Amazon.com essential video
Three days in the summer of 1863, at a place called Gettysburg. Although it received a theatrical release, this four-hour depiction of the bloody Civil War battle was shot as a made-for-television film. But no taint of cheapness or shortcuts should stick to this magnificent picture (well, except maybe for those phony-looking mustaches). Based on Michael Shaara's book The Killer Angels, this film takes a refreshingly slow, thorough approach to the intricacies of battle. In ordinary circumstances, those intricacies might seem of importance only to fans of military strategy or Civil War enthusiasts, yet in Gettysburg they come across as the very stuff of life, death, and unexpected heroism. If the film has a problem, it's that it climaxes too early: the first long segment, detailing the struggle of a "civilian soldier," Union Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (Jeff Daniels), to hold his ground against long odds, is an enthralling piece of moviemaking. Daniels, in a heartbreaking performance, does his best film work. Other cast members include Tom Berenger, Sam Elliott, and Martin Sheen as Robert E. Lee. Richard Jordan, in his final role, gives a powerhouse performance as Confederate general Lewis A. Armistead. Oh, and you can also try to spot Ted Turner, whose company produced the film, as a Confederate soldier. Writer-director Ronald F. Maxwell seems inspired by the gravity of the battle; long as it is, every moment of Gettysburg is informed by a nobility of purpose. --Robert Horton
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
The Turning Point., Apr 19, 2023
I have always been interested in Americas' Civil War and read some excellent books on the subject such as Jeffry Wert's "A Brotherhood of Valor" and James McPherson's "Battle Cry of Freedom".
I also enjoy movies on the subject as "Glory" and "The Horse Soldiers"
This movie is based on Michael Shaara's book, "The Killer Angels", a very special one in his class and reaches the same level of excellence.
"Gettysburg" (1993) follows closely the storyline of the book focusing on key actors of this drama: Generals Lee, Longstreet, Pickett and Hood from the Confederates; Colonel Chamberlain, Generals Hancock and Buford from the Union amongst others, showing them thru these three crucial days.
The film shows their blunders, their successes, their doubts, their quarrels and their unanimous heroism to face death and destruction for the sake of their "Cause", which every man into the field believes to be just.
Each day of the combat has its peak and it is shown flawlessly: Buford stopping Confederate's vanguard and appreciating terrain's quality at the first day; Chamberlain resisting and desperately charging downhill at the second day and finally Pickett's ill fated charge at the third day.
The ceaseless confrontation between the armies, their movements and maneuvers are very minutely filmed giving the spectator a full understanding of what went on at those three pivotal days.
Actor's characterizations are over par, especially Martin Sheen as Gen. Lee, Jeff Daniels as Col. Chamberlain and Tom Berenger as Gen. Longstreet. The rest of the cast is very homogeneous and supportive, but for my taste Kevin Conway as Sgt. Kilrain and William Sheppard as Gen. Trimble deliver a special plus.
It is an excellent movie and IMHO one of the best three films done on the subject. Do not miss it!
Reviewed by Max Yofre.
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
To die for!, Mar 19, 2023
I have seen this movie 156 times and have memorized it in English, French, and partly in German.An unhealthy obsession exists between me and this movie and it won't die. It's that good. Also, not only is it a great movie but the soundtrack is memorable as well. Unfortunaly there are 126 historical errors with this movie but the average viewer won't be able to catch them, only seriously obsessed history students like me would.
Buy this movie!
-"The trees, head for the trees!"
-L. Armistead (NOT Accurate. Actual quote: "Move twords those trees!")
3 of 17 people found the following review helpful:
It Just isnt the Same Quality as God And Generals, Mar 5, 2023
If your expecting God and Generals your not going to find it here. Lee is different, Jackson actor comes back as some hokey guy at the camp... I mean it bummed me out. Theres this one shot scene that shows Howe, and the guy that played Dumb and Dumber and its very artificial the background etc.,.. I know they are thinking they are being dramatic but we sorta had like this huge laugh over it. I think our society gets dumbed down because we watch so much junk daily... so many people will rate this pretty high. If your standards are Gods and Generals your going to be pretty bummed you paid 15 bucks for the dvd. If your standard is the common TV level movie fair...youll be full on for it. For me and my house... Id rather read a good book !
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful:
A magnificent film of the epic battle, Mar 3, 2023
Michael Shaara's inspiring Gettysburg epic,THE KILLER ANGELS,is magnificently rendered by Director Ronald Maxwell in a film of almost matchless scope and power.The film tells the story of, perhaps,the pivotal battle of The Civil War; faithfully exploring the three-day clash that altered the history of America and the world. Thousands of Civil War redactor-buffs complement a superb cast headed by Tom Berenger as Lt.General James Longstreet, Lee's best Commander(including Stonewall Jackson)who has been historically criticized(reviled might be the better word)for caution and criticism of Lee's Gettysburg battle strategy. Jeff Daniels stretches himself to the max as mythically heroic,Col. Joshua Chamberlain. His 20th Maine Regiment's--out of bullets--bayonett charge, that may have saved the Union Flank...hence the entire Army of the Potomac...on LITTLE ROUND TOP,July 2, 1863...is the film's dramatic climax. Martin Sheen is excellent as audacious,tactically brilliant General Lee whose belief in a "weak" Federal Center on Cemetary Ridge leads to tragic miscalculation and massacre of thousands of Confederate soldiers in bloody,in-the-killing-zone attack called Picketts's Charge.
Director Maxwell's attention to both technical and historical detail is vastly accomplished.The importance of Cavalry General John Buford's holding action against concentrated infantry strength out-numbering his own force ten-to-one is given proper credit and perspective. Richard Jordan is excellent as General Armistead who gives breath to tragic sorrow of brother fighting brother, as he contemplates attacking...on the Third Day...the position commanded by his once-best friend,General Winfield Hancock.Again and again the film masterfully interweaves the heart-breaking human dimensions with raw slaughter of the battle that killed or wounded 56,000 Americans(Lee's retreating...on July 4, 1863...hospital wagons averredly trailed 14 miles!)
Those unfamiliar with the film will be impressed...if not overwhelmed...by Randy Eldeman's majestic score as well as DVD extra's which are rich and informative(including feature-length technical/historical commentary by Director Maxwell and renowned Civil War historian James McPherson).GETTYSBURG may,in fact be THE TEN COMMANDMENTS of Civil War films. Ronald Maxwell and his entourage are to be commended and thanked for such a cinematic tribute to tragedy,heroism and...if President Lincoln is to be credited...Tribulation Necessity of America's bloodiest,most important conflict:THE BATTLE WITH ITSELF.(10 stars)
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful:
Excellent movie despite the beards, Feb 9, 2023
I really enjoy this movie. The depiction of how the battle evolved, and how Lee's overconfidence doomed his invasion was quite an accomplishment. Pickett's charge was especially moving. I thought Berenger did a great job of playing the role of General Longstreet and many of the other parts were performed admirably.
One gripe I have is the beards. Some of them were so phoney looking I couldn't help myself from laughing. If they were to do it over again, they would need either a new make-up artist or make the actors grow a beard for the movie.
Another thing I really like about the movie is the score. Truly moving music to accompany a military drama that shaped the course of events in our country.