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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
...
Henry Wirz
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Doctor Ford
Harry Townes ...
Col. Chandler
...
Dr. John Bates
...
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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Drama

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Release Date:

17 May 1970 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs

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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

The two provost guards on duty during the trial are seen slouching, lounging about and generally taking the whole thing rather casually. It's not likely that the president of the court would allow that. See more »

Connections

Version of Der Andersonville-Prozess (1972) 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.


4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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A great movie, and a great performance by Shatner TheKurgan65
Regarding the morality argument- controlclerk
Who said Shatner isn't a great actor? matt359
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