Synopsis: Amistad is the name of a slave ship traveling from Cuba to the U.S. in 1839. 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. 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. They continue to sail, hoping to find help when they land. Instead, when they reach the United States, they are imprisoned as runaway slaves. 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. The case finally gets to the Supreme Court, where John Quincy Adams makes an impassioned and eloquent plea for their release.
Genre: Drama, History
Director(s): Steven Spielberg
Production: Dreamworks Distribution LLC
  Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 38 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
155 min

Por favor!




Lay up, Mr. Packwood!

Aye, aye, sir!

Straight ahead!

Fire over their heads!

Open the gate!

Come on, come on, come on!

Move along, now!

Move along!

- Forward! Move along!

- Keep it going!

Get along! Get moving!

- Don't stop there! Keep moving!

- Make way for the stinking heathens!

All right, move on.

Lock 'em up!

Gates! Gates! Gates!

Push 'em in!

Mr. President!


Seor Calderon.

Yes, all right. Not now.

- It is a matter of importance, sir.

- God bless you all!

I'm trying to drink my brandy

after a very long day.

I simply wasn't certain

whether this was something you wanted

to take care of personally.

Leder, there are what, four million

Negroes in this country?

Why on earth should I concern

myself with these forty-four? Hmm?

Well, there are reasons.

I don't care how.

You just take care of it.

The ship is Amistad.

It's too small to be

a transatlantic slaver.

They're plantation slaves, then?

West Indians?

Not necessarily.

At least they certainly

don't look it.

Not from the glimpse I caught of them

on their way to jail.

They have these... scars.

- Scars?

- Yeah.

They were first detained by officers

of a brig off Long Island.

They were conveyed to New Haven -

under what authority, I don't know -

and given over to

the local constabulary.

About forty of them,

including four or five children.

The arraignment

is day after tomorrow.

I can only assume that

the charge is murder.

I'll see what I can do about that.

Perhaps a writ for illegal arrest

and detainment to stall things.

At the very least,

make sure they have good counsel.

Hear ye! In the matter of the court

of the United States of America

in the year of our Lord, 1839, the

honourable Andrew T Judson presiding.

If it please, Your Honour.

The bench recognises

District Attorney Holabird.

I would like to present

the court, Your Honour,

with the charges

of piracy and murder...

I have a petition for

a writ of habeas corpus.

I was speaking.

Mr. Holabird, your charges, whatever

they might be, will be rendered moot.

That petition, Mr. Tappan

- if that's what it is - is moot,

until an actual writ by some higher

court, by some miracle, is granted.

- Mr. Holabird is correct.

- And if you would, sir,

please kindly refrain from

impersonating a lawyer,

which you patently are not.

- As I was saying, Your Honour...

- Your Honour.

Mr. Secretary.

Your Honour, I am here on behalf of

the President of the United States,

representing the claims of

Queen Isabella of Spain,

as concerns our mutual treaty

on the high seas of 1795.

- You have my attention.

- Thank you.

These slaves, Your Honour,

are the property of Spain,

and as such, under Article 9 of said

treaty, are to be returned posthaste.

Said treaty taking precedence

over all other claims...

Them slaves belong to me

and my mate, Your Majesty.

- Your Honour, I...

- Who be you two gentlemen?

"We, Thomas R Gedney

and Richard W Meade,

"whilst commissioned

US Naval officers,

"stand before this court

as private citizens,

"and do hereby claim salvage

on the high seas

"of the Spanish ship La Amistad

and all her cargo."

- Here you go, sir.

- Your Honour...

You wish to make this claim above

that of the Queen of Spain?

Where was she, pray,

when we was fightin' the winds,

Your Excellen... uh, Honour.

Her Majesty, the Queen of Spain,

was busy ruling a country.

Your Honour, these officers

claims are just...

Your Honour!

Here are the true owners

of these slaves.

- Order!

- On their behalf...

I am in possession of

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David Franzoni

David Harold Franzoni (born March 4, 1947) is an American screenwriter and producer. His best-known screenplays include King Arthur, Gladiator (which won the Academy Award for Best Picture), Amistad, and Jumpin' Jack Flash. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Amistad" STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 20 Aug. 2022. <>.

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