Historical drama about the story behind the song. In 1748, at the height of the slave trading era, British slave trader John Newton (Nick Moran) sets sail for the coast of Nigeria. The peaceful and joyful life in a dusty African village there is rudely interrupted by Newton and his henchmen, the residents rounded up by brute force and trickery, their village razed. Newton fills his ship and makes good his exit but shortly after setting sail, a violent storm imperils his ship and all aboard - bringing him close to death in the process. His release from a possibly deadly accident by two slaves and the weight of this near-death experience forces him to re-evaluate his life, his profession and his country. Back home, he devotes his life to the pursuit of religion and eventually writes the titular song with English lyrics set to the melody of a song he's heard the Nigerian slaves sing many times.