Copperhead (2013) Poster


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Great Piece of American History - Well Worth Seeing
My daughter and i saw this movie a few days ago. We loved it. It is a great period piece exploring Northern opinion during the Civil War. One town in the North (upstate New York), is divided between Southern sympathizers and fervent abolitionists. Note that this is not a war movie in the traditional sense of the phrase. No great battles are depicted and no leading generals are in sight. This is a political and emotional story of the war on the homefront.

All of the characters are well drawn and express their views without restraint. The movie is built around a love story between a boy (Casey Thomas Brown as Casey Brown) whose father (Billy Campbell as Abner Beech) opposes the war and a girl (Lucy Boynton as Esther Hagadorn ) whose father (Angus Macfadyen as Jee Hagadorn) is a religious abolitionist fanatic. The boy volunteers to join the army, along with many other young men from the town. With the young men off at war, conflicts threaten to tear the town apart and in some respects do.

The war itself is far away, but shows up as casualty lists are posted in the newspapers (and eventually as the dead and wounded return). The scenes of family members scanning the lists of dead, wounded, and missing looking for their sons, brothers, fathers, etc. are as sad, as they historically accurate.

The battles in the town end with both tragic and positive consequences. The movie if beautifully filmed and well acted. A great piece of American history. Well worth seeing.
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Gorgeous film with a great message
This film is a treasure. It touches on themes that are as relevant today as they were in 1862 and whilst the tone is somber, the story is uplifting.

Well acted, beautifully filmed and not too long with a great deal of depth. This is a film everyone should see for both the overt and underlying messages regarding political fanaticism and the reprisals of not 'loving thy neighbor.' We agreed that this is by far the best film we've seen all year. Hopefully the Academy will take notice.

If you only spend your money on one film this summer - and are the type who wants to come away from the theater really pondering what you've just witnessed - this is the film for you.

9/10 (I would give it a 10, but I don't ever give any film a 10 as I have heard that IMDb doesn't count the 1's or the 10's in the meta-scores.
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Educational and Emotional
echimps123-39-34752029 December 2015
Copperhead gives a look into the life of a small town in the North during the time of the civil war. The town is bitterly divided into political parties, the Republicans who are pro-war and the Democrats, or Copperheads, who are Northerners against the war. In a Romeo and Juliet inspired scenario, the daughter of a Republican falls in love with the son of a Democrat. To gain the blessing of her father, the boy goes off to fight in the war, against the will of his own father. Though the story is historical fiction, many aspects of the time and of the war are portrayed accurately, with an abundance of historical details. Whether you're a history lover, a student, or just bored, you'll love this romantic yet heart-wrenching film.
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Copperhead is an important historical film with unforgettable performances that focuses on the relationships that can get ripped apart by war.
BreakawayDaily11 July 2013
Copperhead is visually stunning, and unlike any other Civil War movie that has ever been made before. The scenery, sets, and costumes present a peaceful environment that stands in stark contrast to almost all other war movies.

Director and Producer Ron Maxwell has solidified himself as one of the leading cinematic visionaries of the American Civil War with his previous works of Gettysburg and Gods and Generals. With Copperhead, Maxwell looks at why good, honorable, ethical men chose not to go to war. He brings the audience not to the battlefield, but to the homefront, and looks closely at the relationships that can get ripped apart by war. Maxwell's fresh angle on the Civil War era highlights how the war affected those who remained at home when their sons, friends and lovers left to join the army.

Even if you are not a big war buff, you will enjoy this film. It puts the spotlight on many issues, not just about war, but about life. It has an interesting story, fantastic dialogue, topnotch performances and is visually exquisite. The film serves as a valuable history lesson on life in that era, and portrays the historical events from a viewpoint that is often ignored. It is a very thought provoking piece of filmmaking and should be considered an instant classic.

Read my full review at Breakaway Daily ( There you will also find exclusive coverage of the Copperhead premieres and much more!
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good civil war era movie and better yet if you are a fan of those period movies
bcheng938 April 2014
before i watched this movie, i knew already that the director of this movie had also directed 2 very well known civil war movies, 1.gettysburg 2.gods and generals. both of those movies are very well known and focuses mostly on battles and strategies. this movie focuses totally on the civilian side and thoughts on the war. there is not one drop of blood spill in the making of this movie.

if you are a fan of movies with all dialogue and beautiful country scenery and also a period piece then you are in for a treat. this movie does not have any A-list actors or actresses and is an ensemble piece, but there was not one bad piece of acting in this movie.

