The Conspirator (2011)



Critic Consensus: The Conspirator is well cast and tells a worthy story, but many viewers will lack the patience for Redford's deliberate, stagebound approach.

Movie Info

In the wake of Abraham Lincoln's assassination, seven men and one woman are arrested and charged with conspiring to kill the President, Vice President, and Secretary of State. The lone woman charged, Mary Surratt (Wright) owns a boarding house where John Wilkes Booth (Toby Kebbell) and others met and planned the simultaneous attacks. Against the ominous back-drop of post-Civil War Washington, newly-minted lawyer, Frederick Aiken (McAvoy), a 28-year-old Union war-hero, reluctantly agrees to … More

Rating: PG-13 (for some violent content)
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: James Solomon, James D. Solomon
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 16, 2011
Box Office: $11.5M
Roadside Attractions - Official Site


as Frederick Aiken

as Reverdy Johnson

as Anna Surratt

as Edwin Stanton

as Nicholas Baker

as Joseph Holt

as Mary Surratt

as Gen. David Hunter

as William Hamilton

as John Surratt

as John Wilkes Booth

as Louis Weichman

as John Lloyd
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Conspirator

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Critic Reviews for The Conspirator

All Critics (168) | Top Critics (45)

Robert Redford teams with The American Film Company for The Conspirator, a project better left to the History Channel than the big screen.

Full Review… | April 21, 2013
We Got This Covered

Wonderfully cast and carefully shot, there's barely a hint of a great filmmaker working with a fraction of his normal budget in this period piece...

Full Review… | January 12, 2013
Tribune News Service

If nothing else, this is certain to have a long life playing in middle school history classes for decades to come.

Full Review… | January 30, 2012

The Conspirator deserves a lot more praise than it got on initial release: yes it is slow in parts and even provocatively tentative, but it is intricately crafted, a wonderful example of precision and attention to detail.

Full Review… | January 2, 2012
What Culture

full review at Movies for the Masses

Full Review… | December 26, 2011
Movies for the Masses

While the film is pretty heavy-handed in framing the story in political terms, it is a compelling historical drama that will be news to many Americans.

Full Review… | November 29, 2011
Laramie Movie Scope

Audience Reviews for The Conspirator


review coming

Jens S.

Super Reviewer


The film portrays the aftermath of Lincolns murder; the trial of those who were caught in the act. However, the focus here is on the defense of Mary Surratt, the mother of one of the suspects who allegedly escapes the crime scene.successfully, The execution of the movie is quite conventional, but its roller-coaster story makes it watchable enough. Of course, it wont be all the same interesting for those of us who are well versed with history (or, for that matter, any subject as far as I'm concerned). The courtroom dramas are usually known for their fiery dialogues/sequences, but there's hardly any here. All these deficiencies, coupled with average performances, doesn't let the movie rise above mediocrity. All in all, its a passable fare. The conspiracy to kill the President followed by the conspiracy to send a seemingly innocent woman to gallows only goes on to prove how aptly the flick is titled. If only it were equally great in other departments too......... 4.5/10

familiar stranger

Super Reviewer

Robert Redford directs this film about the trial of Mary Surrat, one of the conspirators in the Lincoln assassination, and it's parallels to our own modern day government's suspension of habeas corpus at guantanamo bay. A young union war hero/attorney named Frederick Aiken (James McAvoy) is assigned to defend Surrat at her trial, even though it's against his will to do so. As the tribunal progresses however, Aiken is struck by the unconstitutional nature of her prosecution: from the military tribunal for a civilian case, to the lack of a burden of proof, the witness tampering and evidence-manipulating, Surrat's guilt is a foregone conclusion from the very start. Much of the blame for this could be aimed at Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton (Kevin Kline), who, in his fevered bereavement and loyalty to Lincoln and the Union, takes a hard stance at ensuring justice be meted out whatever the cost. Yes, as I said before, the film is meant to parallel our own time, as a national tragedy stirs the government to overreact and suspend our rights in the name of "protecting" us. While the film is adequately made, it lacks subtlety. Even if it's making valid points, the performances rarely rise above a basic cable melodrama.

Mr Awesome
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer

The Conspirator Quotes

– Submitted by Manas P (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Grieg E (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Anna B (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Anna B (3 years ago)

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