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"The Blue and the Gray"
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Reviews & Ratings for
"The Blue and the Gray" More at IMDbPro »

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27 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

An epic TV mini worth remembering

Author: Snatchy from Seatown, WA
23 April 1999

I first saw this mini-series while in 5th grade history class as part of our studies on the Civil War, and I thought it was excellent. Many years later, I watched it again after finding a copy of the unabridged version (all 6+ hours of it!). I wasn't sure how it would stand the test of time (both as a 16 year old production and my own view of it, being 16 years older now) and braced myself for disappointment; however, I was very pleasantly surprised. The movie is as well done as I remembered it.

It's an engrossing movie that gives an honest, frank look at the inherent moral ambiguity of war, as well as the additional consequences of the Civil War, where "brother fought brother". Although the movie certainly takes dramatic license (the main character, a young Southerner who relocates to the north after becoming disillusioned with the cruel treatment of slaves, ends up stumbling across his staunchly pro-Confederate siblings as if they're all wandering around in the same town instead of an entire country!), you can see that the film makers took great pains to portray as many perspectives as possible, to show that each and every person involved in the war was human, with their own thoughts and feelings. I'm certainly no Civil War expert, but I thought it was a very balanced portrait. What's more amazing is that the mini rarely drags despite sometimes taking a leisurely pace during its 6 hour run-time. Although we all know how the movie with ultimately end, it keeps you interested in the lives of all the characters it introduces. I thought Stacy Keach did a particularly good job despite a few hammy lines. This mini-series should definitely be on any must-see list of war films.

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22 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

completely captivating

Author: (oddchick104) from SA, TX
21 March 2004

This is such a good movie mainly due to the lack of bias and multiple story lines which keep you hooked throughout the extensive length of the film. I thought that the film was, although of course not the greastest of civil war films, it definitely desearves nothing but good reviews. I saw this movie when i was visiting Utah with family and i had to live in a trailer with my brother and his friend for a few days and all we had was a DVD player and a few movies and some paper and pens. So when we finally decided to watch what seemed like a boring war movie...we never wanted to leave the trailer. Even when invited to go horse-back riding by some neighborhood girls whom my brother had been eyeing. the movie was completely captivating. Everyone should definitely see The Blue and the Gray at LEAST once.

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18 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Focus on family, not the war.

Author: Frederick H. Kerr from Tucson, Arizona
5 August 2004

`The Blue and The Gray' is not a story about the Civil War. It is a long drama about a family set at the time of that war. Running more than six hours, it is indeed long. Yet, anyone interested in human relationships will find that the time is well spent and that no dead points exist. The snippets of the Civil War form a focus for the story and explain some of the relationship issues. They also remind the viewer what a truly difficult time it was for families and for our nation.

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15 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

A good if somewhat uneven miniseries

Author: antelope-3
15 November 2000

This miniseries shows the war primarily through the eyes of a Virginian who wants to witness history but cannot commit to either side of the conflict. His new-found profession of journalism allows him to participate as a neutral observer. He is surrounded by relatives and friends on both sides, and the miniseries shows events through their eyes as well.

The human side of the war is stressed, and it excellently portrays the toll the conflict took on families.

Many of the subplots are taken from Civil War historian Bruce Catton's final work, "Reflections On The Civil War." However, none of the people in the book, including the real John Geyser, appear in the miniseries. Rather, observations made in the book are woven around the main storyline as supplementary material.

Most of the military aspects of the miniseries are laughable and bear little resemblance to reality. Due to the miniseries being done on a miniseries budget we see none of the grand scale evident in "Gettysburg" or "Glory."

Stacy Keach gives a terrific performance as Jonas Steele, the Federal special operations agent. We see from his performance a little of the decentralized, more personalized ways in which intelligence gathering and other non-standard military operations were conducted in the nineteenth century.

The miniseries ran for over six hours on CBS in 1982, but well over an hour was cut for the two-cassette video release. Get the whole treatment if you can.

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12 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

excellent portrayal of the horrors of war

Author: helpless_dancer from Broken Bow, Oklahoma
12 March 1999

This was a very good film about the Civil War. It showed the mindset of people living in the south during that era; how they were swayed into entering a futile and dangerous undertaking. The agony of war was shown at its worst, depicting the loss of the combatants as well as bystanders. Any war is horrible, but the war between the states is more so because of its utter uselessness. The waste of life and material should never have been allowed to happen. I recommend this movie; the action sequences are dramatic and well done, however, I felt some of the scenes seemed a bit underpopulated.

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14 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Believable characters in the best Civil War movie ever.

Author: clperry from midwest
4 September 2001

I first saw this film when it was televised in 1982. My family taped it at that time and it remains one of our favorite films. Even with its' six-hour length, it flows well and I never find myself becoming bored while watching. The best aspect of the movie is the characters, who seem real to us. It shows how families, North and South, were affected in a profound way by the Civil War. Every time we watch The Blue and the Gray, it is easy to develop feelings for the characters, who could almost be members of our own family. It is this humanistic feature rather than dwelling on the intricacies of the battles themselves which makes this film great viewing, even for those who aren't "into" war movies.

