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 <email@example.com>
Stephen Lang took such an interest in the history of Gettysburg that he facilitated the dedication of a memorial bench for Michael Shaara, author of the film's primary source material, "The Killer Angels". The bench was dedicated on July 3, 2008, the 145th anniversary of the battle's final day, and is located next to the grave of George Pickett, whom Lang portrayed in the film, in the historic Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia. See more »
In the scene between Major Walter H. Taylor and General Lee at midnight July 3rd, Major Taylor's rank insignia changes to two stars (Lieutenant Colonel). In earlier scenes he wore only one star (Major). See more »
Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain:
I've been ordered to take you men with me, I'm told that if you don't come I can shoot you. Well, you know I won't do that. Maybe somebody else will, but I won't, so that's that. Here's the situation, the Whole Reb army is up that road aways waiting for us, so this is no time for an argument like this, I tell you. We could surely use you fellahs, we're now well below half strength. Whether you fight or not, that's up to you, whether you come along is... well, you're coming. You know who we are ...
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A film that runs longer than 'Lawrence of Arabia' and only covers three days of action sounds a long haul but it is not. As someone who is both British and interested rather than an expert on the Civil War I found 'Gettysburg' very satisfying. The prologue makes the objectives of the two armies clear and the 'updates' in the form of dialogue between the commanders mean the viewer doesn't lose sight of the course of events. The battle scenes capture the "terrible beauty" of combat, conveying terror, claustrophobia and violence without being too horrific.
More important, the film makes the most of the remarkably rich characters who took part. My only hope is that Col. Chamberlain was as intelligent, humane and courageous in life as Jeff Daniels's performance. This is just one example, and there are many men one would like to know more about as a result of seeing this.
The one question I was left with came from Martin Sheen's portrayal of Lee. I know Lee had been unwell before the battle but Martin Sheen seems strangely remote from events, with a glazed look in his eye and high-pitched 'other worldly' voice. Is this fair and accurate? At least Lee has the moral courage to say "It's all my fault" when he sees the result of Pickett's Charge. I don't remember Douglas Haig saying that after the first day on the Somme in 1916.
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