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History Film / Amistad

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** Martin Van Buren didn't campaign actively for re-election, let alone from the back of a train, as it was considered ungentlemanly for people to actively seek the presidency until near the end of the 19th century.[[note]]Ironically, Van Buren's rival at that year's election, UsefulNotes/WilliamHenryHarrison, '''did''' do some actual campaigning for the presidency, though even then it was to a far more limited extent than what a modern-day candidate would do.[[/note]]

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** Martin Van Buren didn't campaign actively for re-election, let alone from the back of a train, as it was in fact considered ungentlemanly for people to actively seek the presidency until near the end of the 19th century.[[note]]Ironically, Van Buren's rival at that year's election, UsefulNotes/WilliamHenryHarrison, '''did''' do some actual campaigning for the presidency, though even then it was to a far more limited extent than what a modern-day candidate would do.[[/note]]


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** The Lomboko slave fortress was not destroyed until 1849, at which point US Secretary of State John Forsyth had been dead for eight years, and thus Captain Fitzgerald wouldn't be dictating a letter to him (or assuming that he didn't know Forsyth had died, it would never be delivered).


* InsultFriendlyFire: Hammond, unimpressed with John Quincy Adams, scoffs "Is there anything more pathetic than an ex-president?" He is unaware that President Van Buren (currently in the middle of a losing re-election campaign) [[RightBehindMe had entered the room behind him]]. Van Buren leaves the room with an unimpressed expression while Hammond stammers out an explanation.

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* InsultFriendlyFire: Hammond, unimpressed with John Quincy Adams, scoffs "Is there anything more pathetic than an ex-president?" He is unaware that President Van Buren (currently in the middle of a losing re-election campaign) [[RightBehindMe had entered the room behind him]]. Van Buren leaves the room with an unimpressed offended expression while Hammond stammers out an explanation.


** Martin Van Buren didn't campaign actively for re-election, let alone from the back of a train, as it was considered ungentlemanly for people to actively seek the presidency until near the end of the 19th century.[[note]](Ironically, Van Buren's rival at that year's election, UsefulNotes/WilliamHenryHarrison '''did''' do some actual campaigning for the presidency, though even then it was to a far more limited extent than what a modern-day candidate would do.)[[/note]]

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** Martin Van Buren didn't campaign actively for re-election, let alone from the back of a train, as it was considered ungentlemanly for people to actively seek the presidency until near the end of the 19th century.[[note]](Ironically, [[note]]Ironically, Van Buren's rival at that year's election, UsefulNotes/WilliamHenryHarrison UsefulNotes/WilliamHenryHarrison, '''did''' do some actual campaigning for the presidency, though even then it was to a far more limited extent than what a modern-day candidate would do.)[[/note]][[/note]]



* BittersweetEnding: Adams wins the case and Cinque and the other Africans are freed and return to Africa. The ending texts reveals Cinque's family was probably carried off into slavery, his people were in a civil war, and the one which Americans were dreading the case would lead to finally consumed them.

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* BittersweetEnding: Adams wins the case and Cinque and the other Africans are freed and return to Africa. The ending texts reveals reveal Cinque's family was probably carried off into slavery, his people were in a civil war, and the one which Americans were dreading the case would lead to finally consumed them.


* VehicleTitle: The
* WhamLine

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* VehicleTitle: The
Technically the ship's name is prefaced with either "La" (in its original Spanish) or "The" (in the various U.S. court documents), but it otherwise fits this trope like you'd expect. The ship's logo is also used as the film's title card.
* WhamLineWhamLine:


* NoHistoricalFiguresWereHarmed: Theodore Joadson, the black abolitionist played by Creator/MorganFreeman, did not exist. It's thought that Joadson is essentially a composite character made up of several real-life black abolitionists, though likely based primarily on Frederick Douglass.



