Directed by: Ronald F. Maxwell
Release Date: October 8, 1993
Running Time: 262 minutes
MMPA rating: PG
The Good: Epic battle scenes, Great performances, Historical accurate, Amazing production value and scale, Good soundtrack,
The Bad: Overly bloated,
Plot: The following plot summary is copied from Wikipedia.com.
The film starts with spoken exposition over the image of a map that establishes the location of the battle and how the two armies converged at Gettysburg. Confederate General Robert E. Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia are making an offensive through Pennsylvania to lure the Union Army of the Potomac into a decisive battle that will end the war. The narration states that Confederate President Jefferson Davis has prepared a letter of peace to be delivered to the desk of Abraham Lincoln once the Army of the Potomac has been destroyed somewhere outside of Washington.
Early scenes depict actor-turned-spy Henry Thomas Harrison spotting Union cavalry. Shortly thereafter, Harrison locates a major body of Union infantry and, immediately, crosses the Confederate picket line in order to notify Lieutenant General James "Pete" Longstreet, the senior lieutenant general in the Confederate Army and second-in-command of the Army of Northern Virginia. Major General J.E.B. Stuart's cavalry, the “eyes” of Lee’s army, has gone off on raids without keeping in touch with Lee’s army. Meanwhile, U.S. Brig. Gen. John Buford and his cavalry division arrive at Gettysburg. Buford surmizes that if Lee's army is allowed access to the town, the Confederates might easily take a strong defensive position that could destroy the Army of the Potomac. Buford decides to deploy his division along Seminary Ridge in order to obstruct any Confederate advance on Gettysburg from the west. The day ends with Buford writing a letter to Maj. Gen. John Reynolds, commanding officer of the nearby Union I Corps infantry, inquiring if he should hold his position.
Watch the movie to see what happens next.
Plot: 8.6/10- Although the pacing was slow in the first hour, the characters and historical accuracy more than makes up for that.
Action: 9.2/10- While there is not much action in the beginning of the film, there are two massive prolonged battle scenes, which are among the best realistic battles ever filmed. The amount of reenactors used is staggering. The camera work is great, lacking the now cliched and dredded "Shakey-Cam".
Acting: 8.0/10- Martin Sheen as Confederate General Robert E. Lee was stiff and did not fit the role well, especially in the beginning of the film. However, Tom Berenger as Lieutenant General James Longstreet gave the strongest performance of the cast
Special effects: N/A- It is difficult to determine if Gettysburg used what would be considered special effects, but the production design was phenomenal.
Soundtrack: 8.7/10- The soundtrack fit the classic epic and historical atmosphere perfectly.
Comedy: 5.0/10- Occasional humor in an overal serious film.
Overall: 8.3/10- Overall Gettysburg is a great war film with epic realistic battles and attendion to detail. It is a must see for any Civil War history buff like myself.
Closing comments: Despite the slow pacing, the film creates an excellent telling of true history of the Civil War. However, if you have a short attention span and do not like very, very long movies, you should probably avoid it.
Recommended for: War movie fans, Historical films fans,
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