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Amazing Grace (2006)

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2:30 | Trailer
The idealist William Wilberforce (Ioan Gruffudd) 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 (Ioan Gruffudd), 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 (Romola Garai), Wilberforce finds a soulmate to share the story of his struggle. With few allies such as his mentor, John Newton (Albert Finney), a slave ship Captain turned repentant Priest who penned the hymn, "Amazing Grace", future Prime Minister William Pitt (Benedict Cumberbatch), and Olaudah Equiano (Youssou N'Dour), the erudite former slave turned author, Wilberforce fruitlessly fights 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:

Every song has its story. Every generation has its hero. 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

A special screening of this movie was shown in Buncrana, County Donegal, Ireland. This was in celebration of John Newton's link with the county, when in 1748, his slave ship, the "Greyhound", came ashore after surviving a terrible storm. This event began the spiritual journey for Newton, which culminated in his authorship of the song, "Amazing Grace". See more »

Goofs

Towards the beginning of the film, Barbara Spooner refers to Napoleon as the ruler of France. This scene takes place in 1797, two years before Napoleon came to power. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Referenced in Aqua Teen Hunger Force: Muscles (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Amazing Grace
Lyrics by John Newton
Music by William Walker
Performed by Ioan Gruffudd
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Inspiring but inaccurate
24 February 2007 | by Sophie-3See all my reviews

To see this well mounted but simplistic and worshipful bio-pic, one would think that William Wilberforce (and to a lesser extent, young Mr. Pitt) were the only members of Parliament to speak out against the war with America, then against the slave trade. Not so, folks - next time you're in Westminster Abbey, you might check out the large abolitionist monument dedicated someone whose fight against the slave trade predated that of Wilberforce and was widely recognized during his liftetime: Charles James Fox.

Yes, that same Fox so inaccurately identified in the film as a tame follower of Wilberforce, agonizing over the slavery question and finally swayed by the young man's eloquence. Truth is, Fox - whose pro-American, pro-French Revolution, anti-slavery and anti-absolute monarchy sentiments put him at odds with George III during nearly his entire political career - was a "phenomenon of the age" in the words of a contemporary, and one of Parliament's most eloquent speakers on a range of causes that certainly rivalled those of Wilberforce.

He was also only 10 years older than Pitt, something you'd never guess from the fright-wig makeup Michael Gambon wears.

You can understand why such scripting decisions are made: Wilberforce has to be young and sexy to be attractive, and his more priggish attitudes (he often urged Parliament to pass laws prohibiting all amusements on Sundays, and was appalled at what he deemed Fox's immorality: his drinking, gambling and womanizing) have to be eliminated. It's a shame, because Wilberforce was all the more interesting for being a complex human - but it's so much easier to make him terribly young, eager and dashing, and all other politicians of the day old and timid.

Other strange egregious errors: Fox was not a lord, nor would you find any lords among Wilberforce's fellows in the House; lords do not sit in the House of Commons. The character identified as the king's son, the Duke of Cumberland, would have been about 12 years old at the time of the movie's action. Pitt was prime minister for some 20 years, yet his cautious political trimming was at least partly responsible for the slave trade continuing as long as it did.

It was a pleasant enough film and rousing in parts, but I prefer my history more red-blooded and reflective of real human beings.


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