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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
3,744 ( 146)
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 9 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 Geno Silva ... Ruiz
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Storyline

Amistad is the name of a slave ship traveling 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, 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 makes an impassioned and eloquent plea for their release. Written by M Parkinson, Sarasota, FL, USA

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A true story. See more »

Genres:

Drama | History

Certificate:

16 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Mende | Spanish | Portuguese

Release Date:

5 March 1998 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

Amistad - Das Sklavenschiff See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$36,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,661,866, 14 December 1997, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$44,175,394, 5 April 1998

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$16,200,000, 15 March 1998
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Shot in a very economical thirty-one days. Matthew McConaughey worked twenty-eight of those days. See more »

Goofs

Actors are shown at the dinner table while wearing white gloves. Etiquette demands gloves be removed before eating or drinking. 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.
See more »

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 The Brothers (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Andantino From Quartet No. 3 In G Major
Written by Giovanni Battista Viotti
Performed by Quartetto Aira
Courtesy of Dynamic SRL.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The glossy horrors of Amistad
24 July 2018 | by excalibur107See all my reviews

Beautifully told, it also made me go back to History books to double check or to confirm. That's what good movies also do, they provoke you into wanting to know more. I loved Djimon Hounsou - a sensational film presence and his soulfulness permeates the whole journey. Anthony Hopkins is a remarkable John Quincy Adams. The great Steven Spielberg doesn't shy away from the horrors and some of it is truly harrowing but even then the preciousness of the image protects you from excesses. I don't know if that is a flaw or just a grand commercial concession. I couldn't help trying to imagine, this story even the same script in the hands of an Arthur Penn for instance. After all of that, let me say I enjoyed it, I was moved and I will see it again.


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