12 Years a Slave (2013)

R | 134 mins | Drama | 18 October 2013

THIS TITLE IS OUTSIDE THE AFI CATALOG OF FEATURE FILMS (1893-1993)
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HISTORY

The film opens with the text, "This film is based on a true story."
       After the final scene, the following statements appear before the end credits: "Solomon Northup was one of the few victims of kidnapping to regain freedom from slavery;" "Solomon brought the men responsible for his abduction to trial;" "Unable to testify against whites in the nation's capital, he lost the case against the slave pen owner, James Burch;" "After lengthy legal proceedings in New York, his kidnappers Hamilton and Brown also avoided prosecution;" "In 1833 Solomon published the book Twelve Years a Slave ;" "He became active in the abolitionist movement, lectured on slavery throughout the Northeastern United States and aided fugitive slaves on the Underground Railroad;" and "The date, location and circumstances of Solomon's death are unknown."
       End credits include a “Special Thanks” to: the State of Louisiana; Cast & Crew Entertainment Services; Nims Center Studios New Orleans; Oudezijds314; Pivotal Post; PPI Products; KohGenDo Cosmetics; M.A.C.; Murad; Makeup Forever; and Angels The Costumiers. End credits also include the following statements: “American Humane Association monitored the animal action. No animals were harmed”; “Neither Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Regency Entertainment (USA), Inc., Bass Films, LLC, nor Monarchy Enterprises S.a.r.l. received any payment or other consideration, nor entered into any agreement, for the depiction of tobacco products in this film”; and, “Filmed on location in the state of Louisiana. Filmed on location in Jefferson Parish.” The following dedication appears after the acknowledgements: “For Philbert John McQueen.”
       The full title of Solomon Northup’s 1853 memoir, as listed in the Library of Congress, is Twelve Years a Slave: Narrative of Solomon Northup, a citizen of New-York, ... More Less

The film opens with the text, "This film is based on a true story."
       After the final scene, the following statements appear before the end credits: "Solomon Northup was one of the few victims of kidnapping to regain freedom from slavery;" "Solomon brought the men responsible for his abduction to trial;" "Unable to testify against whites in the nation's capital, he lost the case against the slave pen owner, James Burch;" "After lengthy legal proceedings in New York, his kidnappers Hamilton and Brown also avoided prosecution;" "In 1833 Solomon published the book Twelve Years a Slave ;" "He became active in the abolitionist movement, lectured on slavery throughout the Northeastern United States and aided fugitive slaves on the Underground Railroad;" and "The date, location and circumstances of Solomon's death are unknown."
       End credits include a “Special Thanks” to: the State of Louisiana; Cast & Crew Entertainment Services; Nims Center Studios New Orleans; Oudezijds314; Pivotal Post; PPI Products; KohGenDo Cosmetics; M.A.C.; Murad; Makeup Forever; and Angels The Costumiers. End credits also include the following statements: “American Humane Association monitored the animal action. No animals were harmed”; “Neither Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Regency Entertainment (USA), Inc., Bass Films, LLC, nor Monarchy Enterprises S.a.r.l. received any payment or other consideration, nor entered into any agreement, for the depiction of tobacco products in this film”; and, “Filmed on location in the state of Louisiana. Filmed on location in Jefferson Parish.” The following dedication appears after the acknowledgements: “For Philbert John McQueen.”
       The full title of Solomon Northup’s 1853 memoir, as listed in the Library of Congress, is Twelve Years a Slave: Narrative of Solomon Northup, a citizen of New-York, kidnapped in Washington City in 1841, and rescued in 1853, from a cotton plantation near Red River, in Louisiana. According to a 7 Nov 2013 LAT article, Northup’s story was previously depicted in director Gordon Parks’s made-for-television film, Solomon Northup’s Odyssey, which aired on PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) in 1984. An 11 Oct 2013 HR article noted that director Steve McQueen’s wife, an art historian and writer, found Northup’s memoir when McQueen was in the early stages of developing an original screenplay about slavery for Plan B Entertainment. A 17 Aug 2011 HR news brief announced that Plan B would produce an adaptation of Twelve Years a Slave, with Chiwetel Ejiofor starring, and McQueen directing and co-writing with John Ridley; however, Ridley receives sole writing credit onscreen. Actor Michael Fassbender’s involvement was announced in a 12 Oct 2011 DV item.
