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Amistad (film) Quotes

Amistad (film) is a TV program that first aired in 1970 . Amistad ended in 1970.

It features Debbie Allen, Steven Spielberg, and Colin Wilson as producer, John Williams in charge of musical score, and Janusz Kamiński as head of cinematography.

Amistad (film) is recorded in English, Mende language, Spanish, and Portuguese and originally aired in United States. Each episode of Amistad (film) is 154 minutes long. Amistad (film) is distributed by DreamWorks Pictures.

The cast includes: Anthony Hopkins as John Quincy Adams, Djimon Hounsou as Joseph Cinque, Razaaq Adoti as Yamba, Peter Firth as Captain Fitzgerald, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Ens. Covey, Matthew McConaughey as Baldwin, Pete Postlethwaite as Holabird, Abu Bakaar Fofanah as Fala, Pedro Armendáriz Jr. as Calderon, Nigel Hawthorne as Martin Van Buren, Morgan Freeman as Theodore Joadson, Stellan Skarsgård as Tappan, Arliss Howard as John C. Calhoun, Jeremy Northam as Judge Coglin, Geno Silva as Ruiz, Paul Guilfoyle as Attorney, Allan Rich as Judge Juttson, and Xander Berkeley as Hammond.

Amistad (film) Quotes

Arliss Howard as John C. Calhoun

  • (Arliss Howard) "We are inferior in one area: we're not as proficient in the art of gain. We're not as wealthy as our northern neighbors. We're still struggling. Take away our life's blood now, and -- well, we all know what happens then. North and South. They become the masters, and we the slaves. But not without a fight."
  • (Nigel Hawthorne) "Senator Calhoun is being modest. He's not inferior in another area, the art of exaggeration."
  • (Arliss Howard) "Ask yourself, Senor Calderon. What court wants to be responsible for the spark that ignites the firestorm? What President wants to be in office when it comes crashing down around him? Certainly no court before this one. Certainly no President, before this one. So, judge us not too harshly, sir. And bid her majesty 'like. Because the real determination our courts and our President must make, is not whether this rag-tag bunch of Africans raised swords against their enemy -- but rather, must we?"

Razaaq Adoti as Yamba

  • (Djimon Hounsou) "You don't have to pretend to be interested in that. Nobody's watching but me."
  • (Razaaq Adoti) "I'm not pretending. I'm beginning to understand it."
  • (Razaaq Adoti) "Their people have suffered more than ours. Their lives were full of suffering."
  • (Razaaq Adoti) "Then he was born, and everything changed."
  • (Djimon Hounsou) "Who is he?"
  • (Razaaq Adoti) "I don't know, but everywhere he goes he is followed by the sun."
  • (Razaaq Adoti) "Here he is healing people with his hands --"
  • (Razaaq Adoti) "protecting them --"
  • (Razaaq Adoti) "being given children --"
  • (Djimon Hounsou) "What's this?"
  • (Razaaq Adoti) "He could also walk across the sea. But then something happened. He was captured, accused of some sort of crime."
  • (Razaaq Adoti) "Here he is with his hands tied."
  • (Djimon Hounsou) "He must have done something."
  • (Razaaq Adoti) "Why? What did we do? Whatever it was, it was serious enough to kill him for it. Do you want to see how they killed him?"
  • (Djimon Hounsou) "This is just a story, Yamba."
  • (Razaaq Adoti) "But look, that's not the end of it."
  • (Razaaq Adoti) "His people took his body down from this -- thing -- this --"
  • (Razaaq Adoti) "They took him into a cave. They wrapped him in a cloth, like we do."
  • (Razaaq Adoti) "They thought he was dead, but he appeared before his people again and spoke to them. Then, finally, he rose into the sky."
  • (Razaaq Adoti) "This is where the soul goes when you die."
  • (Razaaq Adoti) "This is where we're going when they kill us. It doesn't look so bad --"

Morgan Freeman as Theodore Joadson

  • (Morgan Freeman) "I am embarrassed to admit that I was under the misconception that our Executive and Judicial Branches were separate."
  • (Anthony Hopkins) "No more so than these, Mr. Joadson. No more so than these. Now you know."
  • (Morgan Freeman) "They were first detained by officers of a brig off Long Island. They were conveyed to New Haven; under what authority, I don't know; and given over to the local constabulary. About forty of them, including four or five children. The arraignment is day after tomorrow. I can only assume that the charge is murder."
  • (Stellan Skarsgård) "I'll see what I can do about that."
  • (Morgan Freeman) "There remains one task undone. One vital task the Founding Father's left to their sons --"
  • (Anthony Hopkins) "Yeah?"
  • (Morgan Freeman) "-- before their thirteen colonies could precisely be called United States. And that task, Sir, as you well know, is crushing slavery."
  • (Morgan Freeman) "I'm sorry, I don't understand."

