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The Conspirator [DVD]

63 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: James McAvoy, Robin Wright, Norman Reedus, Evan Rachel Wood, Alexis Bledel
  • Directors: Robert Redford
  • Producers: Robert Redford, Brian Peter Falk, Bill Holderman, Greg Shapiro, Robert Stone
  • Format: PAL
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Universal Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: 24 Oct. 2011
  • Run Time: 123 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B006G45JP0
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 122,660 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Robert Redford directs this historical drama based on the military trial of Mary Surratt (Robin Wright), the first woman to be executed in the United States. Arrested as a co-conspirator in the wake of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln in April 1865, boarding-house owner Surratt finds herself positioned as public enemy number one, and is forced to rely on her reluctant young lawyer Frederick Aiken (James McEvoy) to uncover the truth and save her from hanging. Kevin Kline, Tom Wilkinson and Evan Rachel Wood co-star.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By E. Evlogidis on 4 Sept. 2011
Format: DVD
The Conspirator is a wonderful example of how a film based on historical fact can not only be highly entertaining but also very moving.

The Story itself centres on Mary Surratt, a Southern Belle and Confederate supporter who runs a boarding house in Washington D.C. Surratt's son, also a staunch supporter of the confederate cause and courier during the war became involved in a failed plot, concocted by John Wilkes Booth to kidnap President Lincoln. Of course it is Booth who later shoots the President and it is through this link with Booth and the fact that a number of the assassins stayed at her boarding house that Mary becomes linked to the conspirators and is put on trial for the assassination of the President.

I have to say that knowing a little of the Surratt story before watching this film in no way spoiled the atmosphere or the tension of the piece. Robert Redford as a Director obviously feels quite strongly about this story and the sympathetic way in which Mary's story is told only heightens the feeling that justice was not being served as well as it might.

I don't want to give too much away suffice to say that If you are interested in History, (particularly the U.S Civil War), Court-Room Dramas, or just old fashioned Human interest stories told with heart, then this is a film you will enjoy.
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65 of 68 people found the following review helpful By L. Power TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 19 Aug. 2011
Format: DVD
When I went to see this movie I knew nothing about it. The trailer merely indicated a period courtroom drama starring James McAvoy.

While I would hesitate to call it one of the best movies of the year, undoubtedly this movie or more precisely the story this movie relates impacted me more deeply than most do. So much so that I have bought several books on the subject to get as full an understanding of this event as possible.

As an experienced director and actor Robert Redford knows how to push the audiences buttons, making socially relevant, and relatable movies.

Here is a true story of a divided country just arrived at an uneasy peace after a bitter civil war, when recently reinaugurated President Lincoln is suddenly assassinated by an actor in a theater. Not only is the president assassinated, there is a simultaneous attempt to murder the Secretary of State Seward, and Vice President Johnson.

As the manhunt begins for Booth, and his accomplices, suspicions turn to a young known associate John Surratt. Police go to his house, and in his absence end up arresting his mother Mary Surratt for being complicit in the crime of which he is suspected. But is she guilty of being a conspirator, or just guilty of being a mother of an alleged one, an innocent running a boarding house where these conspirators would meet?

She is remanded to be tried in a military court. Frank Aiken, a young veteran of the Union Army, becomes her unwilling counsel. Her rights to a jury trial in a civilian court overruled, one can sense that the odds stacked against her. It's a desperate situation. Her guilt appears to be a foregone conlusion. She is not permitted to testify in her own defencse. Will her son return and save the day?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr. P. Datta on 22 Sept. 2012
Format: DVD
The Conspirator is based on a true story. It unfolds the events leading to the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. The film covers an important chapter of American history. Robert Redford is an accomplished actor and an excellent director. "The Conspirator" is a powerful, gripping and engaging piece of film making. James McAvoy, Robin Wright and Tom Wilkes portrayal of the characters in Post-Civil war are credible and recreate the scenes achieving a profound impact. The emotions of the characters are strongly felt.

The title of "The Conspirator" significance becomes clear in the film. It is about seven men and one woman being arrested and charged on the conspiracy of murdering President Lincoln, Vice President and Secretary of State. The motives for overthrowing the government can be connected to the American civil war. The civil war ended, as the Unions won the war, but did not prevent a backlash from rebels who continued to plan attacks. The opposition sides were known as Confederate states. This was an alliance between several Southern states, which were never recognised as an Independent state during the time. I am adding some historical insight behind the film background, as it will help to familiarise with the contents. Wilki is a good source to learn further about civil war, as it looks at root causes of the war in detail.The film specific focus is the aftermath of the attacks in arresting the key suspects and the court procedures.

Majority of the scenes of the film are based in a court room setting. It is truly amazing how the events have been recreated through a courtroom setting. It is about a defendant, Mary Surrat who owned a boarding house and secret meetings took place between the conspirators. The defendant was a Southerner and a Confederate supporter.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By THE MOVIE GUY on 6 July 2013
Format: Blu-ray
The movie starts with the assassination of President Lincoln and moves quickly to the trial. This was done so the audience would get a feel about how rushed the trial had become. James McAvoy plays Frederick Aiken, the Union officer forced to defend Mary. He believes she is guilty. Mary (Robin Wright) is a quiet woman who is a solid block of courage. She is a rebel sympathizer. The conspiracy meetings took place at her boarding house. The movie shows her face during the trial with occasional outbursts. This was not the case. Her face was veiled during most of the trial and during the testimony of her daughter Anna. However, no woman in Hollywood wants to play that role, so they had her unveiled.

Robin Wright looked very much like the depiction we have of Mary Surratt. Noticed how the Secretary of Defense took charge of the situation after the assassination and would allow the VP to take over when he said so. The acting was good and the historical dress and background characters seemed to be accurate down to the straw hats worn by the hangmen.

Robert Redford just doesn't choose movies to direct because he thinks they would make good movies. The movies are selected in order to make comparisons to our world today. The question of the legality of the military court for the conspirators is the same legal question that exists today for those at Guantanamo. Just substitute 9-11 for the assassination, and Muslims for confederates. There were threats of biological warfare and "the world has forever changed." Mr. Aiken claims how his prisoner is mistreated. It is countered by "How you forgotten how our people are treated by the rebels?" Mary is "Catholic." She wears black from head to toe. She is said to spit on every Union soldier and wears a bone from a Union soldier around her neck. They demonize and dehumanize her. Sound familiar?

Great historical drama.
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