American Playhouse (1981– )
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Solomon Northup's Odyssey 

This is based on a true story. Solomon Northrop is a black man in the mid 19th century before slavery was abolished. He's a born freeman who works as a carpenter and is also a part time ... See full summary »



(book), (teleplay) | 1 more credit »
1 win. See more awards »




Episode credited cast:
... Solomon Northup
Rhetta Greene ... Jenny
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
... Ford
Ken Broadhurst ... Bass
... Mrs. Epps
Tony Dreyspool ... Senator Soule
Anthony Edenfield ... Ned
Harry George ... Sherriff
Ann Pearl Gray ... Kelsey
Janet League ... Eliza
Charles McGhee ... Luke
Jay McMillan ... Harry
... Anne Northup
... Tibeats


This is based on a true story. Solomon Northrop is a black man in the mid 19th century before slavery was abolished. He's a born freeman who works as a carpenter and is also a part time musician. One day he is approached by some men who want him to play for them. However, that is not their intention; they have kidnapped him and sold him into slavery. Now he has to endure the hardships that he has been spared because of his status as a freeman. And his family who don't know what happened to him is searching for him but where do they go? And Solomon also wishes to let them know where he is so that they could get him but unfortunately no one believes his story or is willing to help him. Written by <>

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Not Rated




Release Date:

10 December 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Half-Slave, Half-Free  »

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Version of 12 Years a Slave (2013) See more »


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User Reviews

terribly terribly sad
26 August 2006 | by See all my reviews

I don't care what other commentators have said about Avery's acting. I thought he was excellent in the role. I live in the South now and everywhere there are historical signs of the evil of slavery (including "white only" signs engraved in stone frontispiece on older buildings). However, I've seen more obvious signs of racism in the Northern AND western states. For example, there are black people working for my company here in Columbus, but when I lived and worked in the San Francisco Bay area and later in Delaware... I never worked with any black people except a couple who were actually Africans working on visas. You see, the South has matured beyond their slavery roots... but the North and West states never have had to 'prove' their acceptance of black people as equals, unlike the South.

What drew me to this movie was the book written by Solomon Northrup in the 1850s... "My Twelve Years as a Slave". He was an articulate writer who described in great detail his experiences as a slave in the South. It was horrifying to read, but Mr. Northrup was eventually freed and reunited with his family in New York, fading to obscurity once more as he lived the remainder of his life surrounded by his loved ones and working as a carpenter. The real horror is not that 150 years ago a man was held as a slave for 12 years, but that TODAY in 2006 there is still ACTIVE SLAVERY going on all over the world INCLUDING the US of A. Several years ago I met a senior aide to the The Office to Ambassador John Miller who leads the State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (G/TIP). During a two-hour flight she told me one horrifying story after another about the ongoing worldwide slave trade. You'll have to search on the State Department title in this missive to find out more.

The world is a truly evil place. Each of must do what is necessary to combat evil everywhere we find it. Solomon Northrup's story is truly sad, but he was eventually freed and lived out his life FREE. There are young women and girls who never get that chance but who die in captivity after being treated worse than one would treat a farm animal destined for the butcher.

If you watch this movie and all you feel is 'entertained' by it, I pity you.

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