatens their safety with constant invasion. As the genocide continues, resources dry up and the hotel loses its ability to provide safety to its guests. With limited support provided by the UN Peacekeepers and international defense forces, Rusesabagina directs this movement with courage. As a final attempt at greater security, the Rwandans flee the hotel to find refuge at a UN camp and reach safety behind Tutsi rebel lines. This personal story of courage and persistence brings a face to the Rwandan genocide and forces audiences to consider US involvement in this devastating global issue.