Spielberg's Role: Director, Producer
US Release Date: 1997

Original Photos by Vic Farmer, edited by Bryan Young

What kind of a land is this where you almost mean what you say? Where laws almost work? (Joseph Cinque-played by Djimon Hounsou)

Amistad was one of the first major productions of Dreamworks SKG. It tells the story of a slave ship revolt in 1839, and the trials that followed it. Djimon Hounsou played the leader of the revolt, Cinque. When the ship is captured, he tries to force the remaining crew members to sail back to Africa. The ship makes it's way to America instead. Abolitionists (played by Stellan Skarsgård & Morgan Freeman) hire a lawyer (played by Matthew McConaughey) to defend the slaves. The trial catches the eye of the President, and makes it's way to the Supreme Court. The part of Martin Van Buren is played by Nigel Hawthorne, and John Quincy Adams was played by Anthony Hopkins.

Spielberg directed this film as well as producing it. It was budgeted at $40 million. It's debut came dangerously close to the debut of The Titanic, which might explain some of the poor showing in the theater. The movie did make it's money back in domestic sales in it's first 2 months, but this is not considered a smashing success by Spielberg standards.

"This film will never leave any of us. We can walk away from the production, but the subject will always be with us. It's just something I'm really glad I had a part in. While making this film, I never felt I was telling someone else's story. I felt very much like I was telling everyone's story. This is a story that people of all nationalities and races should know." (Steven Spielberg)

Take a look at the Trailers in MOV or AVI format.
Or read an article about the making of the movie (1,2,3,4,5)