Road to Guantanamo, The (2006): Winterbottom and Whitecross Tale of Three British Muslims

Directors Michael Winterbottom (Welcome to Sarajevo, 24 Hour Party People) and Mat Whitecross’ The Road to Guantanamo recounts a two-year journey of three British Muslim men. Known as the Tipton Three, they were captured and held for two years without charges in the American military prison at Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay.

Caught up in the middle of the Afghanistan war, without passports one month following the 9/11 attacks, the three youngsters were captured, turned over to American forces and flown to the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The film’s theatrical release came shortly after the suicides of three prisoners held in American custody in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, sparking a renewed interest in the treatment and procedures of holding suspected terrorists in international territories.

This shocking story is brought to life through dramatic re-enactments, news footage and interviews with the real Tipton Three. The Road to Guantanamo recounts the brutal truth on what these men experienced along their journey including religious and physical abuse, solitary confinement and no apparent legal recourse.

Three young British Muslims, Shafiq Rasul, Asif Iqbal and Ruhel Ahmed collectively known as the Tipton Three (in reference to their home town in Britain), are held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in an American military prison for two years until being released with no charges being made against them. Part documentary, part dramatization, the film is based on the testimonies of the trio and traces their two-year plus journey that led to this controversial imprisonment.

The story begins shortly following the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. with Shafiq flying to Pakistan to meet the woman his mother has chosen for him to marry. Ruhel, his best man, along with Asif and another friend soon join them. They soon cross the border into Afghanistan to participate in a humanitarian mission, and are trapped in the middle of the Afghanistan war where they are captured by Northern Alliance soldiers, accused of being Al Queda fighters and shipped of to Guantanamo Bay. This terribly honest, first hand account gives the public a glimpse into what really happened.

Winner of the 2006 Berlin Film Festival for Best Director, “The Road to Guantanamo” also received critical praise from in the U.S.


Directed by Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross.
Produced by Andrew Eaton and Melissa Parmente.
Cast: Riz Ahmed, Farhad Harun and Arfan Usman.