12 Years a Slave

October 18th 2013
  • Drama/Historical,
  • R,
  • 133 min,
  • Fox Searchlight
  • Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Brad Pitt, Paul Dano, Quvenzhané Wallis, Sarah Paulson, Paul Giamatti, Garret Dillahunt, Michael Kenneth Williams, Taran Killam, Alfre Woodard, Scoot McNairy , Bryan Batt, Dwight Henry, Chris Chalk, Ruth Negga, Marc Macaulay, Anwan Glover, Adepero Oduye, Bill Camp, J.D. Evermore, Ritchie Montgomery, Wayne Pére, Marcus Lyle Brown, Lupita Nyong'o, Christopher Berry, Thomas Francis Murphy, Jay Huguley, Gio Dangadze, Ashley Dyke, Tony Bentley, Rob Steinberg, Mustafa Harris, Deneen Tyler
  • Director: Steve McQueen
  • Writers: John Ridley, Solomon Northup
  • Producers: Dede Gardner, Anthony Katagas, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen, Arnon Milchan, Brad Pitt, Bill Pohlad
  • Executive Producers: John Ridley, Tessa Ross
  • Art Direction: David Stein
  • Casting: Francine Maisler
  • Costume Design: Patricia Norris
  • D.O.P.: Sean Bobbitt
  • Editor: Joe Walker
  • Makeup: Ma Kalaadevi Ananda
  • Music: Hans Zimmer
  • Production Design: Adam Stockhausen
  • Set Decoration: Alice Baker


Based on an incredible true story of one man's fight for survival and freedom. In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery.

Facing cruelty from a malevolent slave owner (Michael Fassbender), as well as unexpected kindnesses, Solomon struggles not only to stay alive, but to retain his dignity. In the twelfth year of his unforgettable odyssey, Solomon’s chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist (Brad Pitt) will forever alter his life.

Basic Information

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Filming Locations: New Orleans, USA
  • MPAA Warning: Violence/cruelty, some nudity and brief sexuality
  • Production Companies: River Road Entertainment, Plan B Entertainment, New Regency Pictures, Film4, Regency Enterprises
  • Production Schedule: 25 June 2012 - 13 August 2012

Featured Articles


2013 Guide Analysis: "Director Steve McQueen and actor Michael Fassbender's first collaboration, "Hunger", put them on both on the map. Their second, "Shame", remains one of 2011's most talked about films. Now the pair are re-teaming for a third time on this true story slavery drama, though Fassy takes a back seat this time as Chiwetel Ejiofor steps forward to star in the lead role.

Set in the mid-19th century, the film tells the true story of New Yorker Solomon Northrup (Ejiofor), a married and educated free black man living in New York when two men approached him with a job offer in Washington. When he showed up in D.C., he was kidnapped and put in a slave pen, paving the way to his gruelling life under numerous owners. Northup secured his freedom when a white carpenter from Canada smuggled out letters to Northup’s wife. She contacted a lawyer (Brad Pitt) who initiated legal proceedings that saw him set free.

McQueen and John Ridley co-wrote the script for the $20 million film which was shot in New Orleans over the Summer. A stellar cast fills the supporting roles including Fassbender, Paul Giamatti, Benedict Cumberbatch and Paul Dano as Solomon's various owners over the years. Also starring are Garret Dillahunt, Sarah Paulson, Alfre Woodard, Ruth Negga and Quvenzhané Wallis.

The hope is that McQueen can bring the one thing to the cinematic depiction of slavery that was notably absent from both "Lincoln" and "Django Unchained" - naturalism. Both Spielberg's heavy-handed historical grandeur, and Tarantino's blood-soaked exploitation riff were great for what they were, but McQueen's work so far is known for adopting a clinical and objective approach to the topic - combining everyday banality and moments of dark brutality with the matter-of-fact attitude that comes with reality."

Trailers & Clips

Watch this films trailers

Worldwide Release Dates

  • 17 October 2013: Greece
  • 31 October 2013: Germany, Spain
  • 26 December 2013: New Zealand
  • 22 January 2014: France
  • 24 January 2014: Sweden, UK
  • 20 February 2014: Netherlands
  • 27 February 2014: Denmark