Amistad (1997)



Critic Consensus: Heartfelt without resorting to preachiness, Amistad tells an important story with engaging sensitivity and absorbing skill.

Movie Info

In the summer of 1839, on a stormy night off the coast of Cuba, 53 Africans held captive in the cramped cargo holds of the Spanish slave ship La Amistad break free of their shackles. Led by Cinque, they arm themselves, take control of the ship and reclaim their freedom. They have one goal: to return to Africa. Without the navigational skills to guide them home, the Africans are forced to rely on the two surviving members of the crew. But they are tricked. After two months on a ragged course up … More

Rating: R (Because of violence and nudity)
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: David H. Franzoni
In Theaters:
On DVD: Apr 19, 1999
Dreamworks Distribution LLC


as Theodore Joadson

as John Quincy Adams

as Roger S. Baldwin

as Martin Van Buren

as Secretary Forsyth

as Queen Isabella

as Calderon

as Professor Gibbs

as Montes

as Capt. Fitzgerald

as Judge Coglin

as John C. Calhoun

as Justice Joseph Story

as Lewis Tappan

as Lieutenant Gedney

as Judge Juttson

as Attorney

as Lieutenant Meade

as Kessebe

as Tsukama

as Warden Pendelton

as Mrs. Pendelton

as General Espatero

as Prison Guard

as Pickney

as Mr. Wright

as Captain Ferrar

as Cinque's In-Law

as Young Aide

as Magistrate

as Guardsman

as Courier

as Farmer

as Businessman

as British Officer

as Don Pablo

as Spanish Priest

as Tecora Captain

as Creole Cook

as Woman Overboard with...

as Followolo

as Kaleiwo

as Magistrate
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Amistad

All Critics (64) | Top Critics (13)

In short, a wordy courtroom drama which seldom progresses beyond ciphers, stereotypes and salutary slogans.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

In Amistad, an admirable but disappointing effort...[Speilberg] veers between stoic political correctness and mushy Hollywood platitudes.

Full Review… | June 18, 2002
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Spielberg seems to be dividing his filmmaking output into two distinct halves: in the summer months cranking out no-brainer dinosaur the winter season unveiling his serious artistic stuff to edify the adults and woo the Oscar crowd.

Full Review… | April 12, 2002
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Powerful story for mid-teens and up.

Full Review… | December 21, 2010
Common Sense Media

Amistad is worth seeing just for people to know about this important story, this moment in history. But from the world's most powerful, successful and famous director, we expect more.

Full Review… | May 26, 2006
Combustible Celluloid

Aiming to instruct and entertain, and often struggling to reconcile these goals, Amistad lacks the subtlety of tone and simplicity of form that made Schindler's List one of Spielberg's very best; here, however, every idea and image are too explicit.

Full Review… | February 13, 2006

Audience Reviews for Amistad

Although technically competent and with wonderful performances by Hopkins and Hounsou (who should have been nominated for an Oscar too), this is a bloated and misstructured film that has an alarming tendency to give in to melodrama and is not as strong as it could be.

Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


More of an interesting history lesson than a compelling film despite good performances.

jay nixon

Super Reviewer

This is, like a lot of Spielberg, pretty sentimental and schmaltzy, but it had some good intentions, even if the pretentions and pandering can't be totally covered up.

I mean, it is Spielberg, so there are great production values, and John Williams has a good score, but the acting and some of the casting just doesn't totally come together for me. I do think this is an alright movie though, even if the story does deserve a better telling.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Amistad Quotes

– Submitted by Jesse K (2 years ago)

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