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Gettysburg (1993)

PG  |   |  Drama, History, War  |  8 October 1993 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 21,169 users  
Reviews: 255 user | 22 critic

In 1863, the Northern and Southern forces fight at Gettysburg in the decisive battle of the American Civil War.


(as Ronald F. Maxwell)


(novel), (screenplay) (as Ronald F. Maxwell)
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Title: Gettysburg (1993)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Maj. Gen. Isaac R. Trimble / Narrator (as Morgan Sheppard)
Maj. G. Moxley Sorrel
Col. E. Porter Alexander (as Patrick Stuart)
Tim Ruddy ...
Ivan Kane ...


The four and 1/4 hour depiction of the historical and personal events surrounding and including the decisive American civil war battle features thousands of civil war re-enactors marching over the exact ground that the federal army and the army of North Virginia fought on. The defense of the Little Round Top and Pickett's Charge are highlighted in the actual three day battle which is surrounded by the speeches of the commanding officers and the personal reflections of the fighting men. Based upon the novel 'The Killer Angels'. Written by Keith Loh <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Fate made them soldiers. Courage made them heroes. See more »


Drama | History | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for language and epic battle scenes | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

8 October 1993 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Killer Angels  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$25,000,000 (estimated)


$10,769,960 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Except for the professional actors, this movie featured over 13,000 volunteer Civil War re-enactors who paid their own way, provided their own props and uniforms and fought the battles presented on screen using the same tactics as were current at the time. The re-enactors were in Gettysburg for the 125th anniversary of the battle during July 1-3, 1988. Most of the battle footage was filmed for the CNN news coverage of the re-enactment. The footage not used in the news story was used for the movie. See more »


In the scene in which Longstreet arrives at Lee's headquarters on the afternoon of the first day, shadows from the stage lights can be seen on the wall of the farmhouse, cast by a light source off camera to the left. The position of the sun is to the right of the scene, however, and natural shadows can be seen, cast right to left. See more »


Maj. Gen. John F. Reynolds: [Has just arrived to reinforce Buford, surveying battlefield] Lovely ground.
Gen. Buford: I thought so, Sir.
Maj. Gen. John F. Reynolds: Now, let's go surprise Harry Heth.
See more »


Rock of Ages
Lyrics by Augustus Montague Toplady and music by Thomas Hastings
Played outside the Confederate headquarters
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Long, but Powerful Epic, Filmed on Location...
14 March 2004 | by (Las Vegas, Nevada) – See all my reviews

GETTYSBURG, based on Michael Shaara's bestseller, "The Killer Angels", is a truly remarkable film, in it's clear, if long, presentation of the Civil War's bloodiest, best-known, yet least understood battle, in it's 'humanizing' of the almost legendary characters of the period, and, most amazingly, for being filmed at the actual locations where the actions took place, in Gettysburg, itself. From Little Round Top to Seminary Ridge, you see the events where they actually occurred, 140 years ago. It is a singular achievement, and Ted Turner deserves credit for making it happen.

Two characters dominate the film; Jeff Daniels, in one of his finest performances, is a likable, totally believable Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, the Maine ex-schoolteacher who would win the Congressional Medal of Honor; and Tom Berenger, sporting a huge, bushy beard, is a sympathetic 'voice of reason' as Confederate Lt. Gen. James Longstreet, successor to "Stonewall" Jackson as Robert E. Lee's field commander. Chamberlain and Longstreet provide the film it's focus, as honorable men attempting to fulfill their duty, while the carnage builds around each of them.

Other memorable performances include Sam Elliott, in a brief but memorable cameo as Brig. Gen. John Buford, the battle-hardened cavalry commander who initiates the battle after guessing the Confederates' objectives at Gettysburg; Richard Jordan, in one of his last appearances before his untimely death, as Brig. Gen. Lewis A. Armistead, facing his best friend in battle; Kevin Conway, as Chamberlain's gruff but likable Irish First Sergeant, Sgt. 'Buster' Kilrain; C. Thomas Howell as Lt. Thomas D. Chamberlain, Joshua's brother, who creates a sense of familial concern for Daniels; and Stephen Lang (who would go on to play Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson in GODS AND GENERALS), as an ever-confident, ebullient Maj. Gen. George E. Pickett.

In the pivotal role of Robert E. Lee, Martin Sheen is less effective, lacking Lee's well-documented charisma, and substituting constant world-weary gazes for characterization. Robert Duvall, who assumed the role in GODS AND GENERALS, would be far more credible as Lee.

The sheer numbers of the battle are staggering; over 150,000 combatants, with 53,000 dead, more in a single three-day engagement than were lost during the entire war in Vietnam. The armies of actors, extras, and recreators could not nearly match those numbers, yet the film effectively conveys the immensity of the conflict. The tactical errors (Lee's decision, on the third day of battle, to order Pickett's suicidal charge into the Union guns; Meade's decision, drawing the fury of President Lincoln, to allow the Southern survivors to return home without further slaughter, while a humane gesture, probably lengthening the war) are presented within the context of of the overall conflict, providing the viewer with justification for their decisions.

Director Ronald F. Maxwell presents a complex, fascinating tapestry in GETTYSBURG, and it is not a film you will soon forget!

52 of 60 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Sheen or Duvall; who played Lee better? dcwitzke
Confederacy plan for Day 2 codjohn
Any reenactor/background artists still out there? yinduffy
Another question about Lee's strategy fountaincap
Hated how Longstreet was portrayed in Gods and Generals jswhalen1
too many speeches!! braun616
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