Oprah Winfrey believed so fully in this big screen adaptation of Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer prize-winning novel that she cast herself as its heroine, Sethe, a former slave living in Ohio who is quite literally haunted by a harrowing decision she made before the Civil War, when she was still a slave. Director Jonathan Demme embraced the mythical, time-jumping undercurrents of Morrison’s prose, how the wicked specter of slavery tormented the women and men who lived through it. That left the film not as accessible to a wide audience, which ultimately dampened its box office and led to a feeling that the film was a failure. (Its only Oscar nomination was for its costumes.) But the film also remains one of the only major motion pictures that strives to reproduce the experience of slavery from the point of view of the slaves themselves.