History231: Amistad Movie Review

Topics: Slavery, John Quincy Adams, Slavery in the United States Pages: 3 (1112 words) Published: November 12, 2013

“Amistad” is an action-filled, dramatic film that was written by David Franzoni, produced by Debbie Allen, Steven Spielberg and Colin Wilson and directed by Steven Spielberg. It was released on December 10, 1997. It was nominated for the academy award and the Golden Globes; however, “Amistad” did go on to win seven other major industry awards. The film is based on the true story of the mutiny aboard the slave cargo ship named La Amistad. The ship sailed from Cuba to America in 1839 from the West Coast of Africa with its cargo of illegal slaves and becomes a legendary court trial that ends in 1841. It has an all-star cast including Anthony Hopkins, Morgan Freeman, Matthew McConaughey and Djimon Hounsou. This film is rated “R” and runs approximately 155 minutes Amistad is an epic story that centers on a group of estranged, abducted Africans; the movie’s protagonist named Cinqué (played by Djimon Hounsou); the close relationship created with a freedman abolitionist, Theodore Joadson (Freeman); the trust that is formed by his lawyer Roger Baldwin (McConaughey); and the exciting landmark court trial in which the Africans are represented by the then retired President of the United States, John Quincy Adams (Hopkins). The journey that leads up to this trial the development of human interactions and relationships between the characters and all the obstacles these men all encounter and endure together, is what makes this movie so spectacular. This movie begins with this mutiny on July 1, 1839 (National Archives, 2013) being led by one of the captured slaves and Cinque breaks out of his chains in the hold of the Amistad, releases other African slaves and take over the ship. After taking over, they demand that the Spanish crew take them back to their home in Africa. However, since the slaves had no idea where they were, the Spanish crew fools them and the Amistad lands on the east coast American shore. Through a chain of events, Cinqué and the other slaves...

Bibliography: Amistad: DVD. Directed by Steven Spielberg. Los Angeles: Dreamworks Video. 1999
IMDB.“Amistad,”IMDb.com. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118607/plotsummary?ref_=tt_ql_6
(accessed October 26, 2013).
National Archives.” Teaching with Documents: The Amistad Case; Background, documents and notes, Archives.gov. http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/amistad/ (accessed October 31, 2013).
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