the movie happens far far away from the battlefields and is instead situated in a town in upstate new york during the culmination of the American civil war. it showed that not everybody in the north share the same feelings about the war. in fact the title of the movie itself " Copperhead " means a person living in the north that is opposed to the war for whatever reason.

very very good ensemble acting, with one powerhouse scene done by the young actor Augustus Prew. what a remarkable young actor...he's one of the main characters in this movie but it was like he was there but not really there and i don't want to spoil it but he made the whole movie. the movie would have been good without him, but he put the oomph into the movie. what he did in the end is pure cinema magic and remarkable for so young an age. Augustus plays the son of the crazy preacher and brother of the schoolteacher Esther.

i am surprised this did not get any Oscar consideration...but then again not, because the director is not one of Hollywoods darlings even though he makes really real and good movies.
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Beautifully filmed, but somewhat elegiac in pace for some
Deimos310 January 2015
"Copperhead" is a very thoughtful film, lovingly photographed in the lush upper New York countryside with an authenticity that is worthy of a documentary. It is a story too often ignored--that of those in the North who opposed the Civil War and the effect it had on their communities. Slow paced and deliberate, to some it may seem too lacking in action or drama for a film about the American Civil War. If you want sentimentality, see "Gone With the Wind" and if you want action see "Glory," both fine films. But if you want a sincere look at the Union home front and a look at those who opposed the war and why, see "Copperhead." Now we need a good film about the Southerners who opposed the war, for there were many of them, my ancestors included.
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The best Civil War movie to come out in a long time. Has the feel of North and South but to me this was better.
cosmo_tiger7 March 2014
"Springtime 1862, that's when the war came home and nothing was ever the same again." Abner Beech (Campbell) is a Copperhead, a northern Democrat who is against the Civil War. He tries to raise his son Jeff the same way. Like most kids do he rebels and decides to join the army and marches off to war. When the war begins to escalate the town, led by Jee Hagadorn (Macfadyen) starts to fully turn on Abner. Things only get worse for him from then on. I am a huge history buff and love Civil War stuff. I was a little leery about this going in though. For me the Civil War movie peaked with Glory and hit an all time low with Gods and Generals (which is easily one of the worst movies I have ever seen). Since this was a lower budget movie I was expecting to be bored with this. I was very wrong. This is a different type of war movie. While it takes place during the war this one deals with the families and those left behind rather then the soldiers. This really shows how the war affected everyone, and the neighbor vs neighbor or brother vs brother aspect is really shown here. I do have to say though that this would have been better as a mini-series rather then a movie. Overall, the best Civil War movie to come out in a long time. Has the feel of North and South but to me this was better. I give this a B+
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Good acting but lacking appeal overall
RTTerry23 July 2013
Copperhead offers an alternative to movies of late, which are inundated with CGI special affects and machine-gun pacing. It is a welcome departure from the current Hollywood format; however that alone does not make it as appealing as it could have been.

Copperhead's storyline development is more suited as a TV mini-series drama, with a strong emphasis on the dialog and drama–period. The acting alone does not save the film, despite the fact the script is exceptional well done and true to the period, as is expected from director Ron Maxwell. After an hour and a half of character development and setting the stage, the final thirty minutes of the movie leaves you wishing there was more to it. The movie ends as it started–relaxed and waiting for something more.

