movie quotes 12 Years a Slave Movie Quotes  

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"12 Years a Slave" movie quotes tell the true story of Solomon Northup, a free man in the 1800s who was kidnapped and sold into slavery. The historical drama film was based on Northup's autobiography of the same name, which was converted into a screenplay by John Ridley. "12 Years a Slave" was directed by Steve McQueen and received critical acclaim when it premiered at the Telluride Film Festival on August 30, 2013.

In "12 Years a Slave," Solomon Northrup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is a talented violinist and carpenter living in New York with his wife and family. Two men lure him into traveling to Washington, DC, on a touring gig where he is drugged and sold into slavery. Despite knowing that he is in fact a free man, Solomon ends up in New Orleans living a life as a slave named Platt.

Solomon begins working for William Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch) and even is allowed to revisit his musical abilities but soon a confrontation with carpenter John Tibeats (Paul Dano) leads to his sale to Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender), an abusive master who operates a cotton plantation. Solomon survives at the Epps plantation, much from the help of other slaves like Patsey (Lupita Nyong'o), but longs to return to his life as a free man. After 12 years, Solomon meets Canadian abolitionist Samuel Bass (Brad Pitt) and both of their lives change forever as a result.

"12 Years a Slave" is widely expected to be in the running come awards season but will have competition from other movies showing at the same time such as "Frozen," "Oldboy," "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," "Delivery Man," "Nebraska," "Sunlight Jr.," "Last Vegas," "Ender's Game, "The Counselor," "Bad Grandpa," "Escape Plan," "The Fifth Estate," "Captain Phillips," "Gravity," "Machete Kills," "Runner Runner," "Don Jon," "Rush, "Prisoners,", "Enough Said," "The Family," and "Riddick,".
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They're My Property

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Samuel Bass: "The conditions of your laborers, it's all wrong."
Edwin Epps: "They're my property."
Samuel Bass: "You say that with pride."
Edwin Epps: "I say it as fact."

Samuel Bass tries to explain to Edwin Epps that he could have a little compassion towards those working for him. Epps on the other hand doesn't see them as people, simply property, his property.
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I Want to Live

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Robert: "If you want to survive, do and say as little as possible. Survival's not about certain death, it's about keeping your head down."
Solomon Northup/Platt: "Days ago I was with my family, in my home. Now you tell me all is lost. Don't tell no one who I am? That's the way to survive? Well, I don't want to survive. I want to live."

Fellow slave Robert explains to Solomon how to stay out of trouble under the ownership of Epps. Solomon isn't interested in simply surviving, he wants his life back.
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I Will Survive

I Will Survive is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 12 Years a Slave Movie Quotes
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Solomon Northup/Platt: "I will survive! I will not fall into despair. I will keep myself hearty until freedom opportune."

Solomon vows to keep up his fight to go back to the life he once had. He's been a slave for a long time with no end in sight but his determination remains.
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I Was Born a Free Man

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Solomon Northup/Platt: "I was born a free man, lived with my family from New York, until the day I was deceived, kidnapped, sold into slavery."

Solomon explains his story. He was born free and lived a nice life with his family until he was kidnapped and sold into slavery. Years have passed but he still holds out hope that one day he will return to that life and those he loves.
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I Did As Instructed

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John Tibeats: "I thought I told you to commence to putting on clappers."
Solomon Northup/Platt: "Yes, master, I'm about it. These have all been replaced."
John Tibeats: "Well didn't I tell you to get a keg of nails?"
Solomon Northup/Platt: "And so I did."
John Tibeats: "God damn you. I thought you knowed something."
Solomon Northup/Platt: "I did as instructed. If there's something wrong, it's wrong with the instruction."
John Tibeats: "You bastard. You god damn black bastard. You strip your clothes. Strip!"
Solomon Northup/Platt: "I will not."

John Tibeats isn't a fan of Solomon and the feeling is mutual. Accordingly, when John confronts Solomon about doing a job incorrectly, Solomon explains that he followed directions so if the job was wrong, John must have explained it incorrectly.
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Well Traveled for a Slave

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Solomon Northup/Platt: "I want to ask you what part of the country you come from."
Samuel Bass: "I originate from Canada. Now guess where that is."
Solomon Northup/Platt: "Oh I know where Canada is. I've been there myself."
Samuel Bass: "You're well traveled for a slave."

Samuel Bass, a Canadian abolitionist, treats Solomon like any other slave. This soon changes however when Bass begins to suspect that Solomon is no average slave. This changes both of their lives forever.
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Master Brought You Here to Work

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Mary Epps: "This is a list of goods and sundries. You will take it to be filled and return immediately. Take your tag. Take it to Bartholomew to add it to our debt."
Solomon Northup/Platt: "Yes, mistress"
Mary Epps: "Where you from Platt?"
Solomon Northup/Platt: "I told you."
Mary Epps: "Tell me again."
Solomon Northup/Platt: "Washington"
Mary Epps: "Who were your master?"
Solomon Northup/Platt: "Master name a Freeman."
Mary Epps: "Was he a learned man?"
Solomon Northup/Platt: "I suppose so."
Mary Epps: "He learn you to read?"
Solomon Northup/Platt: "A word here or there but I have no understanding of the written text"
Mary Epps: "Don't trouble yourself with it. Same as the rest, master brought you here to work. That's all. Anymore will earn you 100 lashes."

Mary Epps suspects that Solomon is different and asks him questions to learn more about him. While she does give him advice on how to stay in line, it's not to keep him safe, more to keep him under her family's control.
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I Will Be Clean

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Patsey: "I went to Master Shaw's plantation."
Edwin Epps: "Ah, you admit it?"
Patsey: "Yes, really, and you know why? I got this from Mistress Shaw. Mistress Epps won't even grant me no soap to clean with. I stink so much I make myself gag. 500 pounds of cotton, day in, day out, more than any many here, and for that I will be clean. That's all I ask. This here what I went to Shaw's for."

Patsey, the hardest worker on the cotton plantation, explains why she snuck off to get soap from a neighbor. She tells Master Epps how hard she works and how poorly he treats her in return, remarking that for all she does, she deserves something as simple as her cleanliness.