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Amazing Grace (2006)

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The idealist William Wilberforce maneuvers his way through Parliament, endeavoring to end the British transatlantic slave trade.

Director:

Michael Apted

Writer:

Steven Knight
1 win & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ioan Gruffudd ... William Wilberforce
Romola Garai ... Barbara Spooner
Benedict Cumberbatch ... William Pitt
Albert Finney ... John Newton
Michael Gambon ... Lord Charles Fox
Rufus Sewell ... Thomas Clarkson
Youssou N'Dour ... Olaudah Equiano
Ciarán Hinds ... Lord Tarleton (as Ciaran Hinds)
Toby Jones ... Duke of Clarence
Nicholas Farrell ... Henry Thornton
Sylvestra Le Touzel ... Marianne Thornton
Jeremy Swift ... Richard the Butler
Stephen Campbell Moore ... James Stephen
Bill Paterson ... Lord Dundas
Nicholas Day ... Sir William Dolben
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Storyline

In 1797, William Wilberforce, the great crusader for the British abolition of slavery, is taking a vacation for his health even while he is sicker at heart for his frustrated cause. However, meeting the charming Barbara Spooner, Wilberforce finds a soulmate to share the story of his struggle. With few allies such as his mentor, John Newton, a slave ship captain turned repentant priest who penned the great hymn, "Amazing Grace," Prime William Pitt, and Olaudah Equiano, the erudite former slave turned author, Wilberforce fruitlessly fights both public indifference and moneyed opposition determined to keep their exploitation safe. Nevertheless, Wilberforce finds the inspiration in newfound love to rejuvenate the fight with new ideas that would lead to a great victory for social justice. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

One man led a movement that changed the world. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic material involving slavery, and some mild language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 February 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A szabadság himnusza See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,305,000, 25 February 2007

Gross USA:

$21,250,683

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$32,120,360
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During the conversation between Thomas Clarkson and William Wilberforce it is questioned how a person can remain loyal to a king who shakes hands with an oak tree and see Germany through his telescope. The quote, spoken by Clarkson, is a reference to King George III who, by the contemporary belief of history and scientific research, was known to have suffered from porphyria which was possibly provoked by his use of arsenic. See more »

Goofs

A character mentions seeing Germany with a telescope, however no unified German state existed before 1871. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
William Wilberforce: Stop a moment!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Chris Tomlin: Amazing Grace (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Haydn Opus 64, Nos. 2, 4 and 5
Written by Franz Joseph Haydn (as Franz Joseph Haydn)
Performed by Quattro Mosaiques
Courtesy of Astree Records
by arrangement with Source Q
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Decent movie of a great story
31 January 2007 | by rich-464See all my reviews

Most people probably have vaguely heard of William Wilberforce without knowing too much about his life. The power of his story, and the power of the central issue (the abolition of slavery), carries this movie that veers from artful to clumsy.

The movie can be confusing, as it moves back and forth between phases of Wilberforce's life. Often I found myself wondering for a few moments, "When is this?" Also, much of the political intrigue has to be inferred, since the backgrounds of the various players - particularly Wilberforce's adversaries - are not adequately explained.

However, the performances are quite good, some bordering on excellence. Some might argue that the villains are too simplistically presented, but on an issue like slavery, it is expected that the opposition would be completely unsympathetic (just as Nazis are rarely presented with any hint of sympathy).

I am sure the writers took some liberties with history. By the way, the tune we now associate with the hymn "Amazing Grace" did not become the melody for John Newton's famous lyrics until after Wilberforce's death.

I just watched this movie at a private screening for attendees of the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC (clergy are a natural audience for this movie). The reception was favorable, but this was an audience for which the moralizing of the story would naturally resonate. I'm not sure it will attract a very broad audience - this is a movie that may well find its niche on DVD being shown in high school history classes and at church gatherings.

It is a nice, historical, period piece. It is (largely due to subject matter) reminiscent of "Amistad", with similar pacing.

Should you see it? It depends on whether you like this TYPE of movie. If this genre (historical drama) interests you, this is quite well-done. It might even inspire you to read more about Wilberforce. Go see it. If you are in search of movies that teach lessons about good values and perseverance in fighting for what's right, go see it.

But if you have no idea when the French Revolution occurred relative to our War of Independence, and if it doesn't come naturally to you to remember that the newborn U.S. was allied with France against Britain during that period - and if you don't care - this movie might not be your idea of a fun time.

If I were the producers, I would add one of those "scrolling text" historical introductions to the film before final release, though it is probably too late.


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