In light of this evidence, the staff of President Van Buren has the judge presiding over the case replaced by Judge Coglin, who is younger and believed to be impressionable and easily influenced. It is carrying a cargo of Africans who have been sold into slavery in Cuba, taken on board, and chained in the cargo hold of the ship. But they guide it instead into U.S. waters, and the Africans find themselves in an American court. The case finally gets to the Supreme Court, where John Quincy Adams (Sir Anthony Hopkins) makes an impassioned and eloquent plea for their release. We see his wife, and his village, and something of his life; we understand how cruelly he was ripped from his life and ambitions. “Amistad,” like Spielberg's “Schindler's List,” is not simply an argument against immorality. Instead, they are misdirected and when they reach the United States, they are imprisoned as runaway slaves. Cinque and many others were then sold to the Tecora, where they were held in the brig of the ship. Slavery could, I suppose, be seen largely as a matter of laws and property--at least to those benefitting from it. Amistad is the name of a slave ship traveling from Cuba to the U.S. in 1839.

Amistad received mainly positive reviews.

Baldwin argues that the Africans had been captured in British Sierra Leone to be sold in the Americas illegally. [2] Foner wrote: In fact, the Amistad case revolved around the Atlantic slave trade — by 1840 outlawed by international treaty — and had nothing whatsoever to do with slavery as a domestic institution. Consequently, seeking to make the case more personal, on the advice of former American president (and lawyer) John Quincy Adams, Baldwin and Joadson find James Covey, a former slave who speaks both Mende and English. Taglines After pressure from Senator John C. Calhoun of South Carolina on President Van Buren, the case is appealed to the Supreme Court. Fitzgerald explains that some slave ships when interdicted do this to get rid of the evidence for their crime.

Ambassador to the United Kingdom, 1814–1817, U.S. I thought that was a little over-wrought. Both films are about the ways good men try to work realistically within an evil system to spare a few of its victims.

And eventually, on appeal, former President John Quincy Adams (Anthony Hopkins) argues eloquently for the freedom of the men.

