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The Andersonville Trial (1970)

A dramatization of the 1865 war-crimes trial of Henry Wirz, commandant of the notorious Confederate POW camp at Andersonville, Georgia.

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Won 3 Primetime Emmys. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
General Wallace
...
Col. Chipman
...
Otis Baker
Wright King ...
Major Hosmer
...
Louis Schade
...
Captain Williams
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Henry Wirz
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Doctor Ford
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Col. Chandler
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Dr. John Bates
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Ambrose Spencer
Lou Frizzell ...
Jasper Culver
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James Davidson
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James Gray
...
First Guard (as Dallas McKennon)
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Storyline

Lt. Col. N.P Chipman is the Army prosecutor, Otis Baker the defense attorney and Gen. Lew Wallace the judge in the trial of Henry Wirz, the Confederate officer who ran a prisoner of war camp in Andersonville, which saw 14,000 Union prisoners die from cruel neglect. Witnesses include Lt. Col. Chandler, who was assigned to inspect the Andersonville prison; Dr. John C. Bates, the physician at the camp horrified by his experience; Ambrose Spencer, a plantation owner who can testify that food offered to the camp by nearby residents was refused; James Davidson, a haunted 19-year-old prisoner who claims a fellow was torn apart by dogs; Jasper Culver, another prisoner who has a story about a man named Chickamauga; Sgt. James Gray, who testifies that Wirtz killed a man with his own hands; and Dr. Ford, the one witness for the defense. Written by J. Spurlin

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Drama

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Release Date:

17 May 1970 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

All of the witnesses as portrayed in the film are the actual witnesses who testified at Wirz's trial, and their dialogue in many cases is taken almost verbatim from the trial transcript. The major change from history is that Wirz did not testify and the whole "moral issue", around which this film revolves, was never raised at the trial. See more »

Goofs

(at around 1 min) Boom mic bounces around quickly in the frame when the defendant starts losing his disposition in front of the court witnesses. See more »

Connections

Version of Der Andersonville-Prozess (1972) See more »

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User Reviews

a great, great film
15 April 2002 | by (Germany) – See all my reviews

I only wish they would put this film out on video because it is one that truly deserves to be called a classic. Forget The Caine Mutiny and A Few Good Men. This is the best and most riveting courtroom thriller ever made. I always thought of William Shatner as a blowhard who couldn't act his way out of a paper bag, but here maybe for the only time, he gives an excellent performance as the prosecutor with a heart determined to bring this man to justice. Andersonville really was a hell on earth and the descriptions of it they give here will give you chills. The best scene is the one where Shatner cross examines Richard Basehart and keeps asking him why he didn't disobey orders if it could have saved so many innocent lives. What gets me is that Basehart's character (Captain Wirz) keeps insisting that he was only obeying orders. This is the same excuse that the Nazis and the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials used. You keep wondering if this man really has no soul. George C. Scott played the prosecutor in the Broadway version and does a wonderful job of directing it. This was made at about the same time that he made Patton I believe. This is a great film with a first rate cast. I only wish it could be seen more often.


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