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5.0 out of 5 stars The extraction of a lessor population
I have seen this before and it has taken ages to find it and man it should teach us how vicious and cruel, mankind can be.
Good example in modern day tragedies "The Nazi's". That story needs no explanation. The Romans, the Taliban and how they treated women.
Published 17 months ago by not happy jack

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Melodramatic courtroom drama disguised as slave history
This movie could be really good if it focused on the Middle Passage. The brief segement on the slave ship was by far the best sequence in the film. But the rest of the movie is dull, sappy, and overblown.
Also, its not very historically accurate. This is not a problem dramatically ("Nixon" for example:great drama, horrible history), but its a personal pet...
Published on Oct. 10 2003 by DReese


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Melodramatic courtroom drama disguised as slave history, Oct. 10 2003
By 
DReese (Virginia Beach, VA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Amistad (Widescreen) (DVD)
This movie could be really good if it focused on the Middle Passage. The brief segement on the slave ship was by far the best sequence in the film. But the rest of the movie is dull, sappy, and overblown.
Also, its not very historically accurate. This is not a problem dramatically ("Nixon" for example:great drama, horrible history), but its a personal pet peeve of mine. Also, as a history teacher, I find it disturbing that teachers were encouraged to use the film for educational purposes when it was released.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The extraction of a lessor population, Feb. 7 2013
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This review is from: Amistad (Widescreen) (DVD)
I have seen this before and it has taken ages to find it and man it should teach us how vicious and cruel, mankind can be.
Good example in modern day tragedies "The Nazi's". That story needs no explanation. The Romans, the Taliban and how they treated women.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must See, March 30 2007
By 
Steven R. McEvoy "MCWPP" (Canada) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Amistad (Widescreen) (DVD)
Amistad is a true story about an 1839 mutiny aboard a slave ship that is traveling towards North America. It is a story in the period when new slaves were illegal, but trading in slaves that were already slaves, was allowed. With a powerful all-star cast including Morgan Freeman, Anthony Hopkins and Matthew McConaughey, it is a story that will grip your heart and move your spirit. Much of the story takes place in a courtroom drama about the free-man who led the revolt, and deals with questions of freedom, humanity and dignity.

