61 user 91 critic

13th (2016)

2:15 | Trailer
An in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation's history of racial inequality.


Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 29 wins & 44 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Melina Abdullah ... Herself - Interviewee
... Herself - Interviewee
... Himself - Interviewee
Dolores Canales ... Herself - Interviewee
Gina Clayton ... Herself - Interviewee
Jelani Cobb ... Himself - Interviewee
Malkia Cyril ... Herself - Interviewee
... Herself - Interviewee
... Himself - Interviewee
David Dinkins ... Himself - Interviewee
Baz Dreisinger ... Herself - Interviewee
Kevin Gannon ... Himself - Interviewee
... Himself - Interviewee (as Henry Louis Gates Jr.)
Marie Gottschalk ... Herself - Interviewee
... Himself - Interviewee


The film begins with the idea that 25 percent of the people in the world who are incarcerated are incarcerated in the U.S. Although the U.S. has just 5% of the world's population. "13th" charts the explosive growth in America's prison population; in 1970, there were about 200,000 prisoners; today, the prison population is more than 2 million. The documentary touches on chattel slavery; D. W. Griffith's film "The Birth of a Nation"; Emmett Till; the civil rights movement; the Civil Rights Act of 1964; Richard M. Nixon; and Ronald Reagan's declaration of the war on drugs and much more. Written by Ulf Kjell Gür

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-MA | See all certifications »




Release Date:

7 October 2016 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The 13th  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


The filming locations and production design of the interviews, with brick walls and industrial equipment, represent labor that, according to DuVernay, "has been stolen from black people in this country for centuries." See more »


Bryan Stevenson: The Bureau of Justice reported that one in three young black males is expected to go to jail or prison during his lifetime, which is an unbelievably shocking statistic.
See more »


Features The Daily Show (1996) See more »


Written by Nas (as Nasir Jones), Issiah Avila, Bibi Bourelly (as Badilla Bourelly), Andre Bowman, Paul Epworth, Miguel Gandelman, Juan Najera, Usher Raymond, and Arthur Strong
Performed by Usher Raymond (as Usher) featuring Nas and Bibi Bourelly
Courtesy of RCA Records
By arrangement with Sony Music Entertainment
Bibi Bourelly appears courtesy of Def Jam Recordings under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

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User Reviews

I stand in amazement
11 October 2016 | by See all my reviews

The documentary is an excellent summary of American History. To a larger degree it is important to address some of the comments made. I find several people's comments such as, "don't do the crime, if you can't do the time" indicative of the very systemic racism that was the impetus for the need of such a piece. The comments are very telling and actually say more about the people writing them than do their intentions to demean the documentary by leaving negative reviews.

The fact that people can disregard this for the myriad of completely shallow reasons such as, "I stopped watching when I realized it was against Trump and for Hillary" is laughable. The reality is that you don't want to accept America's REAL history. The documentary was well over an hour and the section about the presidential race was a minute fraction of that.

Again, shallow reasons such as this speak volumes about the people leaving them. America's history is what it is. None of us are proud of these particular aspects or at least you shouldn't be but in an effort to get better we must first accept the truth. This is the truth. Acceptance is the first step towards getting better. It is so not about Trump or Hillary. I almost don't think you actually watched because no reasonably intelligent person would dismiss the piece as you guys did for the reasons you chose.

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