Amistad - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Amistad Reviews

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Super Reviewer
July 7, 2014
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.
Super Reviewer
½ August 30, 2007
More of an interesting history lesson than a compelling film despite good performances.
Super Reviewer
July 27, 2011
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.
Super Reviewer
September 26, 2012
Steven Spielberg crafts a good historical drama. However it's not without its flaws. The problem with Amistad is that it takes a terrific aspect of history, and over bloats it into a romanticized version of the facts. The film is good, but could have been much better. The elements of the film at times just don't work, and Spielberg, who usually makes great films, makes the film's subject matter almost silly at times instead of compelling. I liked the film, but I liked the film, but I felt that since this is a historical film, the usual Spielberg flair could have been slightly toned down. The best aspect of this film is the performance delivered by Anthony Hopkins as President John Quincy Adams. His performance makes this film worth seeing. The film does have that going for it, and it is entertaining, but I felt it fell short of its potential, especially with its subject matter, which is history. Steven Spielberg direction is good, but at times unfocused and the flaws I pointed out earlier in this review become apparent to the viewer. My biggest problem with this film is that it is a historical film mixed with a feel good flavor, thus the film falls short of what it could be. I expected so much more with this film, but in the end, it touches the tip of the iceberg of this real historical account, and becomes more of a court room drama, which many viewers will probably find not that great. I liked the film, but the film's potential is wasted and in turn Amistad is simply a good little film without being anything great or excellent.
Super Reviewer
October 5, 2011
A good handful of poignant scenes and numerous others in-between centered around logistics -- just how does a western lawyer in the 1840s connect with African clients who's language he doesn't understand? I wish that Spielberg had followed the advice that John Quincy Adams gives in the movie and showed us more about Cinque's story before he was kidnapped.
Super Reviewer
August 7, 2011
Slaves rebel aboard the ship taking them to market, setting off Speilberg's telling of the true story that eventually inveighed an ex-President of the United States in the trial for the lives of the slaves. All get through this relatively unscathed, though there doesn't seem to be much effort in any of it. It's easily Hopkins' picture as the curious, way-past-his-prime Adams mainly because nobody else has really anything to do. Still maybe a decent effort.
Super Reviewer
½ May 6, 2007
Captivating drama, even if it counts as one of Spielberg's lesser films. By "lesser", however, I just mean that isn't as fantastic or memorable as some of his other movies. Because it's still a good and well-crafted piece of film-making, with an impressive array of top notch actors (most notably Anthony Hopkins, who is fantastic as always). There's not a bad performance to be found and everyone gives it their best to make this a riveting experience. If you're easily disturbed you may want to think twice about watching it though. Because the story includes some deeply horrifying scenes, with no holds barred in its graphic violence and human mistreatment. At the same time though, that's also what makes it as gripping as it is. A true testament to Spielberg's versatility as a director. Because anyone who can go from family-friendly movies like Hook and E.T, to something as adult and somber as this (while maintaining the same cinematic quality), has surely earned my utmost admiration.
Super Reviewer
August 21, 2006
Based on a powerful true story, this lengthly, but intense tale, shows the graphic reality of the brutal, torture during the slave trade years.

Whilst it was Anthony Hopkins who received an Academy Award nomination for his role in this film (which was very worthy) it was Djimon Hounsou, yet again with a very impressive performance who grabbed my attention.

Powerful, lengthly, but quite a film!
Super Reviewer
½ September 10, 2009
"Amistad" is based on facts about a historical event in which a lot of blacks are kept hostage as slaves on a ship called La Amistad. Once the slaves reach the United States, they end up going to court to see whether they will be killed, sold as slaves, or returned to where they live. With the help of a good lawyer (Matthew McConaughey), President John Quincy Adams (Anthony Hopkins), and faith, the slaves, led by Cinque (Djimon Hounsou), might be slaves no more.
As soon as I saw the stellar cast that was in "Amistad" and that it was made by Steven Spielberg, I couldn't wait to see this movie. It is a good movie based on real historical events, but when compared to Steven Spielberg's previous masterpieces, "Amistad" isn't as good as it could've been. It's one of the very few Steven Spielberg movies that hasn't been dubbed as a classic by just about everyone that has seen the movie. But even though it might have come on one of Spielberg's off days, it's still a good movie. The best things about it are the good acting, its stellar cast, and its realistic approach to history. It also has a great speech by Anthony Hopkins toward the end of the movie.

I recommend anybody who likes movies that are based on history to at least watch "Amistad." NOTE: That was my Amazon review from the year 2001.
Super Reviewer
December 21, 2008
#5 Amistad
Amistad is a slave ship travelling from Cuba to the US in 1839, carrying a cargo of African slaves. As the ship is crossing from Cuba to the US, a mutiny takes over the ship. The slaves continue to sail, hoping to find help when they land. Instead, when they reach the United States, they are imprisoned as runaway slaves and the death sentence seems certain. Enter a rescue in the shape of Hopkins (President John Quincy Adams), who makes an impassioned and eloquent plea for their release.
President Speak: "This man is black. We can all see that. But, can we also see as easily, that which is equally true? That he is the only true hero in this room."
Super Reviewer
½ June 24, 2008
Despite the unflinching and brutal way in which slavery is shown the film is also a feel good examination of how lovely people can be. The film is highly engrossing, grabbing attention from the very first second. Only in the last 40 minutes with the third trial and Hopkins' familiar and sentimental speech does the film suffer. The first two hours though are brilliant cinema. Spielberg may be a master manipulator of the emotions but here he still manages to demonstrate restraint and fairness when arguments are presented. The wonderful performances are only harmed by the inconsistency of their appearances.
Super Reviewer
½ March 18, 2008
As with a lot of Spielberg's films, this one is wide and sweeping, telling some sort of story and taking a long time to get there. The cast is magnificent and the acting is superb, but it tries too hard to be some sort of cinematic masterpiece and falls far short of Spielberg's previous works. Not a horrible movie by any means, but not one to watch too often.
Super Reviewer
½ January 27, 2008
As is often the case in film-making, history has been remoulded for the sake of dramatic tension
Super Reviewer
November 28, 2007
wow. what a powerful film. this movie had little to do with entertainment and much to do with human nature. there were unforgetable scenes in this film, like the two slaves discussing Scripture using only pictures and the speach given by John Quincy Adams (anthony hopkins) at the end of the film. this movie was haunting and heartbreaking, yet it was filled with themes of hope, salvation, and courage. one of the truly great films that has ever been made, the acting was incredible and this is easily one of spielbergs best films. lets all stop neglecting this film and give it the due it deserves.
Super Reviewer
November 17, 2007
One of Spielberg's more underrated works. Lots of great performance, including an ending monlogue by Hopkins that at least stuck with me. Overall, while its historical accuracy may be in controvery, I learned a lot from this movie.
Super Reviewer
½ October 11, 2007
Great movie, one of the African Classics in my opinion (all must haves). Djimon is great. Want to have his babies.
Super Reviewer
July 30, 2007
Make us free!
Super Reviewer
July 14, 2007
Sad movie about the slave trade.
Super Reviewer
February 11, 2007
Magnificent epic drama that chronicles the little known account of a slave revolt in 1839 aboard a Spanish ship and the sensational court case that followed.
Super Reviewer
December 5, 2006
Far more contrived and therefore less powerful than Schindler's List, this is still a worthy drama tackling another of the most monstrous chapters in our history. (It is also nice to see an american film where the brits are the good guys for a change!)
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