Amazing GraceFebruary 23, 2007
The idealist William Wilberforce maneuvers his way through Parliament, endeavoring to end the British transatlantic slave trade.
Release Year: 2006
Rating: 7.4/10 (11,953 voted)
Critic's Score: 65/100
Stars: Ioan Gruffudd, Albert Finney, Michael Gambon
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.
Lord Charles Fox
Duke of Clarence
Sylvestra Le Touzel
Richard the Butler
Stephen Campbell Moore
Sir William Dolben
One voice changed the lives of millions
Release Date: 23 February 2007
Filming Locations: Ashridge Park, Little Gaddesden, Hertfordshire, England, UK
Opening Weekend: $4,054,542
(25 February 2007)
(Toronto International Film Festival)
Did You Know?
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.
The House of Commons sat in the St Stephens chamber of the Palace of Westminster at the time. It is a long, narrow room, not the debating chamber shown in the film
Pitt the Younger:
[to Lord Fox]
You always look more at home when you're doing something devious.
Truly Moving Picture
I saw this film on October 10th, 2006 in Indianapolis. I am one of the
judges for the Heartland Film Festival's Truly Moving Picture Award. A
Truly Moving Picture " explores the human journey by artistically
expressing hope and respect for the positive values of life." Heartland
gave that award to this film.
This is an inspiring story based on a legendary historical British
Member of Parliament, William Wilberforce. During the late 18th century
and early 19th century, a very young Wilberforce is elected to
Parliament and over the course of several decades leads the fight to
Today this seems like an easy, obvious and intuitive decision. But this
was not so 200 years ago. The film clearly explains the entrenched
economic motives and the political motives for slavery. Wilberforce
starts out as almost a force of one and slowly builds abolitionist
momentum by brilliant oratory, political maneuvers, and appealing to
his fellow man's better nature.
Ioan Gruffudd is totally believable in explaining to the audience the
complexity and heroism of Wilberforce. Wilberforce over the course of
his life is sickly and strong, religious and worldly, naive and
romantic, and idealistic and practical.
During the course of this mostly political story, we get to see the
immense cruelty shown to the captured Africans turned into slaves. We
are shown the slave sailing ships where the captured are treated
inhumanely and die of starvation, neglect, disease, and filth. Man's
inhumanity to man was never worse.
Wilberforce is a great man of history even though mostly forgotten
today. He respected his fellow man regardless of their station in life.
He was always willing to sacrifice his life and health to help others.
And his compassion and spirit was always masked by his humility. He is
a hero for all ages.
This is a period piece and you are lost in it because of the attention
to detail. The sets, art direction, and costumes allow you to totally
suspend disbelief and be moved by the story.
FYI There is a Truly Moving Pictures web site where there is a
listing of past Truly Moving Picture Award winners that are now either
at the theater or available on video.