Gods and Generals (2003)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, History, War  |  21 February 2003 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 12,835 users   Metascore: 30/100
Reviews: 496 user | 83 critic | 29 from Metacritic.com

The rise and fall of legendary war hero Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson as he leads the Confederacy to great success against the Union from 1861 to 1863. Prequel to the 1993 classic "Gettysburg".


(as Ronald F. Maxwell)


(book) (as Jeffrey M. Shaara) , (screenplay) (as Ronald F. Maxwell)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
George Allen ...
Confederate Officer
Capt. James J. White
Gen. James Kemper (as Royce Applegate)
Major Walter Taylor
Mac Butler ...
Robert Byrd ...
Confederate General (as Robert C. Byrd)
Bowdoin Student
Rev. Beverly Tucker Lacy
Old Penn
Jim Choate ...
Gen. Bernard Bee
Dr. George Junkin


The rise and fall of legendary war hero Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson as he leads the Confederacy to great success against the Union from 1861 to 1863. Prequel to the 1993 classic "Gettysburg".

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


An unforgettable story of the Civil War, from the Director of "GETTYSBURG" See more »


Drama | History | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sustained battle sequences | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

21 February 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dioses y generales  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$56,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$4,675,246 (USA) (21 February 2003)


$12,870,569 (USA) (25 April 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Media mogul Ted Turner put up the entire $60-million budget of the film personally. See more »


During the first battle, a dead soldier is clearly wearing modern boots. A large "H" is visibly imprinted on the sole of the boot. See more »


[first lines]
Title Card: A human life, I think, should be well rooted in some spot of a native land, where it may get the love of tender kinship for the face of the earth, for the labors men go forth to, for the sounds and accents that haunt it, for whatever will give that early home a familiar unmistakable difference amidst the future widening of knowledge. The best introduction to astronomy is to think of the nightly heavens as a little lot of stars belonging to one's own homestead. - George Eliot
See more »

Crazy Credits

No reenactors were credited individualy, rather there was general thank you to all the reenactors who participated in the filming. See more »


Follows Gettysburg (1993) See more »


Silent Night
Music by Franz Gruber (as Franz X. Gruber)
Lyrics by Joseph Mohr
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

An incredible, moving epic
5 August 2003 | by (Charleston, SC) – See all my reviews

For the first time, I am very disapointed with the vast majority of reviews on a movie on IMDB. Actually, I was shocked that the movie I just saw was in no way, the movie that so many people called out right disapointing. Though this movie does have it's flaws, it is one of the most moving war pictures I have ever seen. Actually, it is more of a character study than a war film, and appeals to many different audiences.

Many have commented on the long running time, and the lengthy, and I'll admit, at times superfluously long speeches, but to tell you the truth, I was so engaged with the performances of Steven Lang, Jeff Daniels and Robert Duvall, that the close to 4 hour running time felt like a regular 2 hour movie. It was definitely nice to see more of the aspects of the war for the Confederate and Union people that you don't read in your regular high school history book. I won't make this a political commentary because frankly, one thing everyone can agree on is that this was without a doubt, our nation's darkest time, and both sides lost far too many brave young souls, that were robbed of their chance at life. Both sides were full of young people, many of which did not fully understand their cause, nor why they were thrust into this horrible war, but both sides knew one thing...that they were fighting to preserve their very livelihood. But, I will say that the film did depict a more truthful nature of both sides, especially with the issue of how slaves were treated, and the ideologies (that are sometimes conflicting on the same side, as we see in a scene between Daniels and C. Thomas Howell) between both sides. To be honest, what you read in the history books in school is only partly true, and is in fact biased. And the film does portray the fact of the matter that it was a hard time for everyone, and the U.S., even the world, had a much different view on life, liberty and even the horrible slavery of others. It was a time of the birth of a new nation and the death of its people, a coming of age for this great country, and is a theme that is portrayed wonderfully throughout.

This film also depicts the role of prayer, and shows how God's Will, to those who search for it, can work wonders. Now, whether you are a Christian or not, the very morals derived from the prayers ought to be an inspiration to everyone, and if anything, was an accurate representation of the men portrayed. Chamberlain, Jackson and Lee were all, indeed, devoted followers of God, and it is almost poetic how Gods and Generals shows how their devotion enabled them to have the insane bravery that they did. I found it very moving, and I know many others will too.

All in all, there have been few films that have touched me as much as this movie did. The dialogue is incredible and the battle scenes are very well choreographed. I do have to agree though with another viewer that at times, the music seems a bit out of place...for instance we hear a thundering choir similar to the famous charge of Fort Wagner in the movie Glory, but, though a great piece, it seems almost tacked on in a way. There are other instances of a sad love theme throughout that are not needed, but all in all, that is my only major complaint. The film is long, and I really thought I'd be bored as hell throughout. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how the movie flows. Yes, there are jingoistic, drawn out speeches, but they all are moving, are performed masterfully, and flow nicely. There were very few moments of 'dead time' where the movie just stopped at a stand still. I would recommend this movie to anyone, considering it isn't just a war movie junkie or Civil War buff movie. It has appealing elements for everyone, and is one of the most realistic portrayals of such a sad time in our history that I have ever seen. Like Schindler's List, this movie should definitely be seen by everyone so we do not forget the horror of a country at war with itself, and take the extra steps in order to ensure that it never happens again. I had low expectations going into this movie, and honestly thought I would get bored during the non-war scenes, but I was wrong, this movie was a very pleasant surprise, and probably got a bad rap from the same people that teach the history that all Southerners mistreated their slaves and that the only Union cause was to free said slaves. Both sides had a cause willing to die for, and both sides are sympathized for equally. Gods and Generals shows that there are no heroes in war, and that through all of the madness, humanity will always survive. Highly recommended. I rarely give this, but this movie deserves it, and it was truly touching...10/10 stars.

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