7.3/10
71,736
245 user 90 critic

Amistad (1997)

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2:32 | Trailer
In 1839, the revolt of Mende captives aboard a Spanish owned ship causes a major controversy in the United States when the ship is captured off the coast of Long Island. The courts must decide whether the Mende are slaves or legally free.

Director:

Steven Spielberg

Writer:

David Franzoni
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Popularity
2,231 ( 1,065)
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 11 wins & 39 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Morgan Freeman ... Theodore Joadson
Nigel Hawthorne ... Martin Van Buren
Anthony Hopkins ... John Quincy Adams
Djimon Hounsou ... Cinque
Matthew McConaughey ... Roger Sherman Baldwin
David Paymer ... Secretary John Forsyth
Pete Postlethwaite ... Holabird
Stellan Skarsgård ... Tappan
Razaaq Adoti ... Yamba
Abu Bakaar Fofanah Abu Bakaar Fofanah ... Fala
Anna Paquin ... Queen Isabella
Tomas Milian ... Calderon
Chiwetel Ejiofor ... Ensign Covey
Derrick N. Ashong Derrick N. Ashong ... Buakei
Geno Silva ... Ruiz
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Storyline

Amistad is the name of a slave ship travelling from Cuba to the U.S. in 1839. It is carrying a cargo of Africans who have been sold into slavery in Cuba, taken on board, and chained in the cargo hold of the ship. As the ship is crossing from Cuba to the U.S., Cinque (Djimon Hounsou), who was a tribal leader in Africa, leads a mutiny and takes over the ship. They continue to sail, hoping to find their way back to Africa. Instead, they are misdirected and when they reach the United States, they are imprisoned as runaway slaves. They don't speak a word of English, and it seems like they are doomed to die for killing their captors when an abolitionist lawyer decides to take their case, arguing that they were free citizens of another country and not slaves at all. The case finally gets to the Supreme Court, where John Quincy Adams (Sir Anthony Hopkins) makes an impassioned and eloquent plea for their release. Written by M Parkinson, Sarasota, FL, USA

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Freedom is not given. It is our right at birth. But there are some moments when it must be taken. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some scenes of strong brutal violence and some related nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The re-production of the schooner Amistad was built at the Mystic Seaport Museum, and some of this movie was shot at the same location, specifically the scene where the interpreter is found by the defense lawyer. See more »

Goofs

In the Supreme Court scene, only one of the busts of the ex-presidents can be seen on the left of the courtroom when John Quincy Adams (Anthony Hopkins) begins his speech. By the end of the scene the other three have suddenly appeared. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Ruiz: [to Pedro Montes] That one wants us to sail them back. That one thinks he can sail all the way back without us.
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Crazy Credits

The events depicted did not historically occur at Fort El Morro See more »

Alternate Versions

The board of film censors of Jamaica have excised the opening scenes, depicting a violent slave uprising on a ship, from all copies of the film released in Jamaican theatres. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Bullied (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Hail To The Chief
(1810)
Traditional
Music by James Sanderson
Lyrics by Albert Gamse
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User Reviews

 
Another fantastic film from Spielberg.
3 July 2000 | by CharltonBoySee all my reviews

Amistad is one of them films that when the credits roll you just sit there and think what a wonderfull film that was ,what a well directed and well acted movie i have just seen. The acting is some of the best i have ever seen. the performances from Mathew McConaughue,Pete Postlethwaite and Morgan Freeman are Brilliant but check out the acting from Anthony Hopkins and Djimon Hounson,they are superb. The story is gripping and moving at the same time. The scenes on the Amistad ship are quite distressing and really show you how repulsive the slave trade was but this just adds to the realism and wonder of this fantastic film. A masterpeice. 9 out of 10.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Mende | Spanish | Portuguese

Release Date:

25 December 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Amistad See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$36,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,573,523, 14 December 1997

Gross USA:

$44,229,441

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$44,229,441
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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