* TokenMinority: Theodore Joadson, the black abolitionist played by Creator/MorganFreeman, did not exist.
* VehicleTitle

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* TokenMinority: Theodore Joadson, the black abolitionist played by Creator/MorganFreeman, did not exist.
* VehicleTitle
VehicleTitle: The


* ArtisticLicenseHistory:
** Martin Van Buren didn't campaign actively for re-election, let alone from the back of a train, as it was considered ungentlemanly for people to actively seek the presidency until near the end of the 19th century.[[note]](Ironically, Van Buren's rival at that year's election, UsefulNotes/WilliamHenryHarrison '''did''' do some actual campaigning for the presidency, though even then it was to a far more limited extent than what a modern-day candidate would do.)[[/note]]
** The initial hearing ends with the U.S. Navy officers having their salvage claim thrown out, and the two surviving ''Amistad'' crewmembers being arrested for slave trading. In reality, the navy officers did get awarded a third of the remaining salvage aboard the ship -- which was admittedly more a gesture than anything else, as said salvage value was close to zero once you took out the slaves and perishable goods on-board -- and the surviving crewmembers were actually arrested ''before'' the case was heard; they subsequently posted bail, returned to Cuba, and the charges against them were quietly dropped on the understanding that they'd really get the book thrown at them if they were ever caught slave trading again.



* HollywoodHistory: Presidential candidates didn't campaign for votes at the time (it was considered highly unseemly), let alone from the backs of trains, and some aspects of the court case are altered for dramatic effect.


** President Martin Van Buren, though the film does show that he's effectively being blackmailed by John C. Calhoun into going to the lengths that he does.
** Lewis Tappan as well. After the appeal, Tappan says the Amistad Africans may be better off as martyrs, after which Joadson admonishes him as not caring about the slaves, but only about ending slavery. The real Tappan was famously known as an uncompromising anti-slavery extremist, who supported full legal rights (including gun ownership and voting) and advocated mass intermarriage to create a country without prejudice.

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** Zig-zagged with President Martin Van Buren, though Buren. On the film does show that he's effectively being blackmailed one hand, the real Van Buren didn't try to rig the initial court case by swapping out the judge, as this film's version does. On the other hand, in real-life Van Buren intended from the start to take the case all the way to the Supreme Court if need be, whereas the film's version is prepared to let the matter drop after the initial case, until John C. Calhoun into going to threatens him with dire consequences unless the lengths that he does.
ruling is overturned.
** Lewis Tappan as well.Tappan. After the appeal, Tappan says the Amistad Africans may be better off as martyrs, after which Joadson admonishes him as not caring about the slaves, but only about ending slavery. The real Tappan was famously known as an uncompromising anti-slavery extremist, who supported full legal rights (including gun ownership and voting) and advocated mass intermarriage to create a country without prejudice.prejudice.
** Professor Willard Gibbs in the film is depicted as an incompetent hack whose inept attempts to communicate with the slaves just end up making the situation even worse, and force Joadson to step in and come up with an actual way of finding an interpreter. The real Gibbs was actually the person who came up with the method that Joadson uses in the film.


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* AnachronismStew: {{Gustave Dore}}'s illustrated Bible is shown, but Doré was only 9 in 1841 and his Bible wouldn't be published until 1866.
* AntiVillain: It's shown in a couple of scenes that Van Buren's biggest fear was [[UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar civil war.]] Yes, he's worried about his own re-election campaign, but he's even more worried about keeping the peace.

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* AnachronismStew: {{Gustave Dore}}'s Creator/GustaveDore's illustrated Bible is shown, but Doré was only 9 in 1841 and his Bible wouldn't be published until 1866.
* AntiVillain: It's shown in a couple of scenes that Van Buren's biggest fear was [[UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar civil war.]] war]]. Yes, he's worried about his own re-election campaign, but he's even more worried about keeping the peace.



* EtTuBrute: Cinque, the village chief, is sold to slavers by his own people (and possibly his wife). TruthInTelevision-most African slaves were sold to Europeans by other Africans, sometimes even their own people.

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* EtTuBrute: Cinque, the village chief, is sold to slavers by his own people (and possibly his wife). TruthInTelevision-most TruthInTelevision--most African slaves were sold to Europeans by other Africans, sometimes even their own people.



* IronicName: Amistad (the ship's name) means Friendship in Spanish.

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* IronicName: Amistad (the ship's name) means Friendship "friendship" in Spanish.



* MadeASlave: After surviving the Middle Passage, several Africans aboard the ''La Amistad'' are taken ashore to be sold off at an auction in Cuba.

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* MadeASlave: MadeASlave:
**
After surviving the Middle Passage, several Africans aboard the ''La Amistad'' are taken ashore to be sold off at an auction in Cuba.


