Amistad [DVD] [1997]

  • SKU: 3611443
  • Release Date: 05/04/1999
  • Rating: R
As would be expected from Dreamworks, the DVD for Amistad is a quality production. The image, framed at 1.85:1, is anamorphic, but it does seem to be rather soft throughout the film. While not thoroughly distracting, it could use a little more detail and sharpness. For the most part though, with numerous scenes played in dark situations, the image holds up very well. The soundtrack, in Dolby Digital 5.1 (there is also a separate DTS disc), is strong, with a fair amount of surround material giving it some heightened atmosphere. Though not listed on the box, the disc also offers a slightly less powerful surround track. Unfortunately, fans of the film don't get a special edition for this disc. The main extra is a 26-minute "making of" documentary that, while not exactly long, is superior to the fluff pieces found on far too many discs. It contains significant interviews and behind-the-scenes shots that help explain why the film was made and how important it was to the participants. In addition, there are the standard features such as some production notes (though for the most part they are covered in the documentary), biographies and filmographies of the main cast and crew, and the theatrical trailer.

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    Ratings & Reviews

    Overall Customer Rating:
    100% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (5 out of 5)

    Special Features

    • Production notes
    • Cast and filmmakers' bios
    • Theatrical trailer
    • Behind-the-scenes featurette


    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, Rovi

    Cast & Crew

    • Morgan Freeman
      Morgan Freeman - Theodore Joadson
    • Anthony Hopkins
      Anthony Hopkins - John Quincy Adams
    • Matthew McConaughey
      Matthew McConaughey - Baldwin
    • Nigel Hawthorne
      Nigel Hawthorne - Martin Van Buren
    • Djimon Hounsou
      Djimon Hounsou - Cinque

    Customer rating

    would recommend to a friend
    • Rating: 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.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      Underrated Spielberg

      • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
      • My Best Buy® Elite MemberElite Member

      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

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      Great picture quality

      • My Best Buy® Elite Plus MemberElite Plus Member

      This is one of the best Blu-rays I have seen. The picture and audio quality is really great.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

      nice flick

      • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
      • My Best Buy® MemberMember

      this was an oldie but goodie dvd flick to watch again

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

      Great movie

      • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
      • My Best Buy® MemberMember

      Classic movie with Classic actors n a great story line

      I would recommend this to a friend

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