A naval battle between two large ships: the "Monitor" and the "Merrimack".



(story), (teleplay)
Nominated for 4 Primetime Emmys. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Betty Stuart
Catesby Jones
Leslie Harmon (as Reed Edward Diamond)
Lt. Guilford
Commdr. Smith
Leon B. Stevens ...
Capt. Franklin Buchanan
Lt. Joe Smith Jr.
Joanne Dorian ...
Beatrice Bush ...
Conrad McLaren ...
Burt Edwards ...
James Getty ...
Phil Whiteway ...
Cmdr. Davis
Carl Jackson ...


A naval battle between two large ships: the "Monitor" and the "Merrimack".

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

ship | american civil war | See All (2) »




Unrated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

11 March 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A ferro e fuoco  »

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Did You Know?


If you watch carefully during the opening credits, you will see a horse fall and the ride strike his head on the ground. That was not an effect but rather a real event where the rider suffered a head laceration and required transportation to a local hospital. There were multiple cameras used for that shot and they continued to roll for about 20 seconds to capture the explosion effects before medics were clear to assess and treat the rider. See more »


The U.S. sloop Cumberland is shown being destroyed by gunfire. In the actual battle it was sunk by ramming. See more »


Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy: [after viewing the 'Monitor' concept] Well, gentlemen? Yes or no?
Commdr. Smith: We have information from Gosport that the 'Merrimack' will be ready to come out of the drydock in less than five months. No one can start from scratch and build us an ironclad in that short a time except Ericsson. He's promised to deliver us one within ninety days. On that basis, I say yes.
Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy: Commodore?
Union Officer: I agree with Commodore Smith.
Cmdr. Davis: I say take the thing home and worship it! It resembles nothing on the earth, or in the seas or in the...
See more »

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User Reviews

Great period piece, Good special effects. Virginia Madsen is elegant in period costume.
29 September 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

What can you say about a made-for-TV Civil War epic from Ted Turner's TNT Network ??? Well, considering that the money went into the great ships pictured in the battle, you aren't going to expect much of a story, beyond the basics.

Of course, you do get a good cast of veterans (E.G. Marshall and Fritz Weaver in key roles), as well as some new faces (Reed Diamond)

And it certainly doesn't hurt to have Virginia Madsen wearing a 'bussle', and for once, keeping it and the rest of her clothes on !!!


Whether this movie sinks or not, it is quite an accomplishment for her to play the role of the Southern belle with style and dignity, and still makes a play for two handsome swains from BOTH sides, without even revealing her petticoat !!!

Of course she has to play the field, being a Union spy, and sometimes work gets in the way of a little romance, especially when she must shelter a Union sailor who is posing as a deserter, in order to transmit vital secrets about the Confederacy's new 'super weapon'.

As a result, she almost gets her pretty little neck stretched for her near the end, as well as losing both of her romantic interests.

Unfortunately, there aren't much fireworks beyond the big battle scene between the Monitor and the Merrimack (or Virginia), due to the need to be 'politically-correct' about certain subjects.

But from what we have here, we learn something about a crucial event in American history, as well as being a harmless way to waste a Sunday afternoon, or whenever.

5 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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