The acting and cinematography is worthy of note, but the screenplay-pacing is not enough to propel the film. A little extra effort and this could have been a classic film.
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jmihalchik-6703121 February 2019
It's rare that I turn off a flick in the first twenty minutes, especially when it concerns American History. But the acting and dialogue are so 3rd rate, I nearly choked on my own vomit. Where is Ed Wood when you need him?
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Historically Inaccurate
deanna-3166322 June 2020
Anyone who has ever studied TRUE history or taken the time to actually research how party lines voted will barely be able to make it through this plodding, sad, farce of a movie. The only valid point it might make is it's actual, current reflection of tensions existing right now. What I hope might be gleaned is that history unfortunately tends to repeat itself. Civil war was a horrible solution then as it would be now.
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Important Message for our Divided Times
hewilson2-72-79686815 April 2017
The average rating for this film on IMDb is 5.5. I find it to be worthy of a much higher ranking. An astute film critic might quibble with some of the acting and occasionally the direction. But overall, in my humble opinion, this is a very good film. I'll start with the finish. The ending of this movie makes a powerful statement in our divided times. Try if you can, to imagine just how divided the country might have been during the civil war. This is the only film I recall addressing that question at all and now that the filmmakers have broached that subject, I can see how some might say it could have been done better. But boy is it a good story. A great story in fact featuring tremendous performances by Billy Campbell as Abner Beech, a contrarian in the North and Augustus Prew as Ni Hagadorn, the peacemaker in a divided town. If the ending doesn't move you, nothing will. Despite a slow start, this film moves along well and had both a great finish and worthy message. I enjoyed it very much.
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Not The Greatest Ron Maxwell Film
denis8881 July 2013
I love Ron Maxweel's films, his sheer scope of grandeur and historical accuracy, his impeccable taste and his keen eye on details. His two master works, Gettysburg (1993) and its prequel Gods And Generals (2003) made him a true genius and placed him the Pantheon for ever. Pity, that there will be no third part of Shaara's trilogy. This one is no sequel, instead, this is a separate entry. The theme is the same - Civil War, this time, small town in New York state, with all its gossips, tragedies and fun. The smoldering conflict of copperheads and unionists is shown well. There is a big problem, though, as for the first 90 minutes the movie is terribly slow and ploddy, but then all of a sudden it begins to gallop as wild beast. Seems like Ron decided to make it shorter and thus cut much of footage. Who knows? The scenery is lovely, and the play of all actors is just marvelous. All young and old actors made their jobs absolutely great. Billy Campbell is a real winner here, as loud, proud man, he shines all the film. His delivery is just awesome. Brian Downey is excellent in his cameo as a priest, while Peter Fonda did his job equally as well. They all did well and real raw, as life truly is. Pity, some errors still stay and that did not allow the film to become another Ron masterpiece
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Great movie showing some of the ugly realities in Civil War era America.
finalword8242 July 2013
First thing first, I am a die hard patriot. I love movies that deal with historical American issues like The Revolution, or The Civil War. As such, it seems as though this movie was made to cater to my kind of audience. Awesome. The movie started a little slow if you aren't one for dialog, (I ,however, love dialog.) but don't worry it picks up. The acting was very good, the cinematography was nicely done, and in the end we have a very nicely put together piece about one of the hardest times in the history of our great nation. If you are a fan of the movie Gettysburg (both movies are made by Ronald F. Maxwell) you will probably enjoy this movie. In turn, if you haven't seen Gettysburg but enjoyed this, go and see it ASAP!

All right lets get down to it: Cinematography-8 Acting-9 Plot-9 Score-7

Rating for Copperhead: 9
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Worth seeing, could have been better
lazaruslong191219 July 2013
The trouble with this film is that Ron Maxwell uses the historical narrative approach of "Gettysburg" and "Gods and Generals" and it doesn't work with a novel, which is plot and character driven. I'm willing to bet that was part of the "creative differences" between he and Jason Patric, although Billy Campbell does a fine job as Abner Beech. All in all, a movie worth seeing if for no reason than its novelty in challenging the historical narrative of "North Good/South Bad," and for a number of powerful scenes. Angus Macfadyen's comments to his daughter following the Battle of Antietam being one. Campbell's discussion of slavery with his ward is another.
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Wasted potential
eenichols-4404828 January 2016
As far as elements go, Copperhead had everything that it needed to become successful. It was very historically accurate and provided an insightful look at the other side of the Civil War, showing how the divisions created were not as simple as North and South, and that the war affected everyone, at home and on the battlefield. Still, it seems that this film was missing something quite large. Despite its well aimed angle and interesting storyline, it became boring at several interludes. The actors also could have done a better a better job and parts of the script seemed incredibly cheesy, detracting from the film's genuine quality. Nevertheless, it was an interesting watch that cushioned education and historical accuracy with an entertaining and fantastical story.
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Great perspective of view not often represented.
philzone-5060015 April 2019
Most civil war movies come with the Southern respective, and the South suffered more than the North as almost all battles happened on Southern turf (ok Gettysburg was in Pennsylvania). The South really gets most of the attention. There is so coverage of riots in The larger Northern cities against the war and conscription, riots and the like, Lincoln's suspension of habeas orpus(sp). To have a film of people off the beaten trail like upstate New York, and their different views of such things as slavery. They did not understand that it was just an economic necessity in the agrian South to have labor that no one else would do to be economicly feasible. I believe that most slave holders hated the practice, but to not have it meant not being able to make a go of it. I n the North things were much different and a man and his family could make a go of it. The residents still found things to scrapple about but life went better. This film explores these people's differences.
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wdsjogren5 December 2019
Having watched this several times, I find it is growing on me. I finally started noticing the music being linked to characters, which was a benefit. There are a couple times when it's easy to think what's happening is not perfectly logical, but I see it as Maxwell trying to follow the book. I don't notice what another reviewer said about Maxwell mistakenly using "the historical narrative approach" perhaps because I didn't read the novel.
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