       The film was originally envisioned as a $30 million production, according to the 11 Oct 2013 HR, which stated that the production eventually cost $20 million, but received $4 million in Louisiana tax rebates, making the final cost closer to $16 million. Financing was provided by River Road Entertainment, Fox Searchlight, and Arnon Milchan’s New Regency.
       Principal photography took place entirely in Louisiana over seven weeks, beginning Jun 2012. Filming was plagued by temperatures exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and a hurricane that partially destroyed the set. Production notes in AMPAS library files stated that the Felicity Plantation in Vacherie, LA, stood in for the home of “Edwin Epps.” Built in 1846, the plantation was reportedly “right next door” to the site where Solomon Northup was kept as a slave. The plantation owned by “Ford” was filmed at Magnolia Plantation in Schriever, LA, which dates to 1858, and Bocage Plantation in Darrow, LA, stood in for “Shaw Farm.” A Destrahan, LA, plantation that dates to 1787 served as the setting for Epps’s cotton gin house. Other locations included the Sarpy Swamp, the Columns Hotel in the garden district of New Orleans, LA, and Madam John’s Legacy House in New Orleans’ French Quarter. McQueen stated in HR that the hardest part of filming was the violence that the cast and crew were forced to depict. Months after principal photography wrapped, filmmakers returned to Louisiana to reshoot a scene involving a hanging that “needed something more”; in the reshoots, McQueen used a tree where slaves had reportedly been hanged and buried in the 19th century.
       According to a 25 Oct 2013 LAT article, instead of paying for domestic distribution rights, Fox Searchlight agreed to share box-office earnings with the film’s financiers. Because studio executives were concerned that the film might be too harsh for moviegoers, advertisements were tailored to feature “redemptive scenes” and actor Brad Pitt, who plays a small role as a “benevolent abolitionist.”
       The 11 Oct 2013 HR stated that the film premiered in late Aug 2013 at the Telluride Film Festival. 12 Years a Slave also screened at the New Orleans Film Festival, as stated in the 20 Oct 2013 LAT, the New York Film Festival, and the Toronto International Film Festival, where it won the top audience prize, according to a 15 Sep 2013 DV item.
       The film grossed $9 million in its first two weeks of limited release, as reported in the 7 Nov 2013 LAT. The 25 Oct 2013 LAT article stated that the film opened in six cities on the first weekend, and expanded to twelve more markets, including Detroit, MI, and Houston, TX, in the second weekend. According to a 12 Dec 2013 LAT article, the film had grossed $35 million worldwide to that time.
       Critical reception was largely positive. The 4 Sep 2013 Village Voice called it McQueen’s “most accessible film yet,” and the 18 Oct 2013 NYT review stated that the story “seizes you almost immediately with a visceral force.” Several reviewers noted that the film marked a departure for McQueen, a former video artist, from the art film world into more classical narrative storytelling. In a mixed review, the Oct 2013 Screen International stated that the “somewhat meandering tone and familiar arc hamper the narrative a bit.” Ejiofor and his co-stars received consistent praise, along with director of photography Sean Bobbitt.
       12 Years a Slave was named one of AFI’s Movies of the Year. The film won Academy Awards in the following categories: Best Picture; Actress in a Supporting role (Lupita Nyong'o); and Writing - Adapted Screenplay. Further Academy Awards nominations included: Actor in a Leading Role (Chiwetel Ejiofor); Actor in a Supporting Role (Michael Fassbender); Costume Design; Directing; Film Editing; and Production Design. The New York Film Critics Circle awarded Steve McQueen with its Best Director prize, as reported in a 4 Dec 2013 LAT news item, and the film won a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama, also receiving the following Golden Globe nominations: Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama (Chiwetel Ejiofor); Best Supporting Actor (Michael Fassbender); Best Supporting Actress (Lupita Nyong’o); Best Director; Best Screenplay; and Best Original Score. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
12 Oct 2011
p. 1, 12.
Daily Variety
15 Sep 2013.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Aug 2011.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Oct 2013
pp. 66-71.