Later on, the ship arrived in Havana, Cuba. Synopsis What is most valuable about “Amistad” is the way it provides faces and names for its African characters, whom the movies so often make into faceless victims. | Secretary of State John Forsyth, on behalf of President Martin Van Buren (who is campaigning for re-election), represents the claim of the Spanish government[a] that the Africans are property of Spain based on a treaty. After all the slaves are removed from the fortress, Fitzgerald orders the ship's cannon to destroy it. Slavery could, I suppose, be seen largely as a matter of laws and property--at least to those benefitting from it. They don't speak a word of English, and it seems like they are doomed to die for killing their captors when an abolitionist lawyer decides to take their case, arguing that they were free citizens of another country and not slaves at all. As the tension rises, Cinqué stands up from his seat and repeatedly says, "Give us, us free!". In an unfamiliar country and not speaking a single word of English, the Africans find themselves in a legal battle. The captives were beaten and whipped, and at times, were given so little food that they had to eat the food from each other's faces. A scene where Cinque sees African violets in John Quincy Adams' greenhouse and is seized with homesickness. And Cinque's memory of his wife left in Africa. “Give us free!” Cinque cries in a powerful moment in the courtroom, indicating how irrelevant a “not guilty” verdict would be to the real facts of his case. Cinque tells his story at trial: Cinque was kidnapped by slave traders outside his village, and held in the slave fortress of Lomboko, where thousands of captives were held under heavy guard. Morgan Freeman, Anthony Hopkins, Djimon Hounsou, and Matthew McConaughey had starring roles. They are unlucky at first with their defense team, which is led by Roger Baldwin (Matthew McConaughey), a real estate lawyer who bases his case on property law and only slowly comes to see his clients as human beings. The captive called Cinque emerges as a powerful individual, a once-free farmer who has lost his wife and family. In 1975, he won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism. Entirely apart from the moral issues involved, “Schindler's List” works better as narrative because it is about a risky deception, while “Amistad” is about the search for a truth that, if found, will be small consolation to the millions of existing slaves. [12], Amistad was nominated for Academy Awards in four categories: Best Supporting Actor (Anthony Hopkins), Best Original Dramatic Score (John Williams), Best Cinematography (Janusz Kamiński), and Best Costume Design (Ruth E. Analysis Of The Film Amistad 1574 Words | 7 Pages. Baldwin proves through documents found hidden aboard La Amistad that the African people were initially cargo belonging to a Portuguese slave ship, the Tecora. The words are primarily in Mende, one of Sierra Leone's major languages. Amistad is the name of a slave ship traveling from Cuba to the U.S. in 1839. Ever since Spielberg began “Amistad,” the story has been hyped and hailed as a great untold chapter in American history, an event to put beside Nat Turner's uprising. They don't speak a word of English, and it seems like they are doomed to die for killing their captors when an abolitionist lawyer decides to take their case, arguing that they were free citizens of another country and not slaves at all. I really did. It is one of the great movie courtroom speeches. And another sequence in which the mechanics of the slave trade are examined, as Africans capture members of enemy tribes and sell them to slave traders. Amistad is a 1997 American historical drama film directed by Steven Spielberg, based on the true story of the events in 1839 aboard the slave ship La Amistad, during which Mende tribesmen abducted for the slave trade managed to gain control of their captors' ship off the coast of Cuba, and the international legal battle that followed their capture by the Washington, a U.S. revenue cutter. The Lomboko slave fortress is liberated by the Royal Marines under the command of Captain Fitzgerald. This legal distinction is not made as clear as it could have been; the international slave trade had been outlawed by treaties by 1839, the year of the landmark Amistad incident, but those who were already slaves remained the property of their masters--as did their children. 3 interactive class activities to energize your online classroom Blog. Nigel Hawthorne plays President Martin Van Buren, who is portrayed as a spineless compromiser who wants only to keep the South off his back; the character is played in the same note as his pathetic old George III in “The Madness Of King George,” when more shrewd calculation might have been effective. The story of Cinque certainly deserves more attention in textbooks, but it is not an ideal story to make into a film; Nat Turner would have been a better choice for Spielberg. Susan Wloszczyna of USA Today summed up the feelings of many reviewers when she wrote: "as Spielberg vehicles go, Amistad — part mystery, action thriller, courtroom drama, even culture-clash comedy — lands between the disturbing lyricism of Schindler's List and the storybook artificiality of The Color Purple. As the ship is crossing from Cuba to the U.S., Cinque, who was a tribal leader in Africa, leads a mutiny and takes over the ship. Amistad’s problems go far deeper than such anachronisms as President Martin Van Buren campaigning for re-election on a whistle-stop train tour (in 1840, candidates did not campaign), or people constantly talking about the impending Civil War, which lay twenty years in the future. Holabird contends that Cinque could have been made a debt slave by his fellow Sierra Leoneans. A soundtrack album was released on December 9, 1997 by DreamWorks Records. Instead, they are taken to Connecticut, where they are brought to trial for murder. Parents Guide. Sept. 11, 2020. Their case is taken to every level of the American judiciary and finally to the U.S. Supreme Court. One of the astonishing facts revealed in Steven Spielberg's “Amistad” is that seven of the nine U.S. Supreme Court justices in 1839 were slave-owning Southerners. But he (Spielberg) wanted to make a point and I understood that. Analysis Of The Movie ' Amistad ' 960 Words | 4 Pages “Amistad” was released in 1997 on the territory of the United States of America.The historical period, portrayed in the film, is the year of 1839. But in praising it, I touch on the film's great weakness: It is too much about the law and not enough about the victims. [13], 1997 historical drama film directed by Steven Spielberg, resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1841, Mutiny on the Amistad: The Saga of a Slave Revolt and Its Impact on American Abolition, Law, and Diplomacy, Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Theatrical Releases, Excellence in Production Design for a Feature Film, Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion Picture or for Television, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture, Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role, Supreme Court of the United States in fiction, Antonio González, 1st Marquess of Valdeterrazo, "The United States, Appellants, v. The Libellants and Claimants of the Schooner Amistad ...",, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, United States House of Representatives, 1831–1848, President of the United States, 1825–1829, U.S.

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