Solomon Northup is an educated musician living a good life in pre-Civil War New York with his wife and two children. After a drunken sortie with two white men, Solomon wakes to find himself manacled to the floor of a dungeon; pleas of mistaken identity fall on deaf ears and, beaten into submission, Solomon is shipped to Louisiana where he is sold into slavery to first the liberal Ford and then the maniacal Epps. A deserved Oscar winner, this harrowing real-life tale is a tough, but superb watch.