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.~Bhob Stewart
When you think of the Spielberg filmography, this movie often is forgotten. It should not be. This is an amazing movie with a solid cast and compelling story. A must watch!!
I would recommend this to a friend
Rated 5 out of 5 stars
One of my favorites
What a great film!
I first saw this movie when I was in high school. I was very moved by it. Nothing has changed as I recently showed it to my wife, and was again silenced by it's powerful message. It deserves a place next to films like Glory and Braveheart, movies that inspire and at the same time sober you by demonstrating perseverance in the face of abject cruelty and evil.
This movie is fascinating- both on the grand epic scale and in small details that I have come to appreciate about Spielberg movies. The music and cinematography will likely bring you to tears, but they are tears that remind us of what our spirits are really meant to feel- compassion, brotherly love and indignation against cruelty.
I hope that you enjoy this movie as much as I did.