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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
...
Dr. John Bates
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Ambrose Spencer
Lou Frizzell ...
Jasper Culver
...
James Davidson
...
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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Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

17 May 1970 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Richard Basehart portrayed Henry Wirz with a relatively light Germanic accent, while in real life, and at the actual trial, Wirz was known to have a heavy, or thick, Germanic accent. This was done to make the character's dialogue clear and intelligible for television audiences. See more »

Goofs

Early on, a captain played by Martin Sheen comes into the court to tell Gen. Wallace that the defendant tried to hurt himself. The crossed sabers insignia of the cavalry on Sheen's cap is upside down. See more »

Connections

Version of Het proces van Andersonville (1962) See more »

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User Reviews

The quintessential military courtroom drama
3 February 2004 | by (Houston, Texas) – See all my reviews

As with many of you, it has been over thirty years since I have seen this on PBS. It stirred me then so much, I watched it again in close rerun cycle. I have often wished it was available on video, but never saw it, though it recently showed up at the head of someone's snarky list of Civil War themed movies. That got me thinking and sent me here, where I noticed many were still bemoaning the lack of a video. Well, Amazon.com lists it as having been released on video in 1991. Yay! That source does indicate both "out of stock" and "15 new or used copies available." You may have to actually place an order to find out which is true. Anyway, be of good cheer, comrades. It's out there somewhere!

I agree with all the positive comments, including those rating Shatner's performance as the prosecuting judge advocate. That he was directed by the man who debuted the role on Broadway was a sweet good fortune. I'd read an article in Playboy about George C. Scott around that same time, in which the author described being on the set with Scott coaching Shatner through a particularly dramatic scene, crouched down and gesturing with him, and both described as "baby bulls." I would love to have been a fly on the wall during some of the rehearsals and script sessions! Helluva show.


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