Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Gettysburg / Gods and Generals|
Actors: Tom Berenger, Martin Sheen, Stephen Lang, Robert Duvall, Jeff Daniels
Director: Ronald F. Maxwell
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Educational, Military & War
Key battles of America's Civil War thunder across the screen in two richly scaled, rigorously authentic, powerfully compelling epics based on acclaimed historical novels by Michael Shaara. The tide of the war changes durin... more »
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Member Movie Reviews
Ann W. from MAPLE SHADE, NJ
Reviewed on 10/25/2009...
A great DVD set,especially for Civil War buffs.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Civil War History at it's best!
Seen Them All | SoCal Desert | 11/04/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Both of these movies are based on the books by father and son historians Michael & Jeff Shaara. Gettysburg is based on the Pulitzer Prize winning book "The Killer Angels". No school library should be without these two wonderful films and the related books. These movies were filmed using reinactors and are very realistic and very close to actual events. These films were made by Ted Turner and part of a trilogy. The third movie about the defeat of the Confederacy may or may not be completed (PLEASE Ted do the film!!). A fourth movie "Andersonville" is about the infamous southern prison camp (not for the squeamish!!).
I cannot recommend these movies highly enough. They are GREAT films for every American to view at least once so that they understand how terrible the Civil War really was. Very entertaining and not to be missed.
Great value for over eight hours of Civil War cinema!
ANT | Crofton, MD USA | 07/08/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Since many of you reading this are likely familiar with the movies themselves, or the stories therein, I will refrain from repeating them here (as so many other reviewers have already done). Allow me, though, to comment on the nature of the discs themselves and a brief summary of the content therein.
First of all, this is an amazing value for the price. Not only do you get "Gettysburg," which runs over 4 hours in length, but you also receive "Gods & Generals," which is an additional three-and-a-half hours. When combined with the special features (interviews, documentaries, etc.), you have well over eight hours of Civil War film in one slender DVD case!
(Since it has both discs in one normal case, it will not take up any additional room on your shelf. Additionally, the construction of said case will prevent the discs from sliding about and scratching on each other. I have yet to have any problems with either disc in removing or replacing it from it's holder, as well).
Regarding the content, let me say first that the special features on both discs are impressive. There are no deleted scenes that I recall, but there are some great documentaries, maps, interviews, and bios for each movie.
As far as the movies themselves, "Gettysburg" is by far the better film. There are some amazing performances on both sides of the blue and gray, particularly Richard Jordan's last role, Stephen Lang, Jeff Daniels, Tom Berenger, Martin Sheen, C. Thomas Howell, Kevin Conway, and Sam Elliot. In fact, it's hard to point out any poor performances at all. (Fuqua's makeup wasn't extraordinarily convincing, but otherwise, not a bad J.E.B. Stuart). What I also appreciated greatly was the equal treatment that each side is given. While we are introduced to more Confederate personalities than Union, there is equal screen time given to both sides. As the main dramatic thrust comes from the Confederates (climaxing with Pickett's Charge near the end of the film), it is understandable why more would be known and shown from their standpoint. Still, Maxwell treats both sides fairly and with equal emotion. The recreation down to the finest detail was exemplary and a standard by which all historical films should follow.
I disagree with the decrying that is done over "Gods & Generals," though, but I have to concede a few points. Perhaps most noticeable is the fact that instead of one battle, G&G spans two years almost and several key battles. Instead of focusing on a singular moment (as in "Gettysburg"), the film tries too hard to squeeze that much history into a slightly shorter timeframe. Additionally, the movie definitely has a certain Confederate slant to it. In some action sequences, the Union losses are exaggerated to comparative invincibility on the Confederate side. (This was somewhat true at Fredericksburg, though, and that particular battle is quite fair to history). There is certainly also much more Confederate content, as the Union side is almost treated as a background player. Granted, the story mainly revolves around Stonewall Jackson and his career in the war, but even major players like Lee are nearly glossed over, despite strong performances (including Robert Duvall's as the aforementioned Lee). Considering the tide of the war, as well as the timeline to that point, though, this is somewhat forgivable. There is the same attention to detail and accuracy that made "Gettysburg" so great, but it is nearly lost to the overwhelming slant that the film contains. (Supposedly, the final book in the Shaara trilogy, "The Last Full Measure," takes on the Union side more so than this film, but it remains to be seen whether or not that will ever be made). I would like to add, though, that the opening sequence alone is worth picking up this film. Mary Fahl's haunting and moving song "Going Home" is set against a backdrop of various flags of regiments from both sides of the conflict. Though this equality in treatment is not carried through the film, the sequence itself is spellbinding and emotionally charged. As I said, the opening credits alone are worth viewing.
Overall, I highly recommend this dual collection. The main reason why I could not give this review five stars was for the shortcomings of "Gods & Generals." Still, that should not hamper your purchase of this amazing collection. For a very slight increase in price (at last check), you can own both films with a grand total of over eight hours of footage (likely more than nine with all of the various extras). Not only is this a tremendous bargain, but they are wonderful films as well. "Gettysburg" will long stand as the far better movie, as "Gods & Generals" might have attempted to overachieve, but they are wonderful as educational tools and standards for military history cinema that will not soon fade away."
The best on the Civil War
Seth J. Frantzman | Jerusalem, Israel | 05/03/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These two films are the real thing, civil war movies at their best, in addition to great drama and acting taking ones' breath away. They cover the first three years of the Civil war including the battles of Bull Run, Fredricksberg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg(Antietem is not included).
Gods and Generals follows the stories of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlin and Stonewall Jackson but is mostly the story of Stonewall Jackson and his leadership and religious beleifs. This is a wonderful folm shot on location with many reenactors and brilliant acting, a fair depiction of both sides and real poetry in the language.
Gettysburg covers the three day battle that is seen as deciding the war and concentrates on Robert E. Lee, James Longstreet and Joshua L. Chamberlin and his main company. A brilliant film full of tragedy and love.
Seth J. Frantzman