Anthony Hopkins as John Quincy Adams

  • (Anthony Hopkins) "Your Honor, I derive much consolation from the fact that my colleague, Mr. Baldwin here, has argued the case in so able, and so complete a manner, as to leave me scarcely anything to say. However -- why are we here? How is it that a simple, plain property issue has should now find itself so ennobled as to be argued before the Supreme Court of the United States of America?"
  • (Anthony Hopkins) "Well, when I was an attorney, a long time ago, young man, I err -- I realized, after much trial and error, that in the courtroom, whoever tells the best story wins. In un-lawyerlike fashion, I give you that scrap of wisdom free of charge."
  • (Anthony Hopkins) "Now, you understand you're going to the Supreme Court. Do you know why?"
  • (Chiwetel Ejiofor) "It is the place where they finally kill us."
  • (Anthony Hopkins) "What is their story, by the way?"
  • (Morgan Freeman) "Sir?"
  • (Anthony Hopkins) "What is their story?"
  • (Morgan Freeman) "Why, they're um -- they're from west Africa."
  • (Anthony Hopkins) "No. What is their story?"
  • (Anthony Hopkins) "Mr. Joadson, you're from where originally?"
  • (Morgan Freeman) "Why, Georgia, sir."
  • (Anthony Hopkins) "Georgia."
  • (Morgan Freeman) "Yes, sir."
  • (Anthony Hopkins) "Does that pretty much sum up what you are? A Georgian? Is that your story? No you're an ex-slave whose devoted his life to the abolition of slavery, and overcoming the obstacles and hardships along the way, I should imagine. That's your story, isn't it?"
  • (Anthony Hopkins) "You and this young so-called lawyer have proven you know what they are. They're Africans. Congratulations. What you don't know, and as far as I can tell haven't bothered in the least to discover, is who they are. Right?"
  • (Anthony Hopkins) "Well, gentlemen, I must say I differ with the keen minds of the South and with our President, who apparently shares their views, offering that the natural state of mankind is instead; and I know this is a controversial idea; is freedom. Is freedom. And the proof is the length to which a man, woman or child will go to regain it once taken. He will break loose his chains. He will decimate his enemies. He will try and try and try, against all odds, against all prejudices, to get home."
  • (Anthony Hopkins) "How is it that a simple plain property issue should now find itself so ignobled as to be argued before the Supreme Court of the United States of America? I mean, do we fear that all courts which found for as easily somehow missed the truth, is that it? Or is it rather our great and consuming fear of Civil War that has allowed us to heap symbolism upon a simple case than ever has been? And now it would have us disregard truth, even as it stands before us tall and proud as a man. The truth -- the truth, has been driven from this case like a slave from court to court, wretched and destitute."
  • (Anthony Hopkins) "James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington -- John Adams. We've long resisted asking you for guidance. Perhaps we have feared in doing so, we might acknowledge that our individuality, which we so, so revere, is not entirely our own. Perhaps we've feared an -- an appeal to you might be taken for weakness. But, we've come to understand, finally, that this is not so. We understand now, we've been made to understand, and to embrace the understanding -- that who we are is who we were. We desperately need your strength and wisdom to triumph over our fears, our prejudices, ourselves. Give us the courage to do what is right. And if it means civil war? Then let it come. And when it does, may it be, finally, the last battle of the American Revolution."
  • (Anthony Hopkins) "This man is black. We can all see that. But can we also see as easily that which is equally true: that he is the only true hero in this room? Now, if he were white, he wouldn't be standing before this court fighting for his life. If he were white and his enslavers were British, he wouldn't be standing, so heavy the weight of the medals and honors we would bestow upon him. Songs would be written about him. The great authors of our times would fill books about him. His story would be told and retold, in our classrooms. Our children, because we would make sure of it, would know his name as well as they know Patrick Henry's. Yet, if the South is right, what are we to do with that embarrassing, annoying document, The Declaration of Independence? What of its conceits? "All men created equal," "inalienable rights," "life, liberty," and so on and so forth? What on Earth are we to do with this? I have a modest suggestion."

