MOVIEmeter
Top 500
Down 40 this week

12 Years a Slave (2013)

8.2
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.2/10 from 303,548 users   Metascore: 97/100
Reviews: 614 user | 571 critic | 48 from Metacritic.com

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

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (based on "Twelve Years a Slave" by)
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $12.99 on Amazon Instant Video

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 34 titles
created 11 Mar 2013
 
a list of 39 titles
created 31 Mar 2013
 
a list of 65 titles
created 7 months ago
 
a list of 41 titles
created 1 month ago
 
a list of 39 titles
created 1 month ago
 

Related Items

Search for "12 Years a Slave" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: 12 Years a Slave (2013)

12 Years a Slave (2013) on IMDb 8.2/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of 12 Years a Slave.

User Polls

Top 250 #176 | Won 3 Oscars. Another 230 wins & 216 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Biography | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, from his rise to a wealthy stock-broker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption and the federal government.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

With the help of a German bounty hunter, a freed slave sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner.

Director: Quentin Tarantino
Stars: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

In 1985 Dallas, electrician and hustler Ron Woodroof works around the system to help AIDS patients get the medication they need after he is himself diagnosed with the disease.

Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Jared Leto
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

The story of King George VI of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, his impromptu ascension to the throne and the speech therapist who helped the unsure monarch become worthy of it.

Director: Tom Hooper
Stars: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter
Gravity (2013)
Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A medical engineer and an astronaut work together to survive after a catastrophe destroys their shuttle and leaves them adrift in orbit.

Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Stars: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Ed Harris
Argo (2012)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Acting under the cover of a Hollywood producer scouting a location for a science fiction film, a CIA agent launches a dangerous operation to rescue six Americans in Tehran during the U.S. hostage crisis in Iran in 1980.

Director: Ben Affleck
Stars: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A con man, Irving Rosenfeld, along with his seductive partner Sydney Prosser, is forced to work for a wild FBI agent, Richie DiMaso, who pushes them into a world of Jersey powerbrokers and mafia.

Director: David O. Russell
Stars: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper
Her (2013)
Drama | Romance | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with his newly purchased operating system that's designed to meet his every need.

Director: Spike Jonze
Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Scarlett Johansson
Biography | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years.

Director: Paul Greengrass
Stars: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman
Adventure | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

In Nazi-occupied France during World War II, a plan to assassinate Nazi leaders by a group of Jewish U.S. soldiers coincides with a theatre owner's vengeful plans for the same.

Directors: Quentin Tarantino, Eli Roth
Stars: Brad Pitt, Diane Kruger, Eli Roth
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

After a brilliant but asocial mathematician accepts secret work in cryptography, his life takes a turn for the nightmarish.

Director: Ron Howard
Stars: Russell Crowe, Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly
Gladiator (2000)
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

When a Roman general is betrayed and his family murdered by an emperor's corrupt son, he comes to Rome as a gladiator to seek revenge.

Director: Ridley Scott
Stars: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Uncle Abram
Dickie Gravois ...
Overseer
...
Judge Turner
...
Anna
...
...
...
...
Mr. Moon
...
...
...
...
Mister Mackey Jr. ...
Randall
...
Edit

Storyline

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

Taglines:

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:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

| |  »

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

8 November 2013 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Twelve Years a Slave  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

$56,667,870 (USA) (2 May 2014)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Chiwetel Ejiofor at first turned down Steve McQueen's offer to play the leading role of Solomon Northup, but then realized he had to get over his initial fear of taking on what McQueen thought would be role of the actor's lifetime. Ejiofor prepared for his role by immersing himself in the Louisiana plantation culture and learning how to use and play the violin. See more »

Goofs

After Platt is left hanging by his neck, barely standing on his toes, for about 5 minutes, for the rest of the movie he has no scarring on his neck. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Overseer: Alright now, y'all fresh niggers. Y'all gonna be in the cuttin' gang.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Brows Held High: Shame (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Run Nigger Run
Collected, Adapted and Arranged by John A. Lomax and Alan Lomax
Performed by Paul Dano (uncredited)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A direct telling of the horrors, but not quite the complexities, of a man kidnapped into slavery
2 March 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

12 Years a Slave (2013)

Who can possibly argue against the power of this kind of movie, and the injustice that it waves as a welcome reminder? Superbly directed and acted (especially leading man Chiwetel Ejofor playing Solomon Northup), and set with high levels of realism in pre-Civil War America, there is little to separate what the filmmakers intended and what they achieved. A work of excellence.

It is not, however, quite the masterpiece it might have been. I don't mean the story or the level of competence here at all. I mean the way the story is told, the choice to simply tell it like it was.

That means that the presentation is quite linear (excepting a few gratuitous flashbacks that seem like a last minute editing decision). And uncomplicated. This is the biggest surprise. I mean, the basics might seem enough—a free black man in Saratoga goes to Washington and is kidnapped and made a slave, and he remains a slave until his recovery 12 years later. But that is actually the entire movie.

Oh, I know, the details are missing in that sentence. But it is these details where the movie succeeds too well. We are shown the horrors of slavery and made to experience them. It isn't that this is ignoble or unimportant. On the contrary, this is an "important" film and should be seen. But in some weirdly surreal way, we already know everything that happens in these details.

Do we need to see a woman, naked and tied to a post, whipped and whipped and whipped, with screaming in our ears? Many will say yes. We need to feel that horror even a little bit (through a movie) to understand how utterly unbelievably horrible slavery was. I would just argue back that I don't really want to be tortured directly to confirm what I already fully agree with. It's just a choice you want to make as a moviegoer. It's similar to watching a kidnapping movie—do you want to experience the inner and outer torments of the kidnapped, or see some larger view of a kidnapping situation and the complexities of that kind of plot?

For me, then the movie was excellent at being literal, but that's not enough. For example, there is absolutely no hint at what the family did when Solomon didn't return home after his trip to Washington. Did they search? Worry? How? Who helped, who ignored them? Etc. That's just one of many complexities the movie avoids for the sake of a direct experience of the protagonist.

I hope that gives a sense of where this unpleasant, terrific movie leaves you, and whether to watch it.


17 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Good film, but the direction/editing kept it from being great for me Goosfrabah
so... basically the US were worse than the Third Reich? Uwinator
I dont know if they ever explain this uriel_zuno
No wonder Blacks hate Whites Tidlefriction
something that puzzled me.. cataclysm1071
Wasn't it obvious to them? Despenjaporcs
Discuss 12 Years a Slave (2013) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?