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Amistad (1997)

R  |   |  Drama, History  |  25 December 1997 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 51,793 users   Metascore: 63/100
Reviews: 212 user | 75 critic | 23 from Metacritic.com

About a 1839 mutiny aboard a slave ship that is traveling towards the northeastern coast of America. Much of the story involves a court-room drama about the free man who led the revolt.

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Title: Amistad (1997)

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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 36 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Cinque
...
...
Secretary John Forsyth
...
...
...
Yamba
Abu Bakaar Fofanah ...
Fala
...
...
Calderon
...
Derrick N. Ashong ...
Buakei
Geno Silva ...
Ruiz
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Storyline

Amistad is the name of a slave ship traveling from Cuba to the U.S. in 1839. It is carrying a cargo of Africans who have been sold into slavery in Cuba, taken on board, and chained in the cargo hold of the ship. As the ship is crossing from Cuba to the U.S., Cinque, who was a tribal leader in Africa, leads a mutiny and takes over the ship. They continue to sail, hoping to find help when they land. Instead, when they reach the United States, they are imprisoned as runaway slaves. They don't speak a word of English, and it seems like they are doomed to die for killing their captors when an abolitionist lawyer decides to take their case, arguing that they were free citizens of another country and not slaves at all. The case finally gets to the Supreme Court, where John Quincy Adams makes an impassioned and eloquent plea for their release. Written by M Parkinson, Sarasota, FL, USA

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Freedom is not given. It is our right at birth. But there are some moments when it must be taken. See more »

Genres:

Drama | History

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some scenes of strong brutal violence and some related nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

25 December 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Amistad - Das Sklavenschiff  »

Box Office

Budget:

$36,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$4,661,866 (USA) (12 December 1997)

Gross:

$44,175,394 (USA) (3 April 1998)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

President Van Buren and former President Adams find themselves on opposite ends of the court case in this film. In real life, Van Buren would later run for re-election in 1848 as a member of the Free Soil party, which opposed the expansion of slavery. His Vice-Presidential running mate was John Quincy Adams's son, Charles Francis Adams. See more »

Goofs

Gustave Doré's illustrated Bible was not published until 1866, 26 years after the district court set the Africans free. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Ruiz: [to Pedro Montes] That one wants us to sail them back. That one thinks he can sail all the way back without us.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The events depicted did not historically occur at Fort El Morro See more »

Connections

Referenced in Cleanflix (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Andantino From Quartet No. 3 In G Major
Written by Giovanni Battista Viotti
Performed by Quartetto Aira
Courtesy of Dynamic SRL.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
An amazing story of history and freedom
16 February 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

While theatergoers in 1997 were being amazed by special effects on another ship, this magnificent story given to us by the master director Steven Spielberg gives us the true story of our country and what it means to be American.

We are not free as long as one of us is in chains. As John Quincy Adams (Anthony Hopkins) so eloquently put it, "...what are we to do with that embarrassing, annoying document, The Declaration of Independence? What of its conceits? "All men created equal," "inalienable rights," "life, liberty," and so on and so forth?" The Civil War was, indeed, the last battle of The American Revolution.

What a cast! You can search for Fool's Gold or you can watch Matthew McConaughey in her greatest performance as the lawyer who risked it all.

Djimon Hounsou may Never Back Down this year, as he certainly didn't in this film.

Morgan Freeman certainly knows about "Freedom: A History of Us" and he helped the Africans find theirs.

One of the very best films I have ever seen.


26 of 35 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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