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Amistad (1997)

In 1839, the revolt of Mende captives aboard a Spanish owned ship causes a major controversy in the United States when the ship is captured off the coast of Long Island. The courts must decide whether the Mende are slaves or legally free.

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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 38 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Secretary John Forsyth
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Yamba
Abu Bakaar Fofanah ...
Fala
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Calderon
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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:

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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) (14 December 1997)

Gross:

$44,175,394 (USA) (5 April 1998)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Theodore Joadson (Morgan Freeman) is a fictional creation. In real-life, it was Josiah Willard Gibbs, Sr. (Austin Pendleton), a Yale professor of theology and sacred literature, who discovered James Covey, the Mende sailor who served as a translator for the Amistad captives. As depicted in the film, Gibbs learned to count to ten in Mende, and wandered around the docks of New York City repeating the numbers, until Covey heard and recognized his own language, and spoke to the Professor. See more »

Goofs

Actors are shown at the dinner table while wearing white gloves. Etiquette demands gloves be removed before eating or drinking. 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 Orange Is the New Black: Blood Donut (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Ya Weh
Traditional West African Chant
Adapted by Arthur Abraham (as Dr. Arthur Abraham) and Debbie Allen
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User Reviews

 
Another fantastic film from Spielberg.
3 July 2000 | by (Bedfordshire,England) – See all my reviews

Amistad is one of them films that when the credits roll you just sit there and think what a wonderfull film that was ,what a well directed and well acted movie i have just seen. The acting is some of the best i have ever seen. the performances from Mathew McConaughue,Pete Postlethwaite and Morgan Freeman are Brilliant but check out the acting from Anthony Hopkins and Djimon Hounson,they are superb. The story is gripping and moving at the same time. The scenes on the Amistad ship are quite distressing and really show you how repulsive the slave trade was but this just adds to the realism and wonder of this fantastic film. A masterpeice. 9 out of 10.


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