Spielberg's Role: Director, Producer
US Release Date: 1997
Original Photos by Vic
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
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
Take a look at the Trailers in MOV
Or read an article about the making of the movie (1,2,3,4,5)