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>
In the scene after Hancock was introduced to Chamberlain Hancock asked about friendship of enemies in the time of war. Hancock was referring to Lewis Armistead. The two were the best of friends and actually like brothers more closer than even the Chamberlain brothers. In another scene Armistead, in his will, left his prized possession, a family Bible, to Hancock's wife Almira. See more »
The battle of Little Round top takes place on the hot afternoon of July 2. Yet after the battle, as Chamberlain speaks to the wounded Sergeant Kilrain, you can see the actor's breath as "Kilrain" speaks his lines, evidence that the air was much colder than on a July afternoon. The same thing occurs later in the film when a messenger climbs Big Round Top to speak with Chamberlain. The messenger is breathing heavily, and the vapor of his breath is visible. See more »
General Robert E. Lee:
Yes, sir, general. We will attack the center. But I believe you are right about the flank. Hood and McLaws were both very badly damaged yesterday. What I will do is give you two other divisions: General Pettigrew and General Trimble. They are stronger and more rested, and so you will have nearly three divisions at your command, including Pickett. Your objection will be that clump of trees yonder.
[he points toward the Union line]
General Robert E. Lee:
The attack will be proceeded by massed artillery. We'll ...
[...] See more »
With a few notable exceptions Schindler's List, Braveheart, Saving Private Ryan and Glory, history based movies usually die quick and quiet in the movie theater (The Messenger, Ride with the Devil, Cobb) History flicks cost a bundle to make with the costumes and the challenge of finding a place to shoot that's nowhere near highways, bridges, and cities, and they don't always appeal to mass audiences.
So it's not that often that really good historical film comes around. As a result, it's good not to be too fussy when one does. Both Gettysburg and the Killer Angels, the book it was based on, were stuffed with historical inaccuracies, the grossest of all being the presence of the 20th Maine regiment anywhere near Pickett's charge (this happens in both the movie and the book).
For all the lengthy soliloquies, historical misses, whitewashed violence, and the fact that only about 30% of the battle of Gettysburg is shown on film, Gettysburg remains as the best effort to capture the sprawling battle of July 1863 on film. Where the movie lacks in realism, it makes up for it's dialogue, and in the scope of the battle scenes, which are on a scale so grand, that the bloodless body count and the inaccurate tactics can be forgiven. The sheer numbers of soldiers taking part in Pickett's charge was breathtaking. Kudos to the reenactors.
Martin Sheen and Tom Beringer were they're usual excellent selves as Lee and Longstreet and for me, their ongoing debate of the strategy of Gettysburg helped make the movie. Other highlights include the disenchantment of Union soldiers at this stage of the Civil War, and the personal trauma Richard Jordan's Lewis Armistead felt at having to fight his friend Winfield Hancock not only in the same war, but in the same sector of the same battle of that war.
Much of Gettysburg has to be viewed with a grain of salt, but until a Stephen Speilberg or other directing genius with a knack for war footage comes along, it's one of the best we have. And it's pretty good.
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