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12 Years a Slave (2013)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama, History  |  8 November 2013 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 373,242 users   Metascore: 97/100
Reviews: 646 user | 585 critic | 48 from

In the antebellum United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery.



(screenplay), (based on "Twelve Years a Slave" by)
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Top 250 Movies #179 | Won 3 Oscars. Another 264 wins & 254 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dickie Gravois ...
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Mr. Moon
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Based on an incredible true story of one man's fight for survival and freedom. In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. Facing cruelty (personified by a malevolent slave owner, portrayed by Michael Fassbender), as well as unexpected kindnesses, Solomon struggles not only to stay alive, but to retain his dignity. In the twelfth year of his unforgettable odyssey, Solomon's chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist (Brad Pitt) will forever alter his life. Written by Fox Searchlight

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The extraordinary true story of Solomon Northup

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence/cruelty, some nudity and brief sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

| |  »




Release Date:

8 November 2013 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Twelve Years a Slave  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$923,715 (USA) (18 October 2013)


$56,667,870 (USA) (2 May 2014)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Director Steve McQueen had been toying with the idea of writing a script about slavery featuring a black man who had been born free and was later forced into slavery but was struggling with the script when his wife found Solomon Northup's biography and gave it to him. Shocked that he had never heard of Northup before he decided to adapt the book instead. See more »


After Epps has been wallowing through the pig pen, in the next shot his clothes are clean with no evidence that he had fallen. See more »


[first lines]
Overseer: Alright now, y'all fresh niggers. Y'all gonna be in the cuttin' gang.
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Apache Blessing Song
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

And the Oscar goes to...
19 October 2013 | by (Los Angeles, CA) – See all my reviews

chitchens fan • 2 hours ago △ ▽

Well, to begin, I cannot remember the last time I could not get up at the end of a movie. I literally could not rise up from my seat. My body felt as though it were being weighed down by something considerably larger and heavier than myself... History had it's way with me( I am an African American woman). Thank you Mr. McQueen, Mr. Ejiofor, Ms. Nyong'o, Ms. Paulson and others, and yes, even Mr. Fassbender. I am not a film critic nor a movie hobbyist, although I try to stay current, but what I am is a human being trying to understand the various problems and issues within our country. This movie is a potent reminder of why we are where we are as a society today. How man can be so unflinchingly cruel to his fellow man, especially if he looks, speaks or behaves differently, I will never understand.

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Message Boards

Recent Posts
so... basically the US were worse than the Third Reich? Uwinator
I'm not White or American and this movie made me really ashamed bobloblah
Good film, but the direction/editing kept it from being great for me Goosfrabah
No wonder Blacks hate Whites Tidlefriction
Why didn't Solomon mail the letter himself next time he went into town? alanwald-1
Significance of the Flashback to Saratoga shop? danieljeffery26
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