Los Angeles Times
7 Oct 2013
Section D, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
18 Oct 2013
p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
20 Oct 2013
Section D, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
25 Oct 2013
Section A, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
28 Oct 2013
Section D, p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
7 Nov 2013
Section S, p. 6.
Los Angeles Times
4 Dec 2013
Section D, p. 4.
Los Angeles Times
12 Dec 2013
Section B, p. 1.
New York Times
18 Oct 2013
p. 1.
Screen International
Oct 2013.
---
Village Voice
4 Sep 2013
p. 6, 8.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Regency Enterprises and River Road Entertainment present
a River Road, Plan B and New Regency production
In association with Film 4
a film by Steve McQueen
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
Addl 2d 2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Film loader
Still photog
Still photog
Cam intern
Video playback
Steadicam op
Steadicam op
Key grip
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Key rigging grip
Best boy rigging grip
Rigging grip
Best boy elec
Elec
Rigging gaffer
Best boy rigging gaffer
Telecine and film laboratory
Telecine and film laboratory
Telecine and film laboratory
Lighting and grip equip
Lighting and grip equip
Lighting and grip equip
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Art dept coord
Art dept prod asst
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed
Preview projection eng
AVID ed systems
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set des
Set des
Set des
Set dressing buyer
Addl buyer
On set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Greensperson
Greensperson
Greensperson
Greensperson
Greensperson
Greensperson
Prop master
Asst prop master
Prop asst
Const coord
General foreman
Const foremen
Const foremen
Loc foreman
Gangboss
Const prod asst
Charge scenic
Scenic foreman
Paint foreman
On set painter
Scenic artist
Scenic artist
Const medic
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost des
Cost supv
Key costumer
Key set costumer
Costumer
Costumer
Cost shop supv
Ager/dyer
Tailor
Cost prod asst
Cost prod asst
MUSIC
Addl mus
Violin performances
Violin instructor
Featured musician
Featured musician
Featured musician
Score wrangler
Mus prod services
Score coord
Tech consultants
Tech consultants
Tech consultants
Digital instrument des
Score mixer
Rec and mixing studio
Mus legal
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Boom op
2d unit sd mixer
Post-prod sd provided by
Sd des
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd eff ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Dial ed
ADR mixer
Foley ed
Foley artist
Foley mixer
Mix rec
Datasat sd consultant
Dolby sd consultant
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff prosthetics
Spec eff coord
Spec eff foreman
Spec eff tech
Main/end title des
Main/end title des
Visual eff
Visual eff supv, Wildfire Post NOLA
Visual eff prod, Wildfire Post NOLA
Visual eff coord, Wildfire Post NOLA
Visual eff coord, Wildfire Post NOLA
Lead visual eff compositor, Wildfire Post NOLA
Lead matte painter, Wildfire Post NOLA
Compositor, Wildfire Post NOLA
Compositor, Wildfire Post NOLA
Compositor, Wildfire Post NOLA
Roto/2d, Wildfire Post NOLA
Asst prod coord, Wildfire Post NOLA
Flame artist, Wildfire Post NOLA
Addl visual eff
Visual eff supv, Crafty Apes
Digital eff supv, Crafty Apes
MAKEUP
Dept head make-up
Key make-up artist
Make-up artist
Make-up artist
Make-up artist and hair stylist to Brad Pitt
Make-up artist and hair stylist to Michael Fassben
Dept head hairstylist
Key hairstylist
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Historical consultant
Prod supv
Post prod supv
Post prod asst
Post prod asst, Amsterdam
Scr supv
Prod coord
Asst prod coord
Travel coord
Prod secy
Office prod asst
Office prod asst
Dialect coach
Animal coord
Animal wrangler
Asst loc mgr
Loc asst
Loc asst
Loc asst
Loc asst
Mobile air conditioning units
Mobile air conditioning tech
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Dispatcher
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Prod accountant
1st asst accountant
2d asst accountant
2d asst accountant
Payroll accountant
Accounting clerk
Post prod accounting
Post prod accounting
Asst to Mr. Pohlad
Asst to Ms. Gardner and Mr. Kleiner
Asst to Ms. Gardner and Mr. Kleiner
Asst to Mr. Katagas
Asst to Mr. Pitt
Asst to Mr. McQueen
Asst to Mr. McQueen
Asst to Mr. McQueen
Casting assoc
Casting assoc
Casting asst
Casting asst
New Orleans casting
New Orleans casting
Extras casting
Extras casting
Extras casting asst
Voice casting
Craft service
Craft service asst
Craft service asst
Security for Mr. Pitt
Security for Mr. Pitt
Scr clearances
Unit pub
President, For River Road Entertainment
Chief financial officer, For River Road Entertainm
Prod exec, For River Road Entertainment
EVP, Business and legal affairs, For River Road En
Head of development, For River Road Entertainment
Mgr, Business and legal affairs, For River Road En
Prod coord, For River Road Entertainment
Development exec, For River Road Entertainment
Controller, For River Road Entertainment
Asst to Mr. Horwits, For River Road Entertainment
Head of business affairs, For Film4
Head of legal, For Film4
Head of development, For Film4
Head of commercial development, For Film4
Prod accounting
Prod legal
Prod legal
Insurance
Completion guaranty
International sales and distribution
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt coord
Stunt coord
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
COLOR PERSONNEL
Digital intermediate services
DI col
DI conform
DI project mgr, Los Angeles
DI project mgr, New York
Account exec
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the book Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup (1853).
