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The Andersonville Trial (1970)

A dramatization of the 1865 war-crimes trial of Henry Wirz, commandant of the notorious Confederate POW camp at Andersonville, Georgia.

Director:

George C. Scott

Writer:

Saul Levitt (play)
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Won 3 Primetime Emmys. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Cameron Mitchell ... General Wallace
William Shatner ... Col. Chipman
Jack Cassidy ... Otis Baker
Wright King Wright King ... Major Hosmer
Woodrow Parfrey ... Louis Schade
Martin Sheen ... Captain Williams
Richard Basehart ... Henry Wirz
Whit Bissell ... Doctor Ford
Harry Townes ... Col. Chandler
Buddy Ebsen ... Dr. John Bates
John Anderson ... Ambrose Spencer
Lou Frizzell Lou Frizzell ... Jasper Culver
Michael Burns ... James Davidson
Albert Salmi ... James Gray
Dal McKennon Dal McKennon ... First Guard (as Dallas McKennon)
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Storyline

Lt. Col. N.P Chipman is the Army prosecutor, Otis Baker the defense attorney and Gen. Lew Wallace the judge in the trial of Henry Wirz, the Confederate officer who ran a prisoner of war camp in Andersonville, which saw 14,000 Union prisoners die from cruel neglect. Witnesses include Lt. Col. Chandler, who was assigned to inspect the Andersonville prison; Dr. John C. Bates, the physician at the camp horrified by his experience; Ambrose Spencer, a plantation owner who can testify that food offered to the camp by nearby residents was refused; James Davidson, a haunted 19-year-old prisoner who claims a fellow was torn apart by dogs; Jasper Culver, another prisoner who has a story about a man named Chickamauga; Sgt. James Gray, who testifies that Wirtz killed a man with his own hands; and Dr. Ford, the one witness for the defense. Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 May 1970 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

All of the witnesses as portrayed in the film are the actual witnesses who testified at Wirz's trial, and their dialogue in many cases is taken almost verbatim from the trial transcript. The major change from history is that Wirz did not testify and the whole "moral issue", around which this film revolves, was never raised at the trial. See more »

Goofs

(at around 1 min) Boom mic bounces around quickly in the frame when the defendant starts losing his disposition in front of the court witnesses. See more »

Connections

Version of Het proces van Andersonville (1962) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Worth it
14 November 2004 | by lemminpieSee all my reviews

I watched this on TV when I was 13 or 14 yrs old and was engrossed in it. It left a lasting impression on me. Even to this day, I still think about it. As a kid, I couldn't have told you if the acting was first rate. Evidently it was; I do remember thinking the actors presented it as if the story had happened to them. I also remember being aware that William Shatner was remarkably restrained in this role and thinking how convincing he was.

I can't say this particular movie sparked my interest in American history, but it certainly looms large. Even if the story has been "Hollywood-ized" with the addition of bogus testimony of the camp commandant, the rest of the story is quite true. The sad story of Civil War POW's at Camp Sumter (the actual name of the prison) should be studied by all, not just students of American history. Incidentally, the Andersonville National Historic Site (outside of Richmond, VA) is the only national park that serves as a memorial for ALL American POW's. Because of having seen this movie, I sought out more info about the actual place and actual facts. This doesn't necessarily prove it's a well made movie, but it's the highest compliment I can pay to The Andersonville Trial.

To me, the time invested in watching this movie is worth it.


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