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Pharaoh's Army (1995)

PG-13 | | Western | 18 May 2005 (Spain)
During the American Civil War, a Union Army captain leads his rag-tag cavalry troop up a misty creek to a remote farm to appropriate enemy (Confederate) livestock. The farm is worked by ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
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...
Newt
Will Lucas ...
Boy
Mac Miles ...
Israel
Robert P. Sampson Jr. ...
Narrator (as Robert E. Sampson)
Maude Mitchell ...
Preacher's Wife
Rebecca Ryland ...
Mourner
Scott Coffman ...
Mourner
Gale Wilson ...
Mourner
Stacie Coffman ...
Mourner
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Storyline

During the American Civil War, a Union Army captain leads his rag-tag cavalry troop up a misty creek to a remote farm to appropriate enemy (Confederate) livestock. The farm is worked by Sarah Anders, whose husband is away fighting for the Confederate Army. Far from the great armies and battlefields, a very private civil war erupts. The Captain and Sarah are pulled apart by the war's undertow into choices they can not fully control or understand. Each character in this drama must decide whether loyalty will be paid in blood. This story has a relevance to current partisan conflicts. Armies are not filled with murdering psychopaths. Good people can be driven to do bad things. The story chronicles the pathology of war, how escalating events can trigger unasked-for tragedy. Based on a true story about a southern child who shot and killed a union soldier during the Civil War. Written by <jstanley@stern.nyu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A private civil war

Genres:

Western

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for brief violence and sexual references
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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

18 May 2005 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

Die graue Armee  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$50,652
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Technical Specs

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Original story took place at Meshack's Creek, Kentucky, in 1862; the town no longer exists. Tompkinsville is the nearest town officially recognized by the US Postal Service, roughly 6 miles to the west of the creek. The general area (Cumberland Gap), during the Civil War, experienced some of the most brutal clashes of the war; not only battles, but brother against brother and neighbor against neighbor. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Preacher: By the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread until thou return unto the ground, for out of it we was taken. Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. Heavenly Father, pick this child up on heaven's side. Put the grave behind for the promise on the other side, that she might live and abide with you.
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Soundtracks

Love Theme
Written by Charles Ellis
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User Reviews

 
Gritty, Raw and Beautiful film about the Civil War
16 October 2002 | by See all my reviews

"Pharaoh's Army" defies formula. Instead of selling out for cliches and big stars, it relies completely on the excellent acting from a strong cast, the strength of a well written script, and a fascinating and bitter story. The result is a raw and realistic film that moves along fast, with a heavy emotional current. One of the best I've ever seen about the Civil War, and I think it can owe that to the pleasure of being an independent film (if you like this film, try to see the similarly brilliant indie Civil War film "Wicked Spring" as well).

"Pharaoh" simply tells the true story of a small expedition/forage team of Union men who ride into a Confederate farm to take provisions, but end up stuck there because of an accident of one of the men. Tensions broil and relationships are made and broken. Nothing happens the way Hollywood would write it; this movie comes from the mind of someone who actually cares about quality film and the telling of history. Superb dialogue and plot exposition move along a film that looks highly professional, but often doesn't feel like you're watching a movie, more along the lines of hearing a story.

The film boasts an incredible performance from Chris Cooper who shows an amazing versatility in the exploration of his role. He transforms, but is always at the height of believability and is easy to emotionally relate to. Patricia Clarkson is equally as stellar and realistic in a role that many actresses would crumble in. She shares an interesting chemistry with Cooper's character and where she's the more severe of the characters, is still as easy to identify with. The rest of the cast is quite capable, and fill their roles in well.

The art design and the set are wonderful, and personally I love the cinematography. It all has the feel of a Civil War period photograph with the camera presenting strong contrasting colors and shadows and a tin-like metalic tint, but always keeping the naturalistic look of the rustic setting. They seem to have used natural lighting, but whatever they used works beautifully. Everything looks like it belongs where it is, it feels period, something I find rare in American period films. The actors act 19th century, not like 20th century people in old clothes.

Above all, this film is very personal. I think that as an indie it can afford it. The film is nearly flawless with an outstanding script that effortlessly creates and explores the relationships and personalities of these characters and lets them grow in a situation, as bad as it is. It doesn't fail in getting it's point across, and it gets it's point across without the usual and overused techniques that are used in all war films these days. It's brave. It relies on it's characters, a fantastic script, human emotion, and in the cold hard fact that the Civil War wasn't all CGI, big stars, and hoop skirts.


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