12 Years a Slave - Movie Quotes - Rotten Tomatoes

12 Years a Slave Quotes

  • Bass: Laws change. Social systems crumble. Universal truths are constant. It is a fact - it is a plain fact that what is true and right is true and right for all. White and black alike.


  • Solomon Northup: I am Solomon Northup. I am a free man; a resident of Saratoga, New York. The residence also of my wife and children who are equally free. I have papers. You have no right whatsoever to detain me...


  • Tibeats: You will not live to see another day!


  • Solomon Northup: I will not fall into despair! I will keep myself hardy until freedom is opportune!


  • Solomon Northrup: I don't want to survive. I want to live.


  • Ford: What is the price for the ones Platt and Eliza?
    Freeman: A thousand for Platt; he is a nigger of talent. Seven hundred for Eliza. My fairest price.
    Ford: You will accept a note?
    Freeman: Always from you, Mr. Ford.


  • Ford: I believe Tibeats is skulkin' about the premises somewhere. He wants you dead, and he will attempt to have you so. It's no longer safe for you here. And I don't believe you will remain passive if Tibeats attacks. I have transferred my debt to Edwin Epps. He will take charge of you.
    Solomon Northrup: Master Ford, you must know; I am not a slave.
    Ford: I cannot hear that.
    Solomon Northrup: Before I came to you I was a free man.
    Ford: I am trying to save your life! And... I have a debt to be mindful of. That, now, is to Edwin Epps. He is a hard man. Prides himself on being a "nigger breaker." But truthfully I could find no others who would have you. You've made a reputation of yourself. Whatever your circumstances, you are an exceptional nigger, Platt. I fear no good will come of it.


  • Edwin Epps: A man is free to do as he pleases with his property.


  • Edwin Epps: And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
    Edwin Epps: And that servant which knew his lord's will and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.


  • Solomon Northrup: [Upon meeting his family again after 12 years] I apologize for my appearance. But I have had a difficult time these past several years.
    Solomon Northrup: I apologize for my appearance, but I have had a difficult time these past several years.


  • Bass: You're well traveled for a slave
    Bass: You're well traveled for a slave.


  • Freeman: My sympathies extend the length of a coin.


  • Solomon Northup: I survive. I will not fall into despair. I will offer up my talents to Master Ford. I will keep myself hardy till freedom is opportune.
    Eliza: So you settle into your role as Platt then?
    Solomon Northup: My back is thick with scars for protesting my freedom.


  • Clemens: Survival is not about certain death. It's about keeping your head down.
    Solomon Northrup: Days ago I was with my family, in my home. Now you're telling me all that's lost? Tell no one who I am, that's the way to survive? Well, I don't want to survive. I want to live.


  • Edwin Epps: You're not a free man, you're not more than a Georgia runaway.


  • Edwin Epps: Sin? There is no sin. Man does how he pleases with his property.


  • Solomon Northup: I don't want to survive. I want to live.


  • Solomon Northrup: I'm a free man!


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