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Simon Schama's Rough Crossings
Simon Schama's Rough Crossings
Director: Steven Condie
Genres: Television, Documentary
NR     2009     1hr 24min

Rough Crossings is the astonishing story of the struggle to freedom by thousands of African-American slaves who fled the plantations to fight behind British lines in the American Revolution. With gripping, powerfully vivid...  more »


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Movie Details

Director: Steven Condie
Genres: Television, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Television, Documentary
Studio: BBC Warner
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 01/20/2009
Original Release Date: 01/01/2009
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2009
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 1hr 24min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Schama fan
A. Jenshel | Australia | 07/04/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I'm a bit of a Simon Schama fan. His documentaries are gripping and he writes with a verve and humour that makes even prosaic detail seem like high drama. This feature-length documentary tells a fascinating story of the slaves who were induced to fight on the British side of the Revolutionary War and were then treated very shabbily in Nova Scotia before being treated even more shabbily in the newly-created but not at all free "Freetown" in what is now Sierra Leone. The characters in this drama are interesting but Schama-philes may consider that this is not on a par with "Power of Art" or "History of Britain". Perhaps it's the slightly preachy, forlorn tone that tells you, right from the beginning (as it does expressly at the end) that this is not going to be a feel-good story. I do, however, think that this documentary is a quality offering and well worth considering."
Historically Inaccurate
Elizabeth A. Anderson | 11/19/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)

"I saw this movie last night for my History of Slavery class. My professor, who, incidentally, is mentioned in the credits (Joe Opalla) thought that it was absolutely horrible and will never show it again. I wish I could give it negative stars. While I understand why people liked it, it was such an utter misrepresentation of the events. For one, what the documentary fails to point out is that only the slaves of "Rebels" were freed. The slaves belonging to the loyalists were not granted their freedom. There were many English people who owned slaves in Nova Scotia! This is in addition to the fact that the English were the ones who introduced slavery to the Americas, and without them, the Transatlantic Slave Trade would probably not have existed at all (North America was responsible for only 4% of slaves purchased). The whole thing was not an exercise in British "liberty" and "freedom" but a way of undermining the Rebels economically. Also, while most of (around two thirds) of the Nova Scotians were born in Virginia or the Carolinas, they all had African accents, Nigerian according to Dr. Opalla. Overlooking the unnecessary dramatics (like Clarkson being found alive right before they threw him overboard--In reality, he was pronounced dead but they hadn't wrapped him up yet.) the documentary was inaccurately critical of the abolitionists in England. They were trying to help though they weren't granting full autonomy to the Freetown colony, partly because they had been rather disillusioned by the utter failure of the first colony that lasted only from 1787-1789. That colony (Granville Town) had been populated by free black men who had been living in England. While the documentary is right in saying that the whites in the colony were utterly useless, much of the movie is inaccurate, both in facts, and in spirit and sentiment. Clarkson was a hero as was Peters but I'm so sick of this type of tripe! If you want to learn about the black loyalists and the abolition movement in general, I highly recommend the book "Bury the Chains" by Adam Hochschild."
Amazing story
General Pete | SC | 08/19/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Amazing story that is alternately thrilling and depressing if anyone can turn such a downer story into something grand Simon Schama certainly can. Not to gush but the more I watch presentations by this guy the better I like him. This is one of those times where I could write 5,000 words and not begin to express how good "rough crossing" is, so do yourself a favor and check this out now.

Overall-Spellbinding why does no one in America know this story? It may be slightly preachy but it is mostly about a particularly ugly series of events in Human history.
Brilliant production!
Fantasy | NY, NY | 04/16/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I watched the documentary/drama on PBS and was deeply moved by this part of the British history. It made me eager to read the book, which is excellent. Siman Shama makes history interesting and relevant. The BBC production is the closest it could be to Simon Shama's book. It's very educational and most enjoyable."