As the American Civil War continues to rage, America's president struggles with continuing carnage on the battlefield as he fights with many inside his own cabinet on the decision to emancipate the slaves.
During the Cold War, an American lawyer is recruited to defend an arrested Soviet spy in court, and then help the CIA facilitate an exchange of the spy for the Soviet captured American U2 spy plane pilot, Francis Gary Powers.
In 19th-century France, Jean Valjean, who for decades has been hunted by the ruthless policeman Javert after breaking parole, agrees to care for a factory worker's daughter. The decision changes their lives forever.
In 1865, as the American Civil War winds inexorably toward conclusion, U.S. president Abraham Lincoln endeavors to achieve passage of the landmark constitutional amendment which will forever ban slavery from the United States. However, his task is a race against time, for peace may come at any time, and if it comes before the amendment is passed, the returning southern states will stop it before it can become law. Lincoln must, by almost any means possible, obtain enough votes from a recalcitrant Congress before peace arrives and it is too late. Yet the president is torn, as an early peace would save thousands of lives. As the nation confronts its conscience over the freedom of its entire population, Lincoln faces his own crisis of conscience -- end slavery or end the war.Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
Toward the beginning of the movie, Lincoln is telling his wife about a nightmare he had the night before, and he says, "I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams." This is a quote from William Shakespeare's play Hamlet (act II, scene ii). Although Lincoln was almost entirely self-educated, he was an avid reader of Shakespeare's plays; in 1860, the author and critic William Dean Howells wrote that the then-candidate for president was "a diligent student of Shakespeare, to know whom is a liberal education." Daniel Day-Lewis played Hamlet in a 1989 production at London's National Theatre. See more »
Raymond H. Johnson plays Republican Congressman John F. McKenzie, but the end credits list a different actor. Raymond H. Johnson is listed in the End Credits as Raymond Johnson, under House of Representatives. See more »
Private Harold Green:
[speaking to Lincoln on the battlefield]
Some of us was in the Second Kansas Colored. We fought the Rebs at Jenkins' Ferry last April just after they killed every Negro soldier they captured at Poison Springs. So at Jenkins' Ferry, we decided warn't takin' no Reb prisoners. And we didn't leave a one of 'em alive. The ones of us that didn't die that day, we joined up with the 116th US Colored, sir, from Camp Nelson, Kentucky.
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No opening credits except for the main title. See more »
For international releases, an additional prologue about the Civil War was added prior to the start of the film. It mostly shows archive photos with the prologue text included in it. This was decided by the studio's marketing department in its research which realized that while many non-American audiences know of the titular character, most of them are not familiar with the war itself. See more »
I'm prepared to admit at this point that Daniel Day Lewis has succeeded to the title of most brilliant actor of his generation--and I do not say that lightly. But when I consider what he has done here--imbued the most sacred president in our history with such aching, gorgeous, complex humanity--seemingly without conscious effort on his part--I say give it to him.
His Lincoln is at once ordinary and divine, passionate and all too earthy...and he inhabits the role so fully that not beyond the first minute do you think to yourself that you are watching an actor and not the man himself. I admit, at the first speech, I rather expected the voice to be deeper and more commanding, but that wore off instantly, and Spielberg to his credit gets every scene note-perfect. The scene where soldiers on the field were quoting back to him the Gettysburg Address was heartbreaking--The big guns, to be sure, but everyone in the theater stopped breathing. Spielberg has the mood and light fine-tuned to the point that when the characters are donning shawls against the cold--this in the white house--you shiver. I can'think of a single actor who was not up to snuff, but James Spader as a rascally vote procurer stands out. Sally Field as the troubled Mary Todd Lincoln is a sympathetic gem, and her portrayal should go a long way towards explaining and perhaps inviting history's revision of that unhappy woman. The film focuses most on the nuts and bolts of legislative and presidential processes, and while that may be boring for some,it has such a ring of authenticity and research that it had me scrambling for the history books to check on things I hadn't known. This is the most difficult of all subjects to film, a dense scholarly work translated to popular culture, but it succeeds on all counts. See it, make your children go with you. You won't regret it.
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