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Amistad Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    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.

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  • 83

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly

    Becomes a too-stately courtroom drama, with the Africans in the dock, the issue of slavery on trial at didactic length, and the top-billed Morgan Freeman as an abolitionist shunted to the sidelines with too little to do. [26 Jun 1998, p. 130]

  • 88

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    Thematically rich, impeccably crafted, and intellectually stimulating, the only area where this movie falls a little short is in its emotional impact.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    USA Today Susan Wloszczyna

    Sheer power, moral and otherwise. It possesses a massively majestic hero. [10 Dec 1997, p.D1]

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 14+

Powerful story for mid-teens and up.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie deals with issues of race, slavery, and the legal system.

  • Families can talk about why it was important to prove where the Africans were from. What was Calhoun's justification for slavery? Why does Tappan say that the death of the Africans may help the cause of abolition more than their freedom? Why does Spielberg organize his story this way, taking the audience from the confrontation to the courtroom and only later providing the background about the capture of the Africans? What does it mean that there is no Mende word for "should"?

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence: Very violent opening scene with slave uprising and other violent scenes in flashbacks (including whipping, beating, and drowning) and when the slave fortress is liberated (including shooting).

  • sex false3

    Sex: Slaves are nude in brief scenes.

  • language false0

    Language: None

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: None