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


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 <>

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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?


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


[last lines]
Ross McElwee: [voiceover] After the concert I thought things over, and then somewhat cautiously asked her if she'd like to see a movie with me on the following weekend.
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Symphony No. 9
Composed by Ludwig van Beethoven
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User Reviews

An Ode to Southern Womanhood
9 June 2006 | by (The Dutch Mountains) – See all my reviews

The "alternative" title Ross McElwee initially came up with captures the mood of the film very well as it was called:

"Sherman's March: A Meditation to the Possibility of Romantic Love in the South during an Era of Nuclear Weapons Proliferation".

Originally McElwee set out to make a documentary following the route General Sherman took during the Civil War and investigate the impact he had on the lives of people past and present who live there, but somehow he ended up marking the lives of past girlfriends and practically every other woman he meets on his journey, interwoven with occasional bits of history.

The film is quite funny in it's own way as well. Charleen, a former schoolteacher of him (if I remember correctly) contributes to some of the funniest moments. She continuously introduces Ross to girls from her seemingly inexhaustible stable of eligible women. One of them even is - without Charleen knowing it - a Mormon! And there's a hilarious subplot involving Burt Reynolds, who increasingly becomes McElwee's nemesis.

Wisely, he trimmed the original title a bit, which he perhaps could have done with the movie itself, which is a bit long, 155 minutes, but it doesn't matter much, especially when watching it at home. At times it can get slow but you just have to settle with his own pace, rhythm and his unique cinematographic style and you will be rewarded. The conversations, the nuclear threat, the clothes and hairdos, it also makes a wonderful time capsule of the 80's. Combined with the occasional touch of history and the wonderful voice-over narration of Ross McElwee, this is a truly inspiring journey of almost epic proportions. Highly recommended.

Camera Obscura --- 9/10

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