Shaw was an officer in the Federal Army during the American Civil War who volunteered to lead the first company of black soldiers. Shaw was forced to deal with the prejudices of both the enemy (who had orders to kill commanding officers of blacks), and of his own fellow officers. Written by
Murray Chapman <email@example.com>
The film depicts the 54th Masachusetts Infantry Regiment training through the Christmas holidays of 1862 (after the September 1862 Battle of Antietam), but the real 54th Massachusetts did not organize until March 1863, just four months before attacking Fort Wagner in the climactic scene. See more »
Robert Gould Shaw, the son of wealthy Boston abolitionists, was 23 years old when he enlisted to fight in the War Between the States. He wrote home regularly, telling his parents of life in the gathering Army of the Potomac. / These letters are collected in the Houghton Library of Harvard University.
Colonel Robert G. Shaw:
Dear Mother, I hope you are keeping well and not worrying much about me. You mustn't think that any of us are going to be killed. They are collecting such a force here, that an attack ...
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With one of the best ensemble casts of all time, this ranks as one of the best war films of all time. With a collection of great black actors like no other, everything seemed to work well in this film, from the cinematography to the acting. Edward Zwick created a masterpiece, which, in any other year, would have swept most of the major awards. Sadly, this did not even make the AFI Top 100 so inferior movies could squeeze in. In my opinion, the likes of Born on the Fourth of July and Driving Miss Daisy were vastly inferior to this film during the 1990 Academy Awards. I mean, how the heck were films like Dead Poets Society and My Left Foot nominated for best picture when this one wasn't? (sure they were good films, but c'mon)
Matthew Broderick completely surprised me with his performance, as well as Cary Elwes. And one cannot forget the likes of Denzel Washington, and Morgan Freeman giving great performances as soldiers weary of being the Union's lackeys. While the historical accuracy may not be perfect, as least this was a tribute to those who helped emancipate the slaves during the Civil War.
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