Down 54 this week

12 Years a Slave (2013)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama, History  |  8 November 2013 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.1/10 from 385,942 users   Metascore: 97/100
Reviews: 651 user | 587 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.



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

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

Top Rated Movies #181 | Won 3 Oscars. Another 223 wins & 295 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Biography | Drama
    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
Biography | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 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
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A Mumbai teen, who grew up in the slums, becomes a contestant on the Indian version of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" He is arrested under suspicion of cheating, and while being interrogated, events from his life history are shown which explain why he knows the answers.

Directors: Danny Boyle, Loveleen Tandan
Stars: Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Saurabh Shukla
    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 8.2/10 X  

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

Director: Ron Howard
Stars: Russell Crowe, Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly
Adventure | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

The adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous hotel from the fictional Republic of Zubrowka between the first and second World Wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend.

Director: Wes Anderson
Stars: Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric
Gone Girl (2014)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

With his wife's disappearance having become the focus of an intense media circus, a man sees the spotlight turned on him when it's suspected that he may not be innocent.

Director: David Fincher
Stars: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Illustrated upon the progress of his latest Broadway play, a former popular actor's struggle to cope with his current life as a wasted actor is shown.

Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Stars: Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton
Biography | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

During World War II, mathematician Alan Turing tries to crack the enigma code with help from fellow mathematicians.

Director: Morten Tyldum
Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode
Argo (2012)
Drama | History | 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
Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A determined woman works with a hardened boxing trainer to become a professional.

Director: Clint Eastwood
Stars: Hilary Swank, Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman
Forrest Gump (1994)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  

Forrest Gump, while not intelligent, has accidentally been present at many historic moments, but his true love, Jenny Curran, eludes him.

Director: Robert Zemeckis
Stars: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise


Cast overview, first billed only:
Dickie Gravois ...
Judge Turner
Mr. Moon
Mister Mackey Jr. ...


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?


One of the first versions of the screenplay was written by both Steve McQueen and John Ridley. See more »


Several times during the movie horses are seen wearing bridles with a 'flash' attachment on the nose-band. This type of attachment wasn't invented until the 1960s. See more »


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


Referenced in The Oscars (2015) See more »


My Lord, Sunshine
Written by Nicholas Britell
Performed by Roosevelt Credit and David Hughey
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Masterpiece.... o_o;;
19 October 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

so incredible.... the trailers don't do any justice to the film. it's so powerful lingering unconventional it presents so many variables to that system one might not consider. the situations they show linger and you get the full effect of them too. you really get the sense that it is based on an account. characters will appear and vanish. they will not have little arcs and get give the audience satisfaction. it just is what it is. nothing is edited to bits either. this film is the work of a genius!

and about the musical selection, good lord. there are long bouts of silence and parts where it just freaks you out. it was really effective and hypnotizing. I was surprised to see Hans Zimmerman did the music. this is far beyond anything I've heard from him. Not the usual inception foghorns or military hum drum. also a great deal of real folksongs incorporated into it. I love when films incorporate the actually used folksongs. period pieces should be filled with music. when there were no modern devices people would sing!

people can't say that this is unrealistic either as it's an actual account. glad McQueen brought it to the public eye and in such an untethered fashion. I'll probably watch this on repeat when it comes out. I'll have to check out McQueen's other films. haven't seen them yet for some reason

79 of 151 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
so... basically the US were worse than the Third Reich? Uwinator
No wonder Blacks hate Whites Tidlefriction
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
Why didn't Solomon mail the letter himself next time he went into town? alanwald-1
Mistress Shaw img54-1
Discuss 12 Years a Slave (2013) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: