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The Conspirator

Released on 24 October 2011

Featuring: Evan Rachel Wood, James McAvoy & Alexis Bledel

Format: DVD | Rating: 12 years & over

4.0 out of 5 (4 customer reviews) | Write a review

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Based on a true story, The Conspirator tells the powerful story of a woman who would do anything to protect her family, and the man who risked everything to save her.

In the wake of Abraham Lincoln's assassination, seven men and one woman are arrested and charged with conspiring to kill the President, Vice President, and Secretary of State.

The lone woman charged, Mary Surratt (Wright) owns a boarding house where John Wilkes Booth (Toby Kebbell) and others met and planned the simultaneous attacks. Against the ominous back-drop of post-Civil War Washington, newly-minted lawyer, Frederick Aiken (McAvoy), a 28-year-old Union war-hero, reluctantly agrees to defend Surratt before a military tribunal.

Aiken realizes his client may be innocent and that she is being used as bait and hostage in order to capture the only conspirator to have escaped a massive manhunt, her own son, John (Johnny Simmons). As the nation turns against her, Surratt is forced to rely on Aiken to uncover the truth and save her life.


  • View commentary with Robert Redford
  • Audio commentary with Robert Redford
  • Witness History Featurettes (Witness history Introduction, The Conspiracy, Production Design, Mary Surratt's Catholicism, Costume Design, Military Trial, Props and Special Effects, Frederick Aiken: Defense Lawyer, Mary Surratt: Guilty or Innocent, Sentence and Execution)
  • Photo Gallery

customer Reviews

 Average rating (4 reviews)

 Excellent courtroom drama

| | See all Gavmundo's reviews (42)

First class courtroom drama centering around the assassination plot that resulted in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Excellent cast and script. Deliberately slow but still gripping and the setting of post Civil War America really makes for an interesting movie. A steal for the price.

 The Conspirator

| | See all Kevin1075's reviews (754)

Top 100  Reviewer Top 100 DVD Reviewer Top 100 Music Reviewer

Not widely released in the UK - I tried to catch a screening of it but found it played for only a very short time at my cinema - Robert Redford's latest drama is a slow, but eventually perfectly watchable historical drama.

Based on the story of Mary Surrat (Robin Wright Penn), the only women to be tried in connection to the conspiracy around the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln in 1865 and the trial lawyer (James McAvoy) assigned to defend her, the film is a well made piece that fans of the era/historical stories or even simply a good courtroom drama should appreciate.

Not knowing a great deal about Mary Surrat herself, I find it hard to tell the degree of accuracy the film truly has over the version of her story depicted here, but setting that aside, the story itself is a worthwhile one to spend a couple of hours in the company of. Though the film certainly flows at it's own pace.

The extras package is adequate, with a commentary and a batch of featurettes about the making of the film and the characters central to the story.

 understated gem

| | See all atthemovies's reviews (112)

Top 100 DVD Reviewer

cracking little film released without fuss, this film will be overlooked by many and they will be missing a gem, american civil war is over and a country rejoices, but not all share the joy, southerners determined to continue the fight have assinated lincoln arrests have been made, among them a women accussed of aiding the assassins. the story centres around her trial. superb acting all round, everything about this film captures the period from uniforms, damp dirty prison, dark courtroom and the manner of the people portrayed. history fans will enjoy immensely, well worth a watch , particularly at current price.

 Intriguing Slow-burner

| | See all beelzie14's reviews (29)

Good film - slow burner but I thought that the pacing was spot on for what is an historical period drama. I never even knew about the intrigue behind Lincoln's assassination so this was a learning experience for me. Great to see Robin Wright Penn and Toby Kebbell in a film again - great, undervalued actors of the current film generation.
Highly recommended.

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ActorsEvan Rachel Wood, James McAvoy, Alexis Bledel, Robin Wright, Justin Long, Danny Huston, Norman Reedus, Kevin Kline, Tom Wilkinson, Jonathan Groff, Stephen Root, Toby Kebbell, Johnny Simmons, Shea Whigham & James Badge Dale
DirectorRobert Redford
Certificate12 years and over
Year2010
LanguagesEnglish
Duration1 hour and 57 minutes (approx)
RegionRegion 2 - Will only play on European Region 2 or multi-region DVD players.