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Amazing Grace (2006)

HD   PG Closed Captioning

Michael Apted

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About the Movie

One man's role in the long battle to outlaw slavery in the United Kingdom sets the stage for this historical drama from director Michael Apted. In 1784, 21-year-old William Wilberforce (Ioan Gruffudd) was elected to the British House of Commons, and soon established himself as a politician with a conscience. Several years later, his close friend William Pitt (Benedict Cumberbatch) became prime minister, and together they made a bold plan to introduce a bill banning slavery before the English legislature. Wilberforce was aided by anti-slavery activists Olaudah Equiano (Youssou N'Dour) and Thomas Clarkson (Rufus Sewell); however, pro-slavery hard-liners Lord Tarleton (Ciarán Hinds) and the Duke of Clarence (Toby Jones) spearheaded a hard-fought opposition to the legislation, and despite Wilberforce's best efforts, his bill went down in defeat. In 1797, Wilberforce left politics due to poor health and a battered spirit; staying at the country home of his friends Henry and Marianne Thornton (Nicholas Farrell and Sylvestra Le Touzel), he became acquainted with Barbara Spooner (Romola Garai), a beautiful woman with progressive views. Spooner became deeply infatuated with Wilberforce, and she encouraged him not to give up on his noble goals; with her help, Wilberforce launched a second campaign to persuade England's lawmakers to end the slave trade. Amazing Grace made its North American premiere as the closing-night gala attraction at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 123
  • Fresh: 86
  • Rotten: 37
  • Average Rating: 6.6/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: Amazing Grace, a prettified take on the life and times of the 18th-century reformer William Wilberforce, carries a strong whiff of piety. It isn't a bad smell; there are notes of roses and treacle in the mix, but also elements of sweat and pain. – Manohla Dargis, New York Times, Jul 16, 2008

Fresh: As square as this movie is, it has been made with eloquence and jaunty high spirits, and it tells a good story that is virtually unknown here. – David Denby, New Yorker, Sep 22, 2007

Fresh: A detailed, affecting biography of one of the great souls who moved humanity forward. – Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle, Sep 22, 2007

Rotten: Director Michael Apted tells the story with dry devotion to parliamentary procedurals and a worshipful approach to Wilberforce. But [actor] Gruffudd lacks the intensity and charisma to pull it off. – Bruce Westbrook, Houston Chronicle, Jun 24, 2010

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

except for ONE THING.....

The substitutionary death of Christ on the cross was atonement for mankind's sins, and the way for reconciliation with the righteous, just, holy aspects of God's character that every person needs. That is what Christians call "the gospel" -- which means, "good news". That is the central tenet, the core idea, of biblical Christianity -- what the people in this movie believed. If someone made a movie about, say, Chales Darwin, without even mentioning the idea of evolution driven by natural selection, everyone would see how ridiculous the omission would be. But you can make an "otherwise" great movie like this, or End of the Spear, or countless others, without even one brief statement of the core belief that defined who the main characters were, what they were, and why they did what they did.


I was chomping at the bit for this movie to come out in the theatre and I think I bought the very first ticket in my area! And I was not disappointed. This is a tale that needs to be told and was done so brilliantly by Michael Apted. Maybe I don't sound like a tough critic ( I am ) but not a thing in the whole movie can be improved upon, script, cinematography, music, etc. But this one of those movies that really is all about the quality of the actors... and it is perfect! KUDOS! I had never seen IOAN GRUFFUDD before but now I will go out of my way to see his films. He has done a superb job in this role of a man struggling with his own conscience, with privelege and the weight of responsibility it brings.Very few men in his position felt the burden of this responsibility but Wilberforce took theirs upon his shoulders as well. It seems it would be easy to play the role of a man who is doing good, but it really took someone with Gruffudd's talent to show the struggles this man had to endure to be heard. For the few, it was very clear that slavery was wrong, but for the many, slavery was so deeply institutionalized and vital to the economy that it was not so simple of an argument n those times. Albert Finney needs no comment - he is lion, and acting force of nature as the humbled and broken Harris, a ghost of himself, living on as Wilberforce's conscience. Everyone in this film is fantastic, Gambon, Hinds, Jones, Cumberbatch, Garai. but they have even outdone themselves this time... telling the truth must be very compelling inspiration indeed. RUFUS SEWELL is an highly underrated and not-seen-enough of as an actor - playing the pivotal role carefully holding these tenous extremists together out of his pure faith. He is always stellar! We could have seen a little more of Youssou N'Dour as Olaudah Equiano (please read his book which is still in print)! but the film really was about the political struggle and there is only so much time... still, if someone will learn of his work who never has before this film, then mission is accomplished. You will never hear this song the same way again. Thank you for making this film - the telling is always timely and serves to remind us that we can, and should, always do more and try harder, even if it takes a lifetime... OUTSTANDING, SUPERB, IMPORTANT FILM! Too bad you can't buy it.

Grest Movie, surprisingly superb cast...

I rented this movie on a whim, because the lead actor (Ioan Gruffard) is one of my favorite actors from an old TV series about the british navy, and was expecting it to be an okay moive... Instead I was blown away by how great this movie was, a well oiled plot about a british statesman who is fighting one-to-many against parliment to outlaw the slave trade, and has a good supporting cast behind him, with interesting and well-developed characters. The story is somewhat factual and almost seems non-fiction, but is not. With the flashbacks, it's hard to keep track of the present and the past, but if you pay attention you'll be fine. It's a little slow after the movie kicks off, but once you're into it, you'll be backing the cause all the way!

Viewers Also Bought

Amazing Grace (2006)
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  • $14.99
  • Genre: Drama
  • Released: 2007

Customer Ratings