Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace

Michael Apted (2006)

PG Certificate


Our Score
The life and early work of 18th-century abolitionist William Wilberforce is laid bare in this handsome biopic from director Michael Apted. Produced to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Britain's outlawing of the slave trade, it stars an impressive Ioan Gruffudd as the Hull-born reformer who combined his rising political career with deep religious beliefs to try to persuade Parliament to abolish the lucrative industry. However, instead of a preachy history lesson, this absorbing drama crackles with energy and wit. The long battle is depicted as a intergenerational struggle, as young Wilberforce and his fellow humanitarians (including Rufus Sewell as Thomas Clarkson) lock horns with the opposing established order, led by the venomous Duke of Clarence (Toby Jones) and Lord Tarleton (Ciaran Hinds). The acting is exemplary and, together with a dynamic script, vividly re-creates our nation's past. But in visually shying away from slavery's more horrific realities, the film undermines its impact and ultimately lacks the power its emotive subject matter really deserves.


Biopic of 18th-century abolitionist William Wilberforce. After his election to the House of Commons, the Hull-born reformer and his fellow campaigners put forward a courageous plan to introduce a bill outlawing the lucrative slave trade, but their bold initiative is met with strident opposition. Starring Ioan Gruffudd, Romola Garai, Benedict Cumberbatch, Albert Finney and Michael Gambon.

Cast & Crew

William Wilberforce Ioan Gruffudd
Barbara Spooner Romola Garai
Lord Tarleton Ciaran Hinds
Thomas Clarkson Rufus Sewell
Olaudah Equiano Youssou N'Dour
Lord Charles Fox Michael Gambon
John Newton Albert Finney
William Pitt Benedict Cumberbatch
Duke of Clarence Toby Jones
Henry Thornton Nicholas Farrell
Lord Dundas Bill Paterson
Director Michael Apted
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: MomentumAvailable on: DVDReleased on: 23 Mar 2007