MUSIC
"Trio In B-Flat, D471," written by Franz Schubert, arranged by Nicholas Britell and Tim Fain, performed by Tim Fain and Caitlin Sullivan.
SONGS
"My Lord, Sunshine," written by Nicholas Britell, performed by Roosevelt Credit and David Hughey
"The Devil's Dream," arranged by Nicholas Britell and Tim Fain, performed by Tim Fain
"The Old Promenade," written by Nicholas Britell, performed by Tim Fain
+
SONGS
"My Lord, Sunshine," written by Nicholas Britell, performed by Roosevelt Credit and David Hughey
"The Devil's Dream," arranged by Nicholas Britell and Tim Fain, performed by Tim Fain
"The Old Promenade," written by Nicholas Britell, performed by Tim Fain
"Money Musk," arranged by Nicholas Britell and Tim Fain, performed by Tim Fain
"Run Nigger Run," collected, adapted and arranged by John A. Lomax and Alan Lomax
"Awake On Foreign Shores," written and performed by Colin Stetson, courtesy of Constellation, by arrangement with Third Side Music Inc.
"Apache Blessing Song," written and performed by Chesley Wilson
"Cotton Song," written by Nicholas Britell
"Miller's Reel," arranged by Nicholas Britell and Tim Fain, performed by Tim Fain
"Yarney's Waltz," written by Nicholas Britell, performed by Tim Fain and Caitlin Sullivan
"O Teach Me Lord," written by Nicholas Britell, performed by Tami Tyree, Roosevelt Credit, David Hughey, and Dan'yelle Williamson
"John," written by John Davis
"Roll Jordan Roll," written by Nicholas Britell.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
18 October 2013
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 18 October 2013
Production Date:
began June 2012 in Louisiana
Copyright Claimant:
Regency Entertainment (USA), Inc.
