12 Years a Slave

12 Years a Slave
12 Years a Slave
  • R
  • 2h 13m
  • 2013
Certified Fresh95%
Common Sense Media Iconage 15+
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From director Steve McQueen and based on Solomon Northup’s astonishing true story comes this powerful winner of three 2013 Academy Awards®, including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress (Lupita Nyong’o). In 1841, Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free citizen, is kidnapped, stripped of his identity and sold into slavery. Now, he must find the strength to survive in this unflinching story of hope.

Rotten Tomatoes® Score

Certified Fresh95%
Critics Consensus: It's far from comfortable viewing, but 12 Years a Slave's unflinchingly brutal look at American slavery is also brilliant -- and quite possibly essential -- cinema.
Philadelphia Inquirer
Steven Rea

It speaks to the courage and resilience of one man, the savagery of many, and the potential, for b...

June 25, 2017
San Diego Reader
Scott Marks

In its own saintly manner, it's as exploitative as anything critics accused Django Unchained of be...

June 25, 2017
Sydney Morning Herald
Paul Byrnes

The film tells an irresistibly powerful story, in a way that does not shirk the horror. It is unbe...

June 25, 2017
The Age (Australia)
Jake Wilson

A film that, despite its surface simplicity, proves to be riven with contradictions to the point o...

June 25, 2017
More on Rotten Tomatoes

Common Sense Media

Common Sense Media Iconage 15+
Common Sense Says
Imperfect but must-see epic drama with major cruelty.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that 12 Years a Slave is a harrowing, moving drama based on a book written in the 1850s by Solomon Northup recounting his experiences as a slave, and it can be difficult to watch. There are scenes that show extreme brutality (beatings, hangings) and rough language (the use of the "N" word), and extreme emotional cruelty. Expect some slave market nudity, plus the sexual assault of a slave by a master. Very young teens and tweens may find it too intense, but older teens should watch it to bear witness to a tragic part of American history.

A Lot or A Little?

The parents’ guide to what’s in this movie.
Positive Messages
Positive Role Models
More on Common Sense Media

Additional Info

  • Genre:Drama
  • Release Date:October 18, 2013
  • Languages:English
  • Captions:English, Spanish
  • Audio Format:
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