Lincoln script
Lincoln (2012)
Synopsis: Lincoln is a 2012 American epic historical drama film directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Daniel Day-Lewis as United States President Abraham Lincoln and Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln. The screenplay by Tony Kushner was loosely based on Doris Kearns Goodwin's biography Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, and covers the final four months of Lincoln's life, focusing on the President's efforts in January 1865 to have the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution passed by the United States House of Representatives.

EXT. BATTLEFIELD, JENKINS’ FERRY, ARKANSAS - DAY

Heavy grey skies hang over a flooded field, the water two

feet deep. Cannons and carts, half-submerged and tilted,

their wheels trapped in the mud below the surface, are still

yoked to dead and dying horses and oxen.

A terrible battle is taking place; two infantry companies,

Negro Union soldiers and white Confederate soldiers, knee-

deep in the water, staggering because of the mud beneath,

fight each other hand-to-hand, with rifles, bayonets,

pistols, knives and fists. There’s no discipline or strategy,

nothing depersonalized: it’s mayhem and each side intensely

hates the other. Both have resolved to take no prisoners.

HAROLD GREEN (V.O.)

Some of us was in the Second Kansas

Colored. We fought the rebs at

Jenkins’ Ferry last April, just

after they’d killed every Negro

soldier they captured at Poison

Springs.

EXT. PARADE GROUNDS ADJACENT TO THE WASHINGTON NAVY YARD,

ANACOSTIA RIVER - NIGHT

Rain and fog. Union Army companies are camped out across the

grounds. Preparations are being made for the impending

assault on the Confederate port of Wilmington, North

Carolina.

Two black soldiers stand before a bivouacked Negro unit:

HAROLD GREEN, an infantryman in his late thirties, and IRA

CLARK, a cavalryman in his early twenties. ABRAHAM LINCOLN

sits on a bench facing Harold and Ira; his stovepipe hat is

at his side.

HAROLD GREEN:

So at Jenkins’ Ferry, we decided

warn’t taking no reb prisoners.

And we didn’t leave a one of ‘em

alive. The ones of us that didn’t

die that day, we joined up with the

116th U.S. Colored, sir. From Camp

Nelson Kentucky.

LINCOLN:

What’s your name, soldier?

HAROLD GREEN:

Private Harold Green, sir.

2.

IRA CLARK:

I’m Corporal Ira Clark, sir. Fifth

Massachusetts Cavalry. We’re

waiting over there.

He nods in the direction of his cavalry.

IRA CLARK (CONT’D)

We’re leaving our horses behind,

and shipping out with the 24th

Infantry for the assault next week

on Wilmington.

LINCOLN:

(to Harold Green:)

How long’ve you been a soldier?

HAROLD GREEN:

Two year, sir.

LINCOLN:

Second Kansas Colored Infantry,

they fought bravely at Jenkins’

Ferry.

HAROLD GREEN IRA CLARK

That’s right, sir. They killed a thousand rebelsoldiers, sir. They were verybrave.

(hesitating, then)

And making three dollars lesseach month than white

soldiers.

Harold Green is a little startled at Clark’s bluntness.

HAROLD GREEN:

Us 2nd Kansas boys, whenever we

fight now we

IRA CLARK:

Another three dollars subtracted

from our pay for our uniforms.

HAROLD GREEN:

That was true, yessir, but that

changed -

IRA CLARK:

Equal pay now. Still no

commissioned Negro officers.

LINCOLN:

I am aware of it, Corporal Clark.

3.

IRA CLARK:

Yes, sir, that’s good you’re aware,

sir. It’s only that -

HAROLD GREEN:

(to Lincoln, trying to

change the subject:)

You think the Wilmington attack is

gonna be -

IRA CLARK:

Now that white people have

accustomed themselves to seeing

Negro men with guns, fighting on

their behalf, and now that they can

tolerate Negro soldiers getting the

same pay - in a few years perhaps

they can abide the idea of Negro

lieutenants and captains. In fifty

years, maybe a Negro colonel. In a

hundred years - the vote.

Green’s offended at the way Clark is talking to Lincoln.

LINCOLN:

What’ll you do after the war,

Corporal Clark?

IRA CLARK:

Work, sir. Perhaps you’ll hire me.

LINCOLN:

Perhaps I will.

IRA CLARK:

But you should know, sir, that I

get sick at the smell of bootblack

and I can’t cut hair.

Lincoln smiles.

LINCOLN:

I’ve yet to find a man could cut

mine so it’d make any difference.

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Tony Kushner

Anthony Robert "Tony" Kushner (born July 16, 1956) is an American playwright and screenwriter. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1993 for his play Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes. He co-authored with Eric Roth the screenplay for the 2005 film Munich, and he wrote the screenplay for the 2012 film Lincoln, both critically acclaimed movies. For his work, he received a National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama in 2013. more…

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