Copyright Date:
18 October 2013
Copyright Number:
PA1863852
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby® Digital in selected theatres; Digital DTS Sound in selected theaters
Color
Lenses/Prints
Film, prints and laboratory Deluxe
Duration(in mins):
134
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
48296
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

African American Solomon Northup stands amidst a group of slaves in a field. They are instructed to cut sugar cane, and Solomon goes to work. At night, he tries to write a letter using blackberry juice and a stick. Sleeping in a crowded slave barracks, Solomon responds to the sexual advances of a female slave by helping her come to orgasm. She cries afterward, and Solomon thinks about his wife. Sometime earlier, in 1841 Saratoga, New York, Solomon, a free man, plays violin at a party. At home, he says goodnight to his two children, Margaret and Alonzo, and lies in bed with his wife, Anne, who tells him she must go out of town for three weeks to work as a cook. After Anne and the children leave town, Solomon is approached by Mr. Moon, an acquaintance, who introduces him to two white travelers, Mr. Brown and Mr. Hamilton, looking for “distinguished individuals” for their circus. Promising to pay his way to Washington, D.C., and back, they convince Solomon to perform with them for two weeks. Upon reaching Washington, D.C., the men celebrate their earnings at a lavish dinner. Brown and Hamilton encourage Solomon to drink a lot of wine, and he becomes sick. The next morning, Solomon wakes up in a barracks, bound in chains. Burch and Radburn, two white slavers, inform him that he is a “runaway from Georgia,” and refuse to listen when he claims to be a free man with a family. Burch beats him, forcing Solomon to acknowledge he is a slave. During the night, Solomon and several other hostages are put aboard a boat. Clemens, a former slave kidnapped from his owner, ... +


African American Solomon Northup stands amidst a group of slaves in a field. They are instructed to cut sugar cane, and Solomon goes to work. At night, he tries to write a letter using blackberry juice and a stick. Sleeping in a crowded slave barracks, Solomon responds to the sexual advances of a female slave by helping her come to orgasm. She cries afterward, and Solomon thinks about his wife. Sometime earlier, in 1841 Saratoga, New York, Solomon, a free man, plays violin at a party. At home, he says goodnight to his two children, Margaret and Alonzo, and lies in bed with his wife, Anne, who tells him she must go out of town for three weeks to work as a cook. After Anne and the children leave town, Solomon is approached by Mr. Moon, an acquaintance, who introduces him to two white travelers, Mr. Brown and Mr. Hamilton, looking for “distinguished individuals” for their circus. Promising to pay his way to Washington, D.C., and back, they convince Solomon to perform with them for two weeks. Upon reaching Washington, D.C., the men celebrate their earnings at a lavish dinner. Brown and Hamilton encourage Solomon to drink a lot of wine, and he becomes sick. The next morning, Solomon wakes up in a barracks, bound in chains. Burch and Radburn, two white slavers, inform him that he is a “runaway from Georgia,” and refuse to listen when he claims to be a free man with a family. Burch beats him, forcing Solomon to acknowledge he is a slave. During the night, Solomon and several other hostages are put aboard a boat. Clemens, a former slave kidnapped from his owner, advises Solomon to do and say as little as possible, and tell no one he can read or write. Robert, another hostage, tries to recruit Clemens and Solomon in a mutiny, but later that night, Robert is stabbed to death when he tries to stop a sailor from raping Eliza, who was kidnapped with her two children. As the boat docks in a Southern state, Jonas Ray arrives for Clemens, providing paperwork that says he is his property. Clemens runs to Ray, hugging him gratefully. Later, Solomon is given the name “Platt” by Freeman, a white slaver who sells him and Eliza to a plantation owner named Ford. Although Eliza begs Ford not to break up her family, her son is sold to someone else and Freeman keeps her daughter because she is beautiful and will earn him a lot of money. At Ford’s plantation, chief carpenter, John Tibeats, introduces Solomon and several others to Chapin, the overseer. Tibeats instructs them to call Chapin “Master” and forces them to clap their hands as he sings a racist song. One day, Solomon recommends that Ford transport his timber using a creek on the property, but Tibeats claims the waterway is too narrow. Impressed with Solomon, Ford takes his advice and, later, gives him a violin. Missing her children, Eliza sobs and wails outside the slaves’ quarters, and Solomon yells at her to stop. She accuses him of kowtowing, and reminds him that Ford is doing nothing to help him get back to his own family. After Eliza cries through a Sunday religious service, Mistress Ford has her removed from the property. Tibeats criticizes Solomon’s work as he nails clapboards to the outside of a new building. Later, finding more fault with Solomon’s work, Tibeats orders him to strip for a whipping. Solomon struggles with Tibeats, steals his whip, and lashes