7.8/10
118,106
445 user 71 critic

Glory (1989)

Trailer
1:25 | Trailer
Robert Gould Shaw leads the U.S. Civil War's first all-black volunteer company, fighting prejudices from both his own Union Army, and the Confederates.

Director:

Edward Zwick

Writers:

Kevin Jarre (screenplay), Lincoln Kirstein (book) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Popularity
759 ( 569)
Won 3 Oscars. Another 11 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Matthew Broderick ... Col. Robert Gould Shaw
Denzel Washington ... Pvt. Trip
Cary Elwes ... Maj. Cabot Forbes
Morgan Freeman ... Sgt. Maj. John Rawlins
Jihmi Kennedy Jihmi Kennedy ... Pvt. Jupiter Sharts
Andre Braugher ... Cpl. Thomas Searles
John Finn ... Sgt. Maj. Mulcahy
Donovan Leitch Jr. ... Capt. Charles Fessenden Morse (as Donovan Leitch)
JD Cullum ... Henry Sturgis Russell (as John David Cullum)
Alan North ... Gov. John Albion Andrew
Bob Gunton ... Gen. Charles Garrison Harker
Cliff De Young ... Col. James M. Montgomery (as Cliff DeYoung)
Christian Baskous Christian Baskous ... Edward L. Pierce
RonReaco Lee ... Mute Drummer Boy
Jay O. Sanders ... Gen. George Crockett Strong
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Storyline

Shaw was an officer in the Federal Army during the American Civil War who volunteered to lead the first company of black soldiers. Shaw was forced to deal with the prejudices of both the enemy (who had orders to kill commanding officers of blacks), and of his own fellow officers. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Their innocence. Their heritage. Their lives. Nothing would be spared in the fight for their freedom.


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film has one of the longest credit rolls in history. The credits following the movie run a full ten minutes and were shipped to theaters on a separate reel. The film's cast is displayed three times, each in a different layout. See more »

Goofs

The position of the sun as Shaw inspects the beach before Fort Wagner. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Title Card: Robert Gould Shaw, the son of wealthy Boston abolitionists, was 23 years old when he enlisted to fight in the War Between the States. He wrote home regularly, telling his parents of life in the gathering Army of the Potomac. / These letters are collected in the Houghton Library of Harvard University.
Colonel Robert G. Shaw: Dear Mother, I hope you are keeping well and not worrying much about me. You mustn't think that any of us are going to be killed. They are collecting such a force here, that an attack ...
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Alternate Versions

The newly released Region 2 edition dvd contains two deleted scenes.
  • While on guard duty, Trip (Denzel Washington) shoots dead what he believes to be a confederate soldier, only to discover he has killed a 15 year old "apple-picker".
  • On the morning of the final battle, (the storming of Ft. Wagner) Major Forbes (Cary Elwes) is visited in his tent by Colonel Shaw. Major Forbes beleives he is going to die and does not want to take part in the assault.
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User Reviews

 
More Than My Words Could Praise, The History Glorifies Itself
28 January 2006 | by eadaoin7See all my reviews

I find this one of my most difficult reviews to write. Even as I sit here for what must be the 206th viewing, I marvel, as acutely as I did in the very first viewing, that this tale has the compelling and overwhelming power to touch aesthetically, viscerally, profoundly and emotionally my sense of pride,injustice, soul. Even if this were not a true story, I would still recommend this movie to everyone with awe and reverence. And even as I watch, there is goose-flesh and damp eyes. As there always is...

Based on the letters compiled and only two reference books (including "One Gallant Rush" by Peter Burchard, which I proudly own), this tells the tale of the heretofore largely unknown 54th Massachusetts Infantry, the first Afro-American regimen in American history during the Civil War. Colonel Robert Gould Shaw was a 26-year old bright eyed Bostonian who was chosen by favor to lead the "first colored regimen" at the apex of the Civil War. Matthew Broderick portrays Col. Shaw as accurately as possible, bringing the youth and zeal of the real Shaw to grand light. He was truly overwhelmed by the thought of leading the troops, but idealistic and optimistic enough to give it everything he had and to make his family and title proud. Broderick never loses sight of the simple fact that Shaw was humble and grateful for every advancement he was given. Although in reality the 54th was compiled of mostly free black men from upper New England, Denzel Washington is cast as the runaway slave Trip who brings his grudges and injustices to the troop. He portrays a slave who is on a personal mission to hurt those who have hurt him (if you know about the history of slavery, one can hardly blame him), but in the process hurts himself all the more until by rote he learns to channel his hate into determination, and by his actions is humiliated and beaten down to the point that he can only rise up like a griffin and prove that he is as much a soldier as the rest of them. The 'whipping scene' in which you see him go through that exact process, every emotion known to a man culminating in a quiver of the cheek, a single tear escaping, and eyes that shred, plea, hate, mourn, haunt. That Denzel could convey that with a role that could have easily been a stereotype deserves more praise that I can type. Morgan Freeman is a man of quiet yet profound dignity that carries him in every role he plays, and this time as Rawlins is no exception. He is a victim of prejudice, but still carries his own as a man. He is there for his men as a leader even before being officially decorated, but he is not above reaching out to Shaw to help his men simply because Shaw is yet another white authority--he helps the cause, no matter the colors. And that cause is so much more than the War, which I will explain further below...

The score by the wunderkind James Horner is Majesty in every literary definition of the word. I know that if I'm ever stressed and need a release, all I have to do is pop in a CD of this score, listen for only a few minutes, and I will be sobbing. In my humble opinion he has yet to top himself with his work in this picture. From the subtle ache of a single horn to the swelling of the Harlem Boys' Choir and their keening voices that beg us to remember forever.

I won't break down the actors, directing or anything individually any more than I have because that's not the intention of this film. It's not a star vehicle, but rather hundreds of people coming together to tell a story they believe in. And as such, deserve to be praised as a whole, which only proves how well they've done their work. But some scenes cannot escape the psyche...The morning after they've been read a proclamation stating that they will be put to death, black and white, if caught bearing Union arms, and there they stand as a unit for roll call, not one man deserting, at attention for duty, prouder and taller than ever...The aforementioned Corporal Punishment scene (which, by the way, was the same punishment white officers would suffer if they deserted as well)...The charge on Fort Wagner--Shaw finally returning to the seashore he so loved all his life for what he knows in his heart is the last time, feeling home again and yet feeling already a walking spectre--Rawlins with a divine inner pride in his eyes marching toward the fort as Thomas looks to the others and Trip with no longer the mad lashing-out force to kill but the aggravated determination to win--the company as a whole marching into Fate with a gallant unified step...

The true meaning of "hero" is in the heart of a man who faces even death if it will prove himself a man, not only to others but to himself. This lies true for every person in that brave pioneering regimen, black and white. They didn't just die for their country or their rights, but for their own personal honors and faiths as human beings who are deserved of dignity. The likes of which this country will never see again, but must not fall into obscurity. At the heart, and in my heart, this is not a story of men, but what it means to be a man. And the sacrifice it sometimes takes to become one and prove yourself one.

We as a Nation, as Earth, should thank the 54th for that beautiful lesson. This pristine film will guarantee it so.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 February 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Glory See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$63,661, 17 December 1989

Gross USA:

$26,979,166

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$26,979,166
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby Stereo (35 mm prints)| Dolby Atmos

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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