An unflinching, harrowing drama based on the memoir of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free New York family man abducted and sold into slavery in the pre-Civil War American South.

British director Steve McQueen’s powerful film is often difficult to watch but, ultimately, it’s a tale of resilience and survival, which Ejiofor’s terrific acting – embodying Solomon’s dignity and intelligence as well as his suffering – makes emphatically clear.

Also making their mark are Benedict Cumberbatch and Brad Pitt as the more kind-hearted faces of his incarceration, Michael Fassbender and Paul Dano as the cruel sides of the story and Lupita Nyong’o as a tormented slave. The film was nominated for nine Oscars, winning three.