Amistad (1997)

logoDirector: Steven Spielberg

Writer: David Franzoni (Screenplay)

Starring: Morgan Freeman, Nigel Hawthorne, Anthony Hopkins, Djimon Hounsou, Matthew McConaughey, David Paymer, Pete Postlethwaite, Stellan Skarsgard, Anna Paquin, Chiwetel Ejiofor


Plot: Amistad is the name of a clave ship travelling from Cuba to the USA, 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 USA, Cinque (Hounsou), who was a tribal leader in Africa, leads a mutiny and takes over the ship. They contunes to sail, hoping to find help when they land. Instead, 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 (Hopkins) makes an impassioned and eloquent plea for their release.


Verdict: Powerful Drama


Story: The story itself is incredible showing that fighting for freedom will be a fight worth fighting for even though it could be one of the hardest ones of all. We see how horrific the journey is, how they get treated and how a few people demand that they should be freed. We kind of know how this one is going to end because if they had lost it wouldn’t be a historical story. Much like other films with similar subject matter this was one of the few success stories in a world that treated people different just because of the colour of their skin. (10/10)


Actor Reviews


Morgan Freeman: Theodore a free black man who first takes interest in the case, even though the prisoners don’t understand how he is walking around free while they are prisoners. Good supporting performance from Freeman, who gives a few solid speeches to help other men help of the prisoners. (9/10)


Nigel Hawthorne: Martin Van Buren the President who gets caught in between what is right and what the Spanish queen wants. He is more worried about being re-elected than doing what is right for the men. Good performance showing that even though America was a free country not everyone has that right. (8/10)


Anthony Hopkins: John Quincy Adams living in the shadow of his father everyone in powere just sees him as an old man now, but he comes in to help free the prisoners when the case gets to the Supreme Court. Great performance from Hopkins, giving one of the best speeches in the history of film. (9/10)


Djimon Hounsou: Cinque the leader of the prisoners, who keeps a watchful eye on what is going on even though he doesn’t know the language. Cinque works with a translator to talk to his lawyers and tells his story. Great performance from Djimon who shows that he had the potential to be nominated for Oscars in the future. (9/10)


Matthew McConaughey: Roger Sherman Baldwin the young lawyer who takes the case to free the prisoners and after succeeding twice he only has to do it a third time, all along risking his profession for what is right. Good performance from McConaughey who showed he was a rising star with this performance.(9/10)


Director Review: Steven Spielberg – Brilliant from Spielberg but did you really expect anything less? (10/10)


Drama: Brilliant drama showing the struggles everyone went through to show what was right. (9/10)

History: Even though the truth was bought out, it was just one success story in a very dark time in human history. (10/10)

Settings: Authentic settings used throughout. (9/10)

Suggestion: I feel this is one that everyone should watch and learn how far we have come since the ways we treated people. (Watch)


Best Part: John Quincy Adams speech in the Supreme Court.

Believability: It really happened. (10/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: Nominated for 4 Oscars

Box Office: $44,229,441

Budget: $36 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 32 Minutes

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


Overall: Brilliant, Powerful Drama

Rating 92

Leave a Reply