Approved for 12+

Amazing Grace: The Story of William Wilberforce

William Wilberforce was born into the age of the Great British Empire, when the country's influence around the globe was at its most powerful. It was, however, an age when the rumblings of social discontent were emerging and a time when reformers faced an uphill struggle to be heard.

A good friend and staunch colleague of England's youngest ever Prime Minister, Pitt the Younger, Wilberforce was entrusted with the policy for the Abolition of Slavery. Torn between a life of spirituality and a career in politics, he was inspired to take his desire for the equality of all mankind into the House of Commons. Seeking the advice of John Newton, a former slave trader who turned to the Church in order to atone for his earlier life, Wilberforce became the rallying voice in Parliament for a fragmented group of like-minded people to fight for the cause and make the people of Britain, and ultimately the world, acknowledge the horror of the Slave Trade.

Amazing Grace follows Wilberforce's career through his 20's and 30's, when he and his fellow humanitarians made the issue of slavery a talking point, not only in political circles, but also throughout the country. They waged the first modern political campaign, using petitions, boycotts, mass meetings and even badges with slogans to take their message to the country at large. Wilberforce steered this cause through the corridors of power and ultimately opened the way for the abolition of slavery throughout the British Empire. His success came after decades of fighting when Parliament finally passed the first anti-slavery bill in 1807.

Negative Rating
Positive Rating

Dove Review

Many Americans understand the issues and history of slavery in America, but few know that it was abolished in England long before it was here in the United States. “Amazing Grace” tells the story of William Wilberforce, the English reformer whose life work was dedicated to freeing slaves under British rule.

Michael Apted directs this enthralling movie that details the life of William Wilberforce and the challenges he faced in the House of Commons as he tirelessly pursued freedom for all mankind regardless of color. With breathtaking scenery and great attention to the detail of the times, this period piece will keep the audience’s attention squarely focused on the issues surrounding the abolitionist movement.

Wilberforce’s Christian faith is the unmistakable motivator in his quest for equality for all of God’s children. His mentor, John Newton, wrote the classic hymn, “Amazing Grace.” Veteran actor, Albert Finney, who played Newton with a driving passion, should be a serious candidate for Best Supporting Actor.

Unlike so many of today’s movies that are full of revisionist history, this film stays true to the facts and should be considered the Gold Standard for historically accurate portrayals in cinema.

“Amazing Grace” received 5 out of 5 Doves for its quality, and we highly recommend that this movie be viewed by everyone ages twelve and above.

Dove Rating Details




Brief images of slaves being treated badly. Dialog discussing extreme conditions on slave ships including rape.


Man and woman kiss


H-5; D-1; G-5; A-6; N-2 (spoken by slave owner - not condoned by role models in the film); C-1 (spoken reverently by John Newton)


Brief images of slaves being treated badly. Dialog discussing extreme conditions on slave ships including rape.


Wilberforce is diagnosed with Colitis and is prescribed Laudanum, a highly addictive form of opium. He quits taking the drug when he realizes its debilitating effect.


Cleavage appropriate to the times.



More Information