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Sherman's March (1985)

Ross McElwee sets out to make a documentary about the lingering effects of General Sherman's march of destruction through the South during the Civil War, but is continually sidetracked by ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ross McElwee ...
Himself
Dede McElwee ...
Herself
Ross McElwee Jr. ...
Himself
Patricia Rendleman ...
Herself
Ann McElwee ...
Herself
Mary ...
Herself
Lee ...
Herself - Pat's Friend
Tom McElwee ...
Himself
Claudia ...
Herself
Ashley ...
Herself - Claudia's Daughter
Phillip ...
Himself - Mechanic's Son
Herb ...
Himself - Survivalist
Bill ...
Himself - Survivalist
Wini Wood ...
Herself
Michael ...
Himself - Geologist
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Storyline

Ross McElwee sets out to make a documentary about the lingering effects of General Sherman's march of destruction through the South during the Civil War, but is continually sidetracked by women who come and go in his life, his recurring dreams of nuclear holocaust, and Burt Reynolds. Written by Brett Coon <brett@rahul.net>

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Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

4 February 1988 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Sherman's March: A Meditation on the Possibility of Romantic Love in the South During an Era of Nuclear Weapons Proliferation  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Historical Narration: In 1864, during the American Civil War, Union General William T. Sherman began his famous March to the Sea. With an army of 60,000 men, he swept into the South destroying Atlanta, Georgia; Columbia, South Carolina; and dozens of small towns. His troops plundered homes, destroyed livestock, burned buildings and left a path of destruction 60 miles wide and 700 miles long, before finally forcing a Confederate surrender in North Carolina. Sherman's campaign marked the first time in ...
[...]
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Soundtracks

Symphony No. 9
(uncredited)
Composed by Ludwig van Beethoven
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User Reviews

 
Eccentric women in a pretty eccentric movie
5 June 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Ross McElwee, a native Southerner, started off wanting to make a straightforward documentary film about General Sherman's march, but then his girlfriend broke up with him. The result is an idiosyncratic and personal documentary, as McElwee tries to film his Sherman movie but can only obsess about the various women he meets along the way, and his own personal failings.

"Sherman's March" is funny because of its many characters and lines of dialogue that are so crazy, you'd never believe them if they were in a fiction film. Best of all is Charleen, McElwee's former teacher, who is convinced that Ross just needs to sweep a girl off her feet--even if he's never met her before. And nearly all of the young women McElwee meets come across as kooky--two of them believe that the Apocalypse is imminent and another considers herself a "female prophet." Many of them are attached to men who also seem weird or distant. A feminist lawyer, whom McElwee considers the lost love of his life, wishes she could love him, but is instead obsessed with a guy who collects giant plastic animals. Like I said: you can't make this stuff up.

The Sherman theme crops up now and then, but McElwee could have done more with it. At one point he discusses the strength and courage displayed by the women of Atlanta when Sherman destroyed their city, then cuts to some footage of two self-absorbed actresses--you can't help thinking that Southern women have diminished in quality over the last 100 years. But he never picks up this thread again.

"Sherman's March" is a rambling movie, and at over 2.5 hours, way too long. And though McElwee's deadpan observations, delivered in voice-over, are frequently amusing, he is also a masochist, which diminishes our sympathy for him. He spends time on a near-deserted island, where he is tortured by mosquitoes, ticks, and the knowledge that the only two other people on the island are an attractive female linguist and her boyfriend. Later, he breaks things off with a hot musician (one of the few women who doesn't seem like a kook) in order to agonize over the aforementioned lawyer. Moments like these just make you frustrated with the filmmaker and his quest, not approving of it.


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