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Year: 1989
Director: Edward Zwick

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Cast:

Matthew Broderick (Col. Robert Gould Shaw), Denzel Washington (Pvt. Trip), Cary Elwes (Maj. Cabot Forbes), Morgan Freeman (Sgt. Maj. John Rawlins), Jihmi Kennedy (Pvt. Jupiter Sharts), Andre Braugher (Cpl. Thomas Searles), John Finn (Sgt. Maj. Mulcahy), Donovan Leitch (Capt. Charles Fessenden Morse), JD Cullum (Henry Sturgis Russell (as John David Cullum)), Alan North (Gov. John Albion Andrew), Bob Gunton (Gen. Charles Garrison Harker), Cliff De Young (Col. James M. Montgomery (as Cliff DeYoung)), Christian Baskous (Edward L. Pierce), RonReaco Lee (Mute Drummer Boy), Jay O. Sanders (Gen. George Crockett Strong), Richard Riehle (Quartermaster), Daniel Jenkins ('A' Company Officer), Michael Smith Guess ('A' Company Soldier), Abdul Salaam El Razzac ('A' Company Soldier), Peter Michael Goetz (Francis George Shaw)

Storyline:

One of the very best films about the Civil War, this instant classic from 1989 is also one of the few films to depict the participation of African American soldiers in Civil War combat. Based in part on the books Lay This Laurel by Lincoln Kirstein and One Gallant Rush by Peter Burchard, the film also draws from the letters of Robert Gould Shaw (played by Matthew Broderick), the 25-year-old son of Boston abolitionists who volunteered to command the all-black 54th Regiment of the Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. Their training and battle experience leads them to their final assault on Fort Wagner in South Carolina, where their heroic bravery turned bitter defeat into a symbolic victory that brought recognition to black soldiers and turned the tide of the war. With painstaking attention to historical detail and richness of character, the film boasts superior performances by Denzel Washington (who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor), Morgan Freeman, Cary Elwes, and Andre Braugher. Directed by Edward Zwick (cocreator of the TV series thirtysomething), this unforgettable drama is as important as Schindler's List in its treatment of a noble yet little-known episode of history. - Jeff Shannon

Reviews:

"Glory" is a modern film classic that highlights a little-known chapter of the Civil War.

I recently purchased the DVD, and was just as moved (if not more so) as the first time I saw it.

Broderick, Freeman, and Washington, along with a stellar cast play it faultlessly. I still remember the brouhaha over the casting of Matthew Broderick as Shaw, and I see that even now some IMDb posters single him out for fault in "Glory." Sorry, but I disagree. One should remember that the real Col. Shaw was a young man in his mid-20s - hardly a grizzled old veteran - despite his high rank. Broderick actually does bear a resemblance to Shaw, and shouldn't be criticized for his boyish looks. I felt every nuance of the burden he carried, and thought Broderick did a wonderful job.

Denzel Washington's powerful acting may never again have a showcase like it did in "Glory." His beauty, rage, and pride scream in every frame. His Oscar for this break-out role was highly deserved. Trip's character is really the distillation of what this film is all about: the black man's heart-rending battle for worth, recognition, and dignity. As far as I'm concerned no one BUT Washington could have played Trip. Thank God for Denzel!

Morgan Freeman is the film's human core. His quiet compassion and leadership keeps the soldiers focused. His one angry confrontation with Trip proves he has the goods to back up a field promotion to Sergeant Major.

Freeman (an appropriate reminder of where surnames come from) is the father figure the regiment desperately needs in a time of death and crisis. The men look to him for his calming wisdom and reasonable, fair demeanor.

Films like "Saving Private Ryan" raised the technical bar for battle scenes.

The fighting scenes in "Glory" are, unfortunately, it's weakest element. The staging and choreography are mediocre at best. And other than a scene where the 54th Massachusetts is given a hero's flanking onto the battlefield beaches of South Carolina, these shots don't emotionally engage the viewer. Still, in the end, "Glory" isn't about big, noisy battles. It's about the transcendence of the human spirit in the face of bigotry, bad treatment, and almost certain death. It's about a watershed moment in our bloody history that elevated us all and must never be forgotten.

"Glory" is, indeed, glorious.

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Easily the best Civil War movie ever produced, and among the front rank of all war movies. Filled with memorable and moving scenes - the look of sheer defiance on Trip's (Denzel Washington) face as his already scarred back is whipped, the men of the 54th telling their stories around the campfire on the eve of battle, Shaw (Matthew Broderick) turning loose his horse on the beach before Ft. Wagner. History is brought to life more vividly in this film than in any big-budget all-star cast epic I can recall. Most often , those films only succeed in collapsing under their own weight and leaving audiences more turned off about history. Glory brings the issues of the time - slavery, freedom and sacrifice - down to human scale. We can understand why the men of the 54th were willing to take up arms, and how tragic it was that they had to sacrifice their lives in order to be considered men.

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