Matthew McConaughey as Baldwin

  • (Matthew McConaughey) "To His Excellency John Quincy Adams, Massachusetts member, House of Representatives. I have understood from Mr. Joadson that you are acquainted with the plight of the Amistad Africans. If that is true, then you are aware that we have been at every step successful in our presentation of their case. Yet despite this and despite the unlikelihood of President Van Buren's re-election, he has appealed our most recent favorable decision to the highest court in the land. As I'm sure you are well aware, seven of nine of these Supreme Court justices are themselves Southern slave owners. Sir, we need you. If ever there was a time for a man to cast aside his daily trappings and array himself for battle, that time has come. Cicero once said, appealing to Claudius in defense of the Republic, that the whole result of this entire war depends on the life of one most brave and excellent man. In our time, in this instance, I believe it depends on two. A courageous man at present in irons in New Haven, named Cinque -- and you sir. Sincerely Robert S. Baldwin, attorney-at-law."
  • (Unnamed) "He reminds me of that Fula of Baoma, you know the one who hires himself to scrape elephant dung from the crop rows."
  • (Unnamed) "A dung-scraper might be just the kind of man we need right now."
  • (Matthew McConaughey) "Here, Africa? Is this where you're from? A-fri-ca?"
  • (Matthew McConaughey) "My clients' journey did not begin in Havana, as they claim and keep claiming more and more emphatically. No, my clients' journey began much, much further away."
  • (Matthew McConaughey) "Have you seen this before?"
  • (Djimon Hounsou) "I could kill you with my bare hands before you raise that sword."
  • (Matthew McConaughey) "This belongs to you? Does this? No, no. Umm, I need to know where you're from."
  • (Matthew McConaughey) "I said this before the judge, this is almost how it works here, almost."
  • (Matthew McConaughey) "Ah, Mr. Tappan. How do you do, sir? My name is Roger S Baldwin, attorney-at-law."
  • (Stellan Skarsgård) "Real estate?"
  • (Matthew McConaughey) "Real estate, inventories and other assets."
  • (Stellan Skarsgård) "Can I help you with something?"
  • (Matthew McConaughey) "What is it that you do?"
  • (Stellan Skarsgård) "Well, I own various business -- and banks."
  • (Matthew McConaughey) "As a matter of fact, you probably could help me, Mr. Tappan. But that's not why I'm here. I'd like to help you."
  • (Stellan Skarsgård) "Me?"
  • (Matthew McConaughey) "Yes. I deal with property. Sometimes I get people's property back, other times I get it taken away, as in this case. Every one of the claims speaks to the issue of ownership."
  • (Stellan Skarsgård) "Thank you, Mr -- Mr. Baldwin."
  • (Matthew McConaughey) "Baldwin, Roger S, attorney-at-law."
  • (Stellan Skarsgård) "But I'm afraid what's needed here is a criminal attorney. A trial lawyer. But thanks for your interest."
  • (Matthew McConaughey) "Yes. Well -- intending no disrespect, Mr. Tappan, but if that were the way to go, well, then -- Well, I wouldn't have bothered coming down here. Goodbye. I bid you gentlemen a good afternoon."
  • (Matthew McConaughey) "Cinque describes the cold-blooded murder of a significant portion of the people on board the Tecora. Mr Holabird sees this as a paradox. Do you, sir?"
  • (Peter Firth) "Often when slavers are intercepted, or believe they may be, they simply throw all their prisoners overboard and thereby rid themselves of the evidence of their crime."
  • (Matthew McConaughey) "Drown hundreds of people?"
  • (Peter Firth) "Yes."
  • (Pete Postlethwaite) "It hardly seems a lucrative business to me, this slave trading. Going to all that trouble, rounding everybody up, only to throw them all overboard."
  • (Peter Firth) "No, it's very lucrative."
  • (Matthew McConaughey) "If only we could corroborate Cinque's story somehow with evidence of some kind."
  • (Peter Firth) "The inventory. If you look, there's a notation made on May tenth, correcting the number of slaves on board, reducing their number by fifty."
  • (Matthew McConaughey) "What does that mean?"
  • (Peter Firth) "Well, if you look at it in conjunction with Cinque's testimony, I would say that it means this: the Tecora crew had greatly underestimated the amount of provisions required for their journey, and solved the problem by throwing fifty people overboard."
  • (Matthew McConaughey) "Cinque, I need you to tell me how you got here."
  • (Matthew McConaughey) "Ignore everything but the pre-eminent issue at hand. The wrongful transfer of stolen goods. Either way, we win."
  • (Stellan Skarsgård) "Sir, this war must be waged on the battlefield of righteousness."
  • (Matthew McConaughey) "The what?"
  • (Stellan Skarsgård) "It would be against everything I stand for to let this deteriorate into an exercise in legal minutia."
  • (Matthew McConaughey) "Mr. Tappan, I'm talking about the heart of the matter."
  • (Stellan Skarsgård) "As am I. It is our destiny, as abolitionists and as Christians, to save these people. These are people, Mr. Baldwin, not livestock. Did Christ hire a lawyer to get him off on technicalities? He went to the cross, nobly. You know why? To make a statement. To make a statement, as must we."
  • (Matthew McConaughey) "But Christ lost.; You, I think --"
  • (Stellan Skarsgård) "No, sir, he did not."
  • (Matthew McConaughey) "You want to win, don't you?"
  • (Stellan Skarsgård) "Yes."
  • (Matthew McConaughey) "I certainly do. Hell, sometimes I don't get paid unless I do. Which brings us back to the question of worth. In order to do a better job than the Son of God's attorney I'll require two and a half dollars a day."
  • (Matthew McConaughey) "Our president, our big, big man has appealed the decision to our Supreme Court."
  • (Chiwetel Ejiofor) "What does that mean?"
  • (Matthew McConaughey) "We have to try the case again."

