23 thoughts on “The Sunday Question (part one)

  1. JMRudy March 20, 2011 / 6:27 am

    Glory. Hands down.

    It successfully encapsulates the meaning and experience of the war in a consumable and engaging fashion. It’s not so focused on historical accuracy and stitch counting that it becomes downright boring. (*cough* Gods & Generals *cough*)

  2. Andy Hall March 20, 2011 / 8:01 am

    Gods and Generals is the JFK of Civil War movies, but it’s beautiful to look at. The First Manassas sequence captures the gung-ho amateurness of both sides pretty well. Otherwise, the movie’s a real Lost Causgasm, hitting just about every moonlight-and-magnolias trope. I need to double-check, but I think it may have taken Stonewall Jackson longer to cark onscreen than it did in real life.

    I still like Glory,, though, despite its small inaccuracies and its fairly heavy-handed approach. These things generally go with a big-name, popular productions, and you could do much, much worse when it comes to introducing the general public to some of the issues in the war.

    I do see the movie differently now, though, than I did when it first came out. I’ve really come to appreciate the dialogue in the scene between Col. Shaw and Trip, the angry, rebellious former slave played by Denzel Washington:

    Trip: I ain’t fightin’ this war for you, sir.

    Shaw: I see.

    Trip: I mean, what’s the point? Ain’t nobody gonna win. It’s just gonna go on and on.

    Shaw: Can’t go on forever.

    Trip: Yeah, but ain’t nobody gonna win, sir.

    Shaw: Somebody’s gonna win.

    Trip: Who? I mean, you get to go on back to Boston, big house and all that. What about us? What do we get?

    Shaw: Well, you won’t get anything if we lose.


    Shaw: So what do you want to do?

    Trip: Don’t know, sir.

    Shaw: It stinks, I suppose.

    Trip: Yeah, It stinks bad. And we all covered up in it too. Ain’t nobody clean. Be nice to get clean, though.

    Shaw: How do we do that?

    Trip: We ante up and kick in, sir. But I still don’t want to carry your flag.

    I think one could build a full classroom discussion around that one, short scene.

    • Charles Lovejoy March 21, 2011 / 2:37 pm

      Ive been labeled as a southern romantic, so I like Gods and Generals.

  3. Chuck Brown March 20, 2011 / 9:32 am

    I would choose GLORY. It has powerful performances and a fine, if not always accurate, script.

  4. Bob Huddleston March 20, 2011 / 9:48 am

    Glory for the script, as well as bringing USCTs to the front (and possibly leading the USV to invent BCs).

    As the 1951 “Red Badge of Courage,” starring Audie Murphy and Bill Mauldin.

  5. Anna Bishop March 20, 2011 / 9:56 am

    My favorite is Gods and Generals for sure. I like it because it shows on a more personal level the lives and personalities of some of the more famous characters from the Civil War.

  6. Matt McKeon March 20, 2011 / 11:00 am

    Glory is my favorite. It’s probably the best CW movie made, yet anyway.

    Ride With the Devil is very good as well. I love the attempt to have the characters speak as 19th century people would have.

  7. Matt McKeon March 20, 2011 / 11:02 am

    I like Gettysburg a lot, but that’s the Civil War nerd in me. It’s about four hours too long and marred with bizarrely amateur performances.

  8. Mark March 20, 2011 / 11:28 am

    My favorite is Shenandoah, with Jimmy Stewart.

    Nothing shows the absurdity and massive denial by most of the US, quite like this movie. It’s real focus is to absolve everyone of blame — no one was a bad guy in this film, except deserters.

    This 1965 movie was heralded as “true history.” The studio sent thousands of “study guides” to high schools, with wall posters, claiming “In learning history, nothing beats a good Hollywood film” (quoted from The Reel Civil War: Mythmaking in American Film By Bruce Chadwick)

    Jimmy Stewart played Charlie Anderson, a man who hated slavery but was caught up in the Civil War. The movie seemed to literally take turns, showing bad guys on both sides, then good guys on both sides. More politically correct you can not get. Eventually Northern deserters did some dastardly deeds, but there were bad Southerners too – deserters of course.

    Not one word about the insane Southern demands to spread slavery, not one child being sold, not one burning to death of men who fought back against slavery, not one clip of women being tortured, of dogs ripping apart the flesh of those who would flee.

    Not one insane sermon on God’s will to spread slavery, not one mention of the Southern leaders consistent history of violence and terror to spread slavery. Not even a hint at the violent suppression of free speech and free religion.

    But then — what US movie has ever dared “go there”?

    • Lyle Smith March 20, 2011 / 7:23 pm

      I like this movie as well.

  9. Paul Taylor March 20, 2011 / 1:42 pm

    Though not quite a straight out Civil War movie, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly has always been one of my all-time favorite westerns with the Civil War in New Mexico as its backdrop. Even though the big battle scene is fictional, the film’s mention of characters such as General Sibley and others seems to be historically accurate.

  10. Lyle Smith March 20, 2011 / 7:25 pm

    I have to vote Glory. Probably the first film that presented the Civil War with some accuracy as far as set design and cinematography.

  11. Steve Basic March 20, 2011 / 7:40 pm

    For sentimental reasons, “The Horse Soldiers”. Know it is very inaccurate historically, but was the first CW movie I saw when I was a kid, and got me interested in studying the CW.

    Loved “Ride With The Devil”. Filmed on the ground where the story takes place and showed a side of the CW that most folks did not know about.

  12. Vince S. March 20, 2011 / 8:00 pm

    Favorite Civil War movie (strictly-defined): Gettysburg, as you can’t beat the drama and passion.

  13. Vince S. March 20, 2011 / 8:03 pm

    Favorite Civil War movie (loosely defined): BBC’s “North and South”. An adaptation of an Elizabeth Gaskell novel set in England during or just before the American Civil War, and dealing with many of the same fascinating issues of mid-nineteenth century industrialization faced by the American North and South. A very high quality film.

  14. James F. Epperson March 21, 2011 / 4:37 am

    “Glory,” for reasons already mentioned. I also like “Horse Soldiers,” for all its flaws.

  15. David Corbett March 21, 2011 / 5:45 am

    “Birth of a Nation,” and Huston’s “Red Badge of Courage.” Both iconic, and superb examples of film-making.

  16. Chris Woodson March 21, 2011 / 10:47 am

    I think Glory is an amazing movie…from both a talent and historical standpoint. I also really like Cold Mountain, although I may be in the minority…kind of a different, albeit fictional take on things

  17. Steve Witmer March 21, 2011 / 8:05 pm

    I guess I’m with the majority here in saying Glory.

  18. John Buchanan March 22, 2011 / 10:40 am

    Ride With The Devil and Horse Soldiers

    How come no one said Ironclads?

  19. Michael Aubrecht March 23, 2011 / 6:53 am

    I’m surprised no one said Gettysburg. That resonated with me at the time more than any other flic has.

  20. Grendel March 30, 2011 / 4:45 pm

    Ride With the Devil.

  21. Grendel March 30, 2011 / 4:48 pm

    Also a film about the Confederate Choctaw soldiers and the poison spring massacre would be interesting..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s