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Ironclads (1991)

Unrated | | War | TV Movie 11 March 1991
A naval battle between two large ships: the "Monitor" and the "Merrimack".



(story), (teleplay)
Nominated for 4 Primetime Emmys. See more awards »


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.
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  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs



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Did You Know?


The Monitor and the Merrimack were recreated in models one third of their actual size, and the battle scenes between them were filmed in the big tank at Pinewood Studios, England. See more »


Engineer Ramsey of the Merrimack makes a number of comments about having problems getting power due to the smokestack being damaged, yet in subsequent pictures the Merrimack's stack shows no damage. 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...
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User Reviews

Nominated for four emmys, and won none, and here's why...
5 July 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This mediocre claptrap about the great battle of the ironclads was nominated by the politically correct Emmy Awards committee because it was a 1990 politically correct way of presenting the greatest naval battle of the civil war, completely sanitized and with abundant civility. The whole dramatic story wrapped around the events of the great battle was so much hokum and corn, it was hard to wade through to get to the well-done battle sequences. One example of this, just one of many, is the degrading of a slave, only verbally mind you, in front of a Yankee spy masquerading as a Southern sympathizer. The slave was called whatever a TV censor would allow to pass muster, so the kids could watch, and then we see the Yankee spy clench his teeth and hold in his indignation. Later he confesses that he never witnessed such abuse. Yeah, right, like nobody in the North ever said anything but a kind word to blacks at that time. One can only imagine how such a scene would have been handled in a film like, say, Cold Mountain, where the slave would have gotten a terrible beating, and the evils of slavery and bigotry would have been roundly exposed, rather than whitewashed, no pun intended. It didn't win any Emmy awards because it didn't even deserve the nominations. But the scenes around the building of the ships and the battle were very good overall, except for the portrayal of Lincoln as a simpleton of sorts. I lay the fault of that to the actor, for the same lines said by someone of stature and strength would show strength of conviction.

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