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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.

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Won 2 Oscars. Another 105 wins & 221 nominations. See more awards »

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Storyline

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 »

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Release Date:

16 November 2012 (USA)  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$65,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

$182,204,440 (USA) (19 April 2013)
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2.35 : 1
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Trivia

Toward the end of the film, Thaddeus Stevens and his black housekeeper Lydia Hamilton Smith are portrayed as romantic partners. Although there is no officially documented evidence in real life that the two had anything more than an employer/employee relationship, the two were the object of much speculation and rumor during and after their many decades of cohabitation. Some unusual aspects of their living arrangements that contributed to the contemporary rumor that they were romantically involved included the facts that she moved from separate servants' quarters behind the house into Stevens's main house; she frequently served as the hostess for events held at his house; and several of his family members referred to her in terms usually reserved for spouses in their correspondence. Stevens and Smith were also depicted as lovers in the 1915 silent film The Birth of a Nation (1915), although contrary to this film's reasons for inclusion of a romantic relationship between them, that movie's director, D.W. Griffith, used their relationship as racist propaganda and as supposed "proof" of the North's degeneracy. See more »

Goofs

Preston Blair takes Tad Lincoln by both hands. In shots from one angle, Blair's hands under Tad's. In shots from another angle, Tad's hands are under Blair's. See more »

Quotes

Thaddeus Stevens: The greatest measure of the Nineteenth Century. Passed by corruption, aided and abetted by the purest man in America.
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in The Oscars (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Battle Cry of Freedom
Music by George Frederick Root
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User Reviews

 
Moving and important...with a mind-blowing performance by Day-Lewis
3 January 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Lincoln (2012)

A highly polished, restrained, important movie.

That doesn't make this an exciting movie. The acting is terrific, and filming excellent (including a color saturation pulled back to give it an old look without seeming affected). It is clearly expert in the way we expect from Steven Spielberg above perhaps anyone, at least in the mainstream conventional sense.

But there are two things that make this movie a must see. One is the content. It's about one of the two or three most important things ever to happen in this country--the fight to end slavery during the Civil War. This is such powerful stuff it will make you weep. (If it doesn't, you'll have to ask why.) It's laid out as clearly and emphatically as possible while still keeping accurate.

The second thing is simply the overwhelming performance by Daniel Day-Lewis. It is so good you forget it's a performance (unlike, for example, his intensity in "There Will Be Blood" which stood out as a work of acting above the movie). Here he is so woven into the fabric of things he is indistinguishable from the historic truth, somehow. It's really the magic of the transparency of movie-making of this kind. Amazing performance.

It seems sacrilege to say this but the movie isn't perfect. Because of its material--getting the anti-slavery amendment through Congress--it involves a lot of talk, and a lot of people that you have to keep track of. I think Spielberg did this as good as it could be done, so no criticism there, but it does mean a lack of physical and even emotional drama through much of the film. I don't mean it's dull, just that it's conversational. I also found shreds of Spielberg's Frank Capra quality of making the movies--and his subjects--a little simplified. He ties up loose ends. He makes it all a fine package, very fine. Maybe too fine for what I would call high art. At times.

I think we'll have an easier time judging it in six months, or six years. Also the subject matter makes it almost unassailable, since clearly most of us are all for the passing of any anti-slavery legislation.

See this for all the reasons you have heard. Don't miss it. Maybe down a coffee before you go, but see it no matter what. As I say, it's important. It reminds you of greatness, and that's not something to miss.

UPDATE over one year later: I see that I accepted a lot of decisions by the writer and director as their prerogative, like focussing on one issue and narrowing to a short period of time. I had no bones with the scope of the movie. But in retrospect I see how the limitations of time and scope and background also create a sense of mis-information. That is, if you want a bigger picture of Lincoln, this movie is not quite right. Its aggrandizement is also not unavoidable, like the somewhat insipid (and yet moving) recital of the Gettysburg Address at the beginning by soldiers. Overall, though, I stick to my main thought--see it, and soak up what you can, without expecting perfection. Yes, see it for what it is, nothing less.


47 of 73 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Dull, dull, dull, dull, dull craig-717
Hilarious liberal reaction to this film kingbingo
Why did it have to be so long? elixpoe
This movie should have been titled 'The Thirteenth Amendment.' timmarkell
I thought he hunted vampires? dirkhoekstra
Here's what I don't get objviewer
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