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12 Years a Slave (2013)

8.2
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 249,163 users   Metascore: 97/100
Reviews: 572 user | 552 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.

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(screenplay), (based on "Twelve Years a Slave" by)
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Top 250 #161 | Won 3 Oscars. Another 211 wins & 204 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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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:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

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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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First Best Picture Oscar winner with Arabic numerals in the title, rather than Roman numerals or a spelled-out number. See more »

Goofs

There are water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), an invasive aquatic plant native to South America, floating in the swamp. Water hyacinth were not introduced to North America until 1884, when they were exhibited (and subsequently released) during the World's Fair in New Orleans' Audubon Park. See more »

Quotes

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

Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Lena Dunham/The National (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Miller's Reel
Arranged by Nicholas Britell and Tim Fain
Performed by Tim Fain
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Astonishing and heartbreaking
18 October 2013 | by (London, United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I just saw this at LFF. It is a brilliant piece of cinema. Clearly it's central theme is slavery, and the depravity human nature can so easily reach; but it has many other small moments that trigger thoughts about wider issues - the role of religion being one for example. It is violent, and in some respects awful to watch, but this is the story of Solomon Northup told truthfully. There is nothing saccharine about the way Steve McQueen presents this and that is what makes it so astonishing. You cry because what you witness is truly terrible, not because the violins are out and the director's tugging on your heart strings. All the acting is first rate, as is the score by Hans Zimmer. This really should be essential viewing for everyone old enough to understand it.


102 of 168 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Recent Posts
Sean Hannity of Fox News Attacks '12 Years a Slave' Jason-Y
Do you agree with this movie review? Jason-Y
It would be scary to own slaves Jason-Y
so... basically the US were worse than the Third Reich? Uwinator
Was Mistress Shaw actually the Plantation owner's wife? rrusa
No wonder Blacks hate Whites Tidlefriction
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