Stellan Skarsgård as Tappan

  • (Stellan Skarsgård) "This news; well of course it's bad news; but the truth is they may be more valuable to our struggle in death than in life. Martyrdom, Mr. Joadson. From the dawn of Christianity we have seen no stronger power for change. You know it's true."
  • (Morgan Freeman) "What is true, Mr. Tappan; and believe me when I tell you that I have seen this; is that there are some men whose hatred of slavery is stronger than any, except for the slave himself."
  • (Stellan Skarsgård) "If you wish to inspire such hatred in a man, Mr. Joadson, speak to him in that fashion and it may come true."
  • (Stellan Skarsgård) "They may be of more value to our struggle in death than in life."

Djimon Hounsou as Joseph Cinque

  • (Djimon Hounsou) "I'm not a "big man". Just a lucky one."
  • (Djimon Hounsou) "Give us, us free. Give us, us free. Give us, us free. Give us, us free. Give us, us free."

Geno Silva as Ruiz

(We don't have any quotes for this character)

Xander Berkeley as Hammond

  • (Xander Berkeley) "I wonder, is there anything as pathetic as an ex-president?"
  • (Xander Berkeley) "I, I was talking about John --"

Jeremy Northam as Judge Coglin

(We don't have any quotes for this character)

Pete Postlethwaite as Holabird

  • (Pete Postlethwaite) "I am looking at the same inventory, Captain, and I am sorry, I don't see where it says 'Today we threw fifty slaves overboard', on May tenth or any other day."
  • (Peter Firth) "As, of course, you would not."
  • (Pete Postlethwaite) "I do see that the cargo weight changed. They reduced the poundage, I see. But that is all."
  • (Peter Firth) "It's simple, ghastly arithmetic."
  • (Pete Postlethwaite) "Well, for you, perhaps. I may need a quill and parchment, and a better imagination."
  • (Peter Firth) "And what poundage do you imagine the entry may refer to, sir? A mast and sails perhaps?"

Nigel Hawthorne as Martin Van Buren

  • (US Secretary of State Forsyth) "This could take us all one long step closer to civil war."
  • (Nigel Hawthorne) "Over this?"

Peter Firth as Captain Fitzgerald

  • (Peter Firth) "Fire. Fire. Fire. 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."

Paul Guilfoyle as Attorney

  • (Paul Guilfoyle) "Your Honor, here are the true owners of the slaves."
  • (Allan Rich) "Order."
  • (Paul Guilfoyle) "On their behalf, I am in possession of a receipt for purchase executed in Havana, Cuba, June twenty-sixth, 1839. I do hereby call on this court to immediately surrender these goods."

Chiwetel Ejiofor as Ens. Covey

  • (Chiwetel Ejiofor) "I will call to the past, far back to the beginning of time, and beg them to come and help me at the judgment. I will reach back and draw them into me, and they must come, for at this moment, I am the whole reason they have existed at all."
  • (Chiwetel Ejiofor) "What did you say to them?"
  • (Anthony Hopkins) "Huh?"
  • (Chiwetel Ejiofor) "What words did you use to persuade them?"
  • (Anthony Hopkins) "Yours."

Pedro Armendáriz Jr. as Calderon

  • (Pedro Armendáriz Jr.) "What's most bewildering to Her Majesty -- is this arrogant independence of the American courts. After all, if you cannot rule the courts, you cannot rule."
  • (Nigel Hawthorne) "Señor Calderon, as any true American will tell you, it's the independence of our courts that keeps us free."

Abu Bakaar Fofanah as Fala

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