The movie, though slow moving, is intense, and the drama builds as many groups claim the slaves as their property. This story is truly gripping and a story of extreme importance in understanding our own history. This lesser-known Spielberg film is truly a must see.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars History Re-written, Aug. 10 2003
This review is from: Amistad (Widescreen) (DVD)
Great work by Hollywood, launched the career of Denzel, etc., etc., but DON'T TAKE THIS AS A HISTORY LESSON. The US Army outlawed the lash prior to the war. Spain banned slavery in 1650. The character played by Honsou did indeed return to Africa....where he himself became involved in the slave trade for profit & revenge! Go read "Prince Among Slaves" by Terry Alford for an accurate picture of slavery in that time and place.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars History comes alive in the hands of Steven Spielberg, June 26 2007
By 
Jenny J.J.I. "A New Yorker" (That Lives in Carolinas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Amistad (Widescreen) (DVD)
I'm a fan of the movies put out by Steven Spielberg. He has taken true historical events and turned them into such captivating 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!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars powerful, powerful film, Dec 31 2003
By 
Joe Sherry (Minnesota) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Amistad (Widescreen) (DVD)
A film by Steven Spielberg
"Amistad" is a fact based account of a 1839 revolt by African slaves on the slaveship La Amistad, and the legal trial in the United States over what exactly should be done with them after they were rescued (and imprisoned) on American soil. "Amistad" was Spielberg's first serious work since "Schindler's List" (not counting "Jurassic Park 2" which was also released in 1997), and it should be counting among the best movies of 1997. It is a powerful film.
The central story is that of the African slaves. The movies focuses on one particular slave, Cinque (Djimon Honsou), so that we have someone to be interested in, and so that the human story of their experiences can be told. They were able to overthrow the slavers while on the slave ship, but their captive was able to sail them to America rather than back to Africa. Upon arrival in America, the slaves are promptly captured by American soldiers and imprisoned until their status can be ascertained. As the lawyer for the Africans, Baldwin (Matthew McConaughey) says in the movie, "it is a matter of property." Who owns the slaves? The soldiers who captured the slaves claim ownership as salvage. The slavers claim ownership citing a legal purchase of the slaves in Cuba. The government of Spain claims ownership. The Africans say they are free men. Who owns the slaves? Are they legal property? This central question is what the movie revolves around and works towards answering. We learn the answer early in the movie, but the question is what can Baldwin prove before the courts, and will the courts listen to him?
Steven Spielberg did a good job in showing that this was not just a case of the white man jumping and rescuing the black man. That did exist here, but Spielberg showed just how central and important Cinque was, how his actions and his words were what helped the case for the Africans the most. All the while, Baldwin and Joadson (Morgan Freeman), a freed slave, are entreating former President John Quincy Adams (Anthony Hopkins) to become an advocate on behalf of the Africans.
As I mentioned earlier, this is a very powerful film. There is an extended sequence were Spielberg shows the experience of the slave ship and it is so horrible that I don't think I can put words to it. While "Amistad" may not rank quite as high as "Schindler's List" or "Saving Private Ryan" on the list of great movies, this is an excellent movie that deals with a subject usually ignored. This is a slower paced film, with more time spend talking and in the courtroom, but it is a very good one, too.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Typical Spielberg Excellence!, July 20 2003
This review is from: Amistad (Widescreen) (DVD)
I just recently got a chance to see this on TV, as I missed it back during it's release. As always Spielberg's methods draw you into the picture and capture you for the entire length of the movie. "Amistad" is a great historical Drama based on a true story about a ship load of African slaves that had mutineed against their spanish captors and landed on the shores of America, and the ensuing legal battle deciding thier fate (do they go back to the spainish government? the slave traders? or do they go free?).
With such an interesting tale to tell, and such excellent implimentation, it's hard not to like this movie. Spielberg had many obviously inspired moments in this film, showcasing the relationship of the slaves and their lawyer and the struggle to understand one another and flashbacks of the brutality the slaves had endured at the hands of their captors. The movie has many memorable moments that will stay with you and many parts that make interesting statements about human nature. One such interesting scene has the africans looking through a bible that was given to them, and they try to make sense of it, even though they know no english, by the pictures alone. One really gets the sense of what it must be like to be among and at the mercy of a strange and foreign culture.
A wonderful film.
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5.0 out of 5 stars La AMISTAD, the "Friend-Ship" saga; Give Us... Us Free!, July 20 2003
By 
Glenn Ralston (Bloomington, IN) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Amistad (Widescreen) (DVD)
Steven Spielberg and Debbie Allen's exercise of poetic license through this docudrama frames another awesome revelation of the historic, bitter Slavery roots of noble America, a nation of immigrants. It lends a new appreciation for the term "African American", just as elsewhere we have come to better understand "Native American". It is "a story about mankind... the very nature of man".
The epic human struggle combined with the historic realities of effects like Jefferson-Hennings descendants and an American President's recent symbolic pilgrimage to the "point of no return" on Coreo Island off the coast of West Africa are instructive of the noble spirits of American liberty springing in part from the tortured roots of Slavery, and provides this old white guy with a far better insight into the imperatives for an African American (Smithsonian) Museum.
Those great cultures forcibly contributed much of the basic values of our America; and these, our roots in splendid diversity, allow a far more robust and spiritual human ecology that we know as America, compared to the centuries of virulently tribal isolationism elsewhere now so obviously center stage in world affairs.
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5.0 out of 5 stars We Hold These Truths To Be Self Evident...., Nov. 4 2002
This review is from: Amistad (Widescreen) (DVD)
This review refers to the Dreamworks Doby Digital Edition.....
Based on actual events, Steven Spielberg and Debbie Allen collaberate to bring us one of the many heartwrenching stories of the plight of Africans,during the illegal slave trade of the 1800's.
A group of African people who were brutally draggged from their villages are being transported for slave trade. Only knowing that they are chained and mistreated one man,breaks loose and leads a rebillion against the ship's crew. In order to ensure their own freedom they must take the lives of their captors. They are discovered in American waters, and a trial ensues as to the question of murder.
It becomes an international case. Everybody from the queen of Spain to the owners of the ship "Amistad" are claiming ownership of these men and women. Being pre-civil war, the abolishionists are also making a case for their freedom.This is a case that could lead America one step closer to Civil War.
One property lawyer who has never worked on a case of this proportion, takes on the task of trying to prove that these are not plantation slaves,but citizens of Africa taken by force and did what they needed to do to be free, as any American would do the same. His task is a difficult one,but as the tragic story of these people unfolds he is able to put on his defense. They also get some help from the ex-president John Quincy Adams,whose eloquence puts the Declaration of Indepence to the test.
This is a magnificent piece of cinema in all respects. Spielberg brings to our attention yet another important piece of history that was cruel and inhuman,one of American history that we were hardly aware of.It is an epic film that will wash over you with several different emotions, and you will want to watch it again and again.
No big introduction needed for most of the cast who seemed perfectly fitted to their roles. Matthew McConaughey outstanding as the lawyer, Sir Anthony Hopkins is brilliant as Adams, Morgan Freeman and Stellan Skarsgard are totaly believable as the abolishionists,and Pete Postlethwaite perfect as the lawyer for the prosecution. Also in a sterling performance is Djimon Housnsou as Cinque, the spokesperson for the Africans. His portrayal of the enslaved man who only wants his freedom will captivate you.I must also make mention of Nigel Hawthorn and David Paymer for their wonderful performances.The cinematography is breathtaking. The music scored by John Williams and especially the African music will stay with you long after the movie. You will also be impressed with the costume designs. The film was nominated for four Academy awards,including one for Best Supporting for Hopkins.
The DVD is top quality.The Widescreen(Anamorphic) gives us an incredible view of everything going on in the courtroom scenes and on the ocean voyages. The picture does justice to the great cinematography. It is clear and crisp, colors are vibrant. Nighttime scenes are vivid as well. The 5.1 Dolby Dig surround fills the room. It can also be viewed in the 2.0 stereo. The special features,including a behind the scenes featurette are informative as well as entertaining. There is closed captions if needed.
You will not be dissapointed with either the film or the DVD transfer, it is one that will be a great addition to your collection. Watch it again and again.......Laurie
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5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Beutiful, historically accurate movie, Oct. 13 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Amistad (Widescreen) (DVD)
To those that say that this is historically inaccurate: watch the dvd extras. They did to the greatest ability make this movie accurate. And if you go to John Quincy Adam's house preserved today you will find some things like Cinque's chains and other things so he DID MEET HIM. So you historical "experts" are mistaken.
Anyway this movie is absolutely excellent. My second favorite movie to crouching tiger, hidden dragon. Speilberg did an excellent job and Anthony Hopkins was Steller as his role as john quincy adams. As I said, many of these negative reviews are mistaken and I disagree Wholeheartedly.
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Amistad (Widescreen)
Amistad (Widescreen) by Steven Spielberg (DVD - 2005)
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