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Lincoln (2012)

PG-13  |   |  Biography, Drama, History  |  16 November 2012 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 186,100 users   Metascore: 86/100
Reviews: 701 user | 530 critic | 44 from Metacritic.com

As the Civil War continues to rage, America's president struggles with continuing carnage on the battlefield as he fights with many inside his own cabinet on the decision to emancipate the slaves.



(screenplay), (book)
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Won 2 Oscars. Another 104 wins & 218 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:


In 1865, as the American Civil War winds inexorably toward conclusion, U.S. president Abraham Lincoln endeavors to achieve passage of the landmark constitutional amendment which will forever ban slavery from the United States. However, his task is a race against time, for peace may come at any time, and if it comes before the amendment is passed, the returning southern states will stop it before it can become law. Lincoln must, by almost any means possible, obtain enough votes from a recalcitrant Congress before peace arrives and it is too late. Yet the president is torn, as an early peace would save thousands of lives. As the nation confronts its conscience over the freedom of its entire population, Lincoln faces his own crisis of conscience -- end slavery or end the war. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for an intense scene of war violence, some images of carnage and brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

16 November 2012 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Office Seekers  »

Box Office


$65,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$944,308 (USA) (9 November 2012)


$182,204,440 (USA) (19 April 2013)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Once Daniel Day-Lewis decided on the voice that he would use to portray Lincoln, he sent an audiotape of it to Director Steven Spielberg in a box with a skull & crossbones on it so no one but he would hear it first. See more »


In many of the scenes set in the House of Representatives, the marble behind the Speaker bears the words "State of Virginia." All of the House scenes were filmed in the Old Chamber at the Virginia State Capitol, in Richmond, Va. See more »


Abraham Lincoln: Abolishing slavery by constitutional provisions settles the fate for all coming time. Not only of the millions now in bondage, but of unborn millions to come. Two votes stand in its way. These votes must be procured.
William Seward: We need two yeses. Three abstentions. Four yeses and one more abstention and the amendment will pass.
Abraham Lincoln: You've got a night and a day and a night; several perfectly good hours! Now get the hell out of here and get them!
James Ashley: Yes. But how?
Abraham Lincoln: Buzzard's guts, man! I am the President of the ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

No opening credits except for the main title. See more »


Referenced in Chelsea Lately: Episode #7.26 (2013) See more »


Overture to Egmont Op. 84
Written by Ludwig van Beethoven
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Sigh. Daniel does it again
29 December 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I'm prepared to admit at this point that Daniel Day Lewis has succeeded to the title of most brilliant actor of his generation--and I do not say that lightly. But when I consider what he has done here--imbued the most sacred president in our history with such aching, gorgeous, complex humanity--seemingly without conscious effort on his part--I say give it to him.

His Lincoln is at once ordinary and divine, passionate and all too earthy...and he inhabits the role so fully that not beyond the first minute do you think to yourself that you are watching an actor and not the man himself. I admit, at the first speech, I rather expected the voice to be deeper and more commanding, but that wore off instantly, and Spielberg to his credit gets every scene note-perfect. The scene where soldiers on the field were quoting back to him the Gettysburg Address was heartbreaking--The big guns, to be sure, but everyone in the theater stopped breathing. Spielberg has the mood and light fine-tuned to the point that when the characters are donning shawls against the cold--this in the white house--you shiver. I can'think of a single actor who was not up to snuff, but James Spader as a rascally vote procurer stands out. Sally Field as the troubled Mary Todd Lincoln is a sympathetic gem, and her portrayal should go a long way towards explaining and perhaps inviting history's revision of that unhappy woman. The film focuses most on the nuts and bolts of legislative and presidential processes, and while that may be boring for some,it has such a ring of authenticity and research that it had me scrambling for the history books to check on things I hadn't known. This is the most difficult of all subjects to film, a dense scholarly work translated to popular culture, but it succeeds on all counts. See it, make your children go with you. You won't regret it.

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