him, instead. That afternoon, Tibeats hangs Solomon from a tree, but Chapin stops Tibeats from killing him, saying he is technically Ford’s property. Chapin leaves Solomon hanging from the rope as he goes to fetch Ford, but his toes barely touch the ground, and he must struggle to stay alive. As the sun goes down, Ford finally arrives to cut Solomon down. He admits that Solomon is exceptional, but fears no good will come of it. Insisting he is no longer safe, Ford transfers Solomon to Edwin Epps, a notoriously brutal slave owner. At Epps’s plantation, Solomon picks cotton. When his haul comes in under the average two hundred pounds, he is whipped, along with other slaves whose productivity has declined. Hearing that a young woman, Patsy, has picked over five hundred pounds, Epps grasps her shoulders and calls her a “queen.” That night, a drunken Epps barges into the slaves’ quarters and orders everyone to get up for a dance party. Solomon plays violin while the other slaves dance in Epps’s home. Seeing Patsy dance, Mistress Epps throws a crystal liquor decanter at her head and tells Epps he must sell her. He refuses, saying he will rid himself of Mistress Epps first. When Solomon is sent to town for groceries, he contemplates running away, but changes his mind when he sees two slaves being hanged in the forest. On a Sunday, Solomon is sent to the Shaw plantation to retrieve Patsy. There, he finds her having tea with Mistress Shaw, who is African American. Mistress Shaw asks why Epps is cutting Patsy’s visit short, and Solomon replies that Epps does not trust Master Shaw and believes he is a Lothario. Although Solomon apologizes for offending her, Mistress Shaw says she has no problem turning a blind eye to her husband’s infidelity if it keeps her out of slavery. Upon returning, Epps overhears Solomon telling Patsy to ignore him and drunkenly chases after Solomon. However, Mistress Epps intervenes, disgusted by her husband’s obsession with Patsy. That night, Epps sneaks into the slaves’ quarters, wakes Patsy, and takes her outside to rape her. Sometime later, Solomon is sent to buy groceries and a ream of paper. He steals one sheet and hides it. Before going to bed, Mistress Epps feeds the slaves baked goods, but tells Patsy she cannot have any, then scratches the girl’s face as further punishment. Later, Patsy rouses Solomon and offers him a piece of jewelry she stole from Mistress Epps; in exchange, she asks him to drown her, but he refuses. Cotton worms attack Epps’s plants, forcing him to loan Solomon and several other slaves to Judge Turner, the owner of a neighboring plantation. One day, Turner asks Solomon to play violin at an anniversary party for his neighbor, saying he can keep the money he earns. Epps takes Solomon and the others back after the cotton worms are gone, and Solomon is again whipped for his low productivity. Epps hires Armsby, a white man, to pick cotton. When he joins the others in the slaves’ quarters, Armsby explains that he was an overseer but became an alcoholic because he could not handle the guilt he feels whipping slaves. Armsby claims he just needs to earn enough money to get home, and Solomon offers him his earnings from playing violin in exchange for one favor: that Armsby mail a letter for him. That night, Solomon writes a letter; however, Armsby betrays Solomon by telling Epps, who wakes him in the middle of the night. Solomon denies he wrote a letter, and convinces Epps that Armsby is vying for a promotion. When Epps leaves, Solomon burns his letter. A white man named Bass begins working on Epps’s plantation. Although Epps tries to befriend him by offering him a drink, Bass declines and asserts his disapproval of slavery, saying there will be a day of reckoning for slavers. One day, Epps searches the plantation for Patsy in a rage. When she finally returns, confessing that she went to Master Shaw’s to retrieve a bar of soap, Epps orders her to be stripped and tied to a post. When he cannot bring himself to do it, Epps forces Solomon to lash her. Pressing a gun to Solomon's face, Epps commands him to strike harder, then finishes the brutal beating himself, leaving Patsy’s back covered in gaping wounds. When Bass asks how Solomon ended up at Epps’s plantation, Solomon is afraid to respond, but Bass promises to keep his story secret. Solomon reveals his true identity and begs Bass to write his friends in the North, asking to forward his free papers. Although Bass fears for their lives, he agrees to write the letter. Sometime later, a sheriff arrives in search of “Platt.” When Solomon answers, the sheriff asks him to identify a white man in his carriage. Solomon recognizes the man as Mr. Barker, a shop owner from Saratoga. Epps tries to intervene, but the sheriff wards him off as Solomon runs to hug Mr. Barker. Before boarding the carriage, Solomon embraces Patsy. Returning home, Solomon wearily greets his wife and grown children, and a young man holding a baby. He apologizes for his appearance and his daughter, Margaret, approaches him for a hug. She introduces him to her husband and baby, also named Solomon. Crying, Solomon asks forgiveness, but Anne assures him there is nothing to forgive. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award
The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.