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* BondOneLiner / QuipToBlack: British navy captain Fitzgerald attempts to corroborate Cinque's testimony about a slave fortress in Sierra Leone, but Forsyth's lawyer counters that since they've never found it, it may not even exist. In the film's epilogue, the Royal Navy finally locates the fortress and blasts it into rubble, prompting Fitzgerald to start dictating a letter to Forsyth:
--> '''Fitzgerald:''' My dear Mr. Forsyth, it is my great pleasure to inform you that you are, in fact, correct. The slave fortress in Sierra Leone... ''does not exist.''



* PostMortemOneLiner / QuipToBlack: British navy captain Fitzgerald attempts to corroborate Cinque's testimony about a slave fortress in Sierra Leone, but Forsyth's lawyer counters that since they've never found it, it may not even exist. In the film's epilogue, the Royal Navy finally locates the fortress and blasts it into rubble, prompting Fitzgerald to start dictating a letter to Forsyth:
--> '''Fitzgerald:''' My dear Mr. Forsyth, it is my great pleasure to inform you that you are, in fact, correct. The slave fortress in Sierra Leone... ''does not exist.''


This had the first major film role for Creator/DjimonHounsou as Cinque, the leader of the slaves. It was also the second film for which Creator/AnthonyHopkins received an UsefulNotes/AcademyAward nomination for playing a U.S. president, having previously been nominated in 1995 for playing UsefulNotes/RichardNixon in ''Film/{{Nixon}}''.

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This had the first major film role for Creator/DjimonHounsou as Joseph Cinque, the leader of the slaves. It was also the second film for which Creator/AnthonyHopkins received an UsefulNotes/AcademyAward nomination for playing a U.S. president, having previously been nominated in 1995 for playing UsefulNotes/RichardNixon in ''Film/{{Nixon}}''.

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* InsultFriendlyFire: Hammond, unimpressed with John Quincy Adams, scoffs "Is there anything more pathetic than an ex-president?" He is unaware that President Van Buren (currently in the middle of a losing re-election campaign) [[RightBehindMe had entered the room behind him]]. Van Buren leaves the room with an unimpressed expression while Hammond stammers out an explanation.

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*KnightInSourArmor: Captain Fitzgerald's experience with the slave trade has not made him very congenial.


* PostMortemOneLiner / QuipToBlack: British navy captain Fitzgerald attempts to corroborate Cinque's testimony about a slave fortress in Sierra Leone, but Forsyth's lawyer counters that since they've never found it, it may not even exist. In the film's epilogue, the Royal Navy finally locates the fortress and blasts it into rubble.
--> '''Fitzgerald:''' Take a letter, Ensign. "To His Honor, the United States Secretary of State, Mr. John Forsyth. My dear Mr. Forsyth, it is my great pleasure to inform you that you are, in fact, correct. The slave fortress in Sierra Leone... ''does not exist.''"

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* PostMortemOneLiner / QuipToBlack: British navy captain Fitzgerald attempts to corroborate Cinque's testimony about a slave fortress in Sierra Leone, but Forsyth's lawyer counters that since they've never found it, it may not even exist. In the film's epilogue, the Royal Navy finally locates the fortress and blasts it into rubble.
rubble, prompting Fitzgerald to start dictating a letter to Forsyth:
--> '''Fitzgerald:''' Take a letter, Ensign. "To His Honor, the United States Secretary of State, Mr. John Forsyth. My dear Mr. Forsyth, it is my great pleasure to inform you that you are, in fact, correct. The slave fortress in Sierra Leone... ''does not exist.''"''

Added DiffLines:

* PostMortemOneLiner / QuipToBlack: British navy captain Fitzgerald attempts to corroborate Cinque's testimony about a slave fortress in Sierra Leone, but Forsyth's lawyer counters that since they've never found it, it may not even exist. In the film's epilogue, the Royal Navy finally locates the fortress and blasts it into rubble.
--> '''Fitzgerald:''' Take a letter, Ensign. "To His Honor, the United States Secretary of State, Mr. John Forsyth. My dear Mr. Forsyth, it is my great pleasure to inform you that you are, in fact, correct. The slave fortress in Sierra Leone... ''does not exist.''"


* DeathOfAChild: A girl drowns herself with a baby in her arms during the Middle Passage scene.



* InfantImmortality: {{Averted}}. A girl drowns herself with a baby in her arms during the Middle Passage scene.

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