The movie, which opens in the United States Friday, is already earning Oscar buzz after well-received festival screenings. It is based on the true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man from New York kidnapped and sold into slavery in the 19th century American South, and the harrowing obstacles he overcomes to get home. Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Solomon, while Pitt plays a pivotal supporting role in the film and helped produce the movie.
"It's why I got into film in the first place," Pitt told NBC's "Today" show in an interview to air Wednesday, promoting "12 Years a Slave." "It's one of those few films that cuts to the base of our humanity."
Asked if he would like to share the film with his own children, who range in age from 5 to 12, Pitt replied: "Oh, absolutely. Yeah, absolutely.
"Maybe my eldest I would, right now," he said. "I'd rather for the others to get a little bit older and understand the dynamics of the world a little more."