AmistadDirector: Steven Spielberg
This Steven Spielberg-directed exploration into a long-ago episode in African-American history recounts the trial that followed the 1839 rebellion aboard the Spanish slave ship Amistad and captures the complex political maneuverings set in motion by the event. Filmed in New England and Puerto Rico, the 152-minute drama opens with a pre-credit sequence showing Cinque (Djimon Hounsou) and the other Africans in a violent takeover of the Amistad. Captured, they are imprisoned in New England where former slave Theodore Joadson (Morgan Freeman), viewing the rebels as "freedom fighters," approaches property lawyer Baldwin (Matthew McConaughey), who attempts to prove the Africans were "stolen goods" because they were kidnapped. Running for re-election, President Martin Van Buren (Nigel Hawthorne) overturns the lower court's decision in favor of the Africans. Former President John Quincy Adams (Anthony Hopkins) is reluctant to become involved, but when the case moves on to the Supreme Court, Adams stirs emotions with a powerful defense. The storyline occasionally cuts away to Spain where the young Queen Isabella (Anna Paquin) plays with dolls; she later debated the Amistad case with seven U.S. presidents. The character portrayed by Morgan Freeman is a fictional composite of several historical figures. For authentic speech, the Africans speak the Mende language, subtitled during some scenes but not others.
- Release Date:
- Original Release:
- Dreamworks Video
- [Wide Screen]
- Sales rank:
Cast & Crew
|Morgan Freeman||Theodore Joadson|
|Anthony Hopkins||John Quincy Adams|
|Nigel Hawthorne||Martin Van Buren|
|David Paymer||Secretary Forsyth|
|Anna Paquin||Queen Isabella|
|Austin Pendleton||Professor Gibbs|
|Jeremy Northam||Judge Coglin|
|Arliss Howard||John C. Calhoun|
|Luis Rosario Albert||Asst. Director|
|Rosemary Brandenberg||Set Decoration/Design|
|Christopher Burian-Mohr||Art Director|
|Randy Cabral||Special Effects|
|Ruth E. Carter||Costumes/Costume Designer|
|Rick Carter||Production Designer|
|Robert Cooper||Executive Producer|
|Bonnie Curtis||Associate Producer|
|Paul Deason||Associate Producer|
|Nancy Deren||Set Decoration/Design|
|Mitchell Dubin||Camera Operator|
|Tony Fanning||Art Director|
|Scott Farrar||Special Effects Supervisor|
|David H. Franzoni||Screenwriter|
|Jeff Frink||Special Effects|
|Sean Hobin||Asst. Director|
|Industrial Light & Magic||Special Effects|
|Robert C. Jackson||Sound/Sound Designer|
|José Alfredo Jiménez||Casting|
|Eric Jones||Asst. Director|
|Vicente Juarbe||Asst. Director|
|Ronald Judkins||Sound/Sound Designer|
|Pamela Klamer||Set Decoration/Design|
|Patricia Klawonn||Set Decoration/Design|
|George R. Lee||Set Decoration/Design|
|Laurie MacDonald||Executive Producer|
|Sergio Mimica-Gezzan||Asst. Director|
|Tito Otero||Asst. Director|
|Walter Parkes||Executive Producer|
|Puerto Rico||Production Manager|
|Ed Ricci||Special Effects|
|Pete Romano||Camera Operator|
|Nannette Rosa-Collazo||Production Manager|
|Tom Ryba||Special Effects|
|Easton M. Smith||Set Decoration/Design|
|Carl Sprague||Set Decoration/Design|
|Denis L. Stewart||Asst. Director|
|Jim Teegarden||Art Director|
|Suzan Wexler||Set Decoration/Design|
|John Williams [composer]||Score Composer|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Even though I had to watch this movie for a history assignment, i got a lot more out of it. The hardship and obsticles that the Africans endured on the ship was more than i could ever stand. It is unbelievable tha our free country could ever be so scandeless.
We watched this movie in World History this week...I think it was the first time in my life that I was ever seriously disturbed. I mean, The Ring scared me, but Amistad made me sick. I walked to my next class in terror, clinging to my best friend's backpack. It was an interesting story, though, because of an act of memory lapse, I missed the first 45 minutes of it, and I had to read what happened online. Matthew does an awesome job in his role. I don't think I'll ever see things the same again. I had a book "The Captive", and I haven't read it yet, in the 5 years its been in my 'To Read' list. I think its about time I actually read it...
i had to watch this movie for school. we were studying slavery in the united states and our teacher brought it in for us to watch. by the end of the movie 90% of the class had tears in their eyes, not only because of the graphic images of the people on the ship, but also because of the determination of the people in the movie. i think that every child in america should have to watch this movie in school because it teaches them not to discriminate against other people simply because of the color of their skin, and it also shows you very well, just how difficult life was for Africans that came to live in the united states.
i do not know why so many people felt dissapointed by it this movie was sooo moving if you are looking for another schindler's list then this is one. it was not even nominated for the best picture by the oscars it was nominated for best supporting actor anthony hopkins best cinematography best costume design and best original dramatic score by john williams and it was nominated for the golden globe awards for best picture drama best actor drama djimon hounsou best supporting actor and director. this film deserves much more and it deserves a bigger spot in hollywood history.
I’m a fan of the movies put out by Steven Spielberg. He has taken true historical events and turned them into such captivatingly beautiful movies that none can compare. What Spielberg did for the Holocaust in “Schindler's List,” and WWII in “Saving Private Ryan,” he did with our terrible past of slavery in “Amistad.” This film’s strength is in its portrayal of the horrible treatment of the Sierra Leone Africans who are illegally captured for slaves in the 19th century. This movie, and the event itself, was not about freedom of slaves in America over an American issue, but instead about whether slaves on a Spanish vessel were illegally captured or if they were what lawyers in the film called "livestock" in the Spanish Empire when they killed all but a few of the boat-masters. The film portrays this and then the morality of slavery in an unobtrusive way, and that’s what makes this movie great along with the score, which I believe should have gotten at least a nomination. The film is gilded by beautiful sets and costumes where even "Doctor Zhivago" pales in comparison. The photography was more than stunning. However, the film is slightly marred by the somewhat empty performances by some of Americans in the film who lack emotion and engaging dialogue, and the film doesn't unfold as smoothly as one would expect from a Spielberg creation. There are other things that are underrated, such as Djimound Honsu's unforgettable performance as the leader of the slaves as well as the drama and ghastliness of the shipboard treatment of the slaves. The person that slightly disappointment in here is Matthew McConaheys. While not bad but not as good as it could have been. Morgan Freeman played is role well here but not his best because at times he would look slightly wooden. Anthony Hopkins in the other hand is amazing. His speech at the end will send shivers down your spine. There is also a beautiful scene of Hounsou and McConaughey character's communicating perfectly in languages the other doesn't know. “Amistad” does give you emotional punch through a mild action sequence. It is purely drama, and the story's power lies in the words, expressions, and actions of the actors who make up for it. It’s truly one of the better films out there, and once again, Spielberg has proven himself to be the master of putting the human spirit on the silver screen. Even though critics place it to be a ‘good’ film I find it to be a great!
My professor showed it to the class but we were unable to see the whole thing. From what I saw, my eyes were glued to the screen the whole time and I had to remember that I wasn't at home or in the movie theater due to some of the scenes in the movie. This is a powerful movie to see. I would recommend this to anyone who would like to see what slavery looked like in those days.
Amistad is one of the greatest movies ever made. Its deep and reaches into parts of our souls we never knew existed. Its so real and captivating, its like you are experiencing it yourself.