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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Dramatic romp through the Civil War years

Author: cooncat from Ohio - U.S.A.
13 January 2008

As others have mentioned, this is a series of recollections of events which may (or may not) have occurred during the American Civil War. It is related from the point of view of a 'neutral' war correspondent, who's talent is for drawing sketches of what he has seen on various battle fields, from Bull Run to Appomattox Ct. House. There is considerable 'time jumping' from one period of the war, to another, which inhibits continuity to some extent. For me the best part of the mini-series was watching Gregory Peck (as Abraham Lincoln) deliver the Gettysburg address. However, we are thrown into that scene without adequate preamble, so even this is diminished from what it could have been.

I am quite an avid amateur Civil War historian, having read many books and watched many TV series (including the excellent PBS series by Ken Burns, and the complete 3 volume set of books on the Civil War by historian Shelby Foote) on the subject. If you are looking for historical accuracy you will be disappointed. If you, on the other hand, are simply looking for a decent dramatization (ala "Gone With the Wind), you will enjoy this series.

The acting by the cast was, in general, C+, with the exception of a few of the notables (Gregory Peck, for one). As my summary states, this is a dramatic romp, so if you keep that in mind and set your sites correspondingly on the low side, you will not be disappointed.

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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

I enjoyed the Film

Author: mrc9767 from New York
24 July 2003

I did not see this movie when it was shown as a mini-series.I happened to like this movie because it gave a simple portrayal of what it might have been like to be a family during this period and having to face the problem of a family that was divided in its loyalties . I thought the makers of this movie followed the history of the period and gave a good presentation of the issues that the people had to deal with at the time. Of course it cannot compare to the recent Civil War Movies or even the Ken Burns series . Given the time that it was made I think it was a good portrayal of the period.

My only fault with the movie was the fact that it seemed to put the fall of Vicksburg after the Gettysburg Address. I did not understand how this was allowed to happen given the fact that it seemed to be based on Bruce Catton's work. Can anyone explain this?

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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

not the best civil war movie--but not the worst either

Author: TexasRedge from Kingsport, Tennessee
4 May 2002

I remember my high school history teacher making us watch this in class my freshmen year of high that time in my life I could've cared less about seeing this film. many - many years later I watched this again. and I liked it, in fact I cannot remeber why I was unable to get interested in this film the first time I seen it(I was probably too young to enjoy a long drama back then).but although I have seen some civil war movies that blow this one away. it is very much worth watching.---its funny to see this film now because this films cast looks like an episode of "where are they now?" this music score is fair , the costumes are good(same as any other civil war movie)...but Ouch, but I kept noticing that all the actors have early 1980's post disco era hair styles rather than 1860's hair styles and the hair styles cause this film to look dated. I found it interesting that the 4 brother this film is about are named after the 1st 4 books in the new testiment of the bible(Mathew,Mark,Luke and John -I failed to notice that the 1st time i seen this film)This is not the best Civil War Movie(that honor goes to "Gettysburg"), but its not the worst civil war movie either(that honor/shame goes to "The Rose and the Jackail")I give this film 3 out of 5 stars.. see this film at least once,and if you give it a chance it will entertain you

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Brother Against Brother

Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
24 April 2010

Back in the early Sixties there was a short lived television series called The Americans about two brothers who after their father was killed decided to fight on opposite sides in the Civil War. The whole business about brother against brother was no exaggeration. Right up to the very top with Mary Todd Lincoln having relatives who fought for the Confederacy, families were torn apart. The Blue And The Gray brings that aspect of the Civil War better than any other film made for the big or small screen since The Americans.

The families are the Geysers and the Hales related by the mothers, Diane Baker and Colleen Dewhurst being sisters. The Hales are from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and the Geysers from what would now be West Virginia in and around Harper's Ferry and that's not even 100 miles distance. But the families are true to the sectional divide.

With the exception of John Geyser played by John Hammond who has made a black friend, a free man played by Paul Winfield who gets lynched for helping runaway slaves. He won't fight for a section that espouses slavery as a cause, but won't enlist in the Northern Armies either. A passing acquaintance played by Stacy Keach who gets himself involved in a lot of the major events of the war and married into the Hale family with Julia Duffy persuades Hammond to become a war correspondent and put his artistic talents to good use. Hammond becomes a pictorial chronicler of the seminal event of his generation.

Without ever losing control of the main story lines, what happens to the various Geyser and Hale family members, The Blue And The Gray captures the sweep and pageantry of the Civil War. Such real characters as Abraham Lincoln played by Gregory Peck and John Brown played by Sterling Hayden in what was his farewell performance do take a life of their own. With Peck we see a public and a private Lincoln which is true to the Lincoln mythology and yet quite a human character.

If I had to single out one performance that was especially touching it would be that of David W. Harper as one of the Hale brothers. The young man was eager to be the first to enlist in his town of Gettysburg, but he never made it to the battle that town became famous for. A not well covered portion of the war was the lack of sanitary facilities in army camps. Young Harper falls victim to dysentery and his performance will move you.

A few years later North and South covered a lot of the same ground that this particular mini-series did and it was as well done as The Blue And The Gray. I would recommend them both highly especially for young audiences to gain a real understanding of what the Civil War meant to the average individual/

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