In 1896, Ethiopia, an African nation, largely armed with spears and knives, defeats a well-equipped and organized Italian military bent on colonization.




Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Teza (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The Ethiopian intellectual Anberber returns to his native country during the repressive totalitarian regime of Haile Mariam Mengistu and the recognition of his own displacement and ... See full summary »

Director: Haile Gerima
Stars: Aaron Arefe, Abiye Tedla, Takelech Beyene
Sankofa (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A self-absorbed Black American fashion model on a photo shoot in Africa is spiritually transported back to a plantation in the West Indies where she experiences first-hand the physical and ... See full summary »

Director: Haile Gerima
Stars: Kofi Ghanaba, Oyafunmike Ogunlano, Alexandra Duah
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In Ethiopia; there is a slow boiling of a feud between a wealthy Lord and a protester who feels he is mistreating his laborers. While the viewer gets to closely examine the culture, conversations, and lives of the locals who surround them.

Director: Haile Gerima
Stars: Kasu Asfaw, Gebru Kasa, Worke Kasa
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A troubled Vietnam veteran hoping to forget the war and reconnect with American life struggles with disillusionment, self-worth, and cynicism.

Director: Haile Gerima
Stars: John Anderson, Evelyn A. Blackwell, Norman Blalock
Bush Mama (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Director: Haile Gerima
Stars: Barbarao, Johnny Weathers, Susan Williams
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Seventy short films about cinema and its future.

Directors: Hala Abdallah, John Akomfrah, and 71 more credits »
Stars: Bernardo Bertolucci, Haile Gerima, Bernardo Greco
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Languid look at the Gullah culture of the sea islands off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia where African folk-ways were maintained well into the 20th Century and was one of the last ... See full summary »

Director: Julie Dash
Stars: Cora Lee Day, Alva Rogers, Barbarao
The Club (2015)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A crisis counselor is sent by the Catholic Church to a small Chilean beach town where disgraced priests and nuns, suspected of crimes ranging from child abuse to baby-snatching from unwed mothers, live secluded, after an incident occurs.

Director: Pablo Larraín
Stars: Alfredo Castro, Roberto Farías, Antonia Zegers
Macbeth (2015)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Macbeth, the Thane of Glamis, receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders his king and takes the throne for himself.

Director: Justin Kurzel
Stars: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jack Madigan
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Director: Haile Gerima
Stars: Sterling Brown


In 1896, Ethiopia, an African nation, largely armed with spears and knives, defeats a well-equipped and organized Italian military bent on colonization.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | War



Official Sites:



| |



Release Date:

20 November 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Adua  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


See  »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Meandering, Unsourced, Confusing
1 February 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Before reviewing, I should qualify that I had a specific purpose for watching this film, which was to find a movie or documentary that I could show to the Africa class that I teach, and one of our textbooks is an ethnography of south Ethiopia. I hoped Adwa would be a good historical introduction to the Ethiopian, Italian war. I was very disappointed, Perhaps my disappointment is related to my expectations for the film, and/or my orientation as a Westerner with a preference for linear, documented historical narratives.

The first 5-minutes of the film is images of drawings and paintings, with music overlaid. I can only presume these are Ethiopian drawings, and Ethiopian music, both of which "seem" to be depicting some kind of battle. The rest of the movie is a mixture of images of drawings, random images of scenery, random interviews with people who are not credited, and narrations that are not contextualized or sourced. The narratives often seem not to match the imagery. For example, narrative of a treaty that happened by a river, while the imagery is of cattle, and a many standing in front of a bunch of children. There is no attempt to connect the images to the narrative. The people interviewed, some sitting in chairs in offices, some standing in villages, could be anybody, from anywhere. We aren't told if they are history professors, former politicians, villagers who survived the war, or just hired actors. None of the historical narratives are sourced. None of the drawings are sourced--they could be from anywhere, from any time, about any battle--we just don't know from what is presented in this film. We don't know if any of the scenes are from Ethiopia, if they are old or new video, etc.

A previous reviewer talked about the film's "poetics." Perhaps if you want 90 minutes of free-form music, imagery and story, then this film might suit your needs. If you want a documentary you can trust to show students, or for a reliable "history" of the Adwa battle, I would look for alternatives to this film.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Historic POV in this film Milhouse Van Houten
DVD? za_kannushi
adwa aj-236
Discuss Adwa (1999) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page