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Gettysburg (Ridley Scott's) [DVD]

 Exempt   DVD
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
Price: £9.48 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Past Meets Present
Visit the History Channel Store to discover top documentaries on history, nature and war as well as fascinating reality TV and science fiction.

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Frequently Bought Together

Gettysburg (Ridley Scott's) [DVD] + Gettysburg (Double sided DVD) [1993] + Gods And Generals [DVD] [2003]
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Product details

  • Format: PAL
  • Subtitles: None
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: History Channel
  • DVD Release Date: 23 July 2012
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005S02LOU
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 57,007 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

History Channel documentary that revisits the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg, arguably the turning point of the American Civil War. Fresh from a victory in Virginia in May 1863, General Robert E. Lee decided to embark upon the second phase of his invasion of the North. However, his Confederate army was met and defeated in Gettysburg by the Union forces under the command of General George Gordon Meade. This documentary, executively produced by Ridley Scott and his brother, Tony, takes an in-depth look at the battle, with an emphasis on how the average soldier on the ground would have experienced it.


The epic battle of Gettysburg, fought over a three-day period at the beginning of July 1863, was bloody, brutal, and bitter--making it ideally suited to the History Channel's testosterone-fueled documentary approach. Viewers familiar with offerings like Battles B.C., Patton 360, and multiple others will recognize this style: loud and kinetic, flashy and unsubtle, Gettysburg blends reenactments, photos, CGI (used to depict and dissect the weaponry that made the Civil War's body count so high in general, with some 50,000 casualties at Gettysburg alone), Sam Rockwell's macho voice-over narration, actors reading the reminiscences of the participants, and a variety of expert talking heads holding forth. For the most part, it works; historians and Civil War buffs have already noted some of the factual errors, important omissions, and other problems with the material, but those less versed in the details will come away from this 94-minute program (which was executive produced by noted directors Tony and Ridley Scott) with a good deal of information about the confrontation that inspired President Abraham Lincoln's immortal address, referenced near the end of the documentary. Typical of the History Channel, some of this information is delivered in hyperbolic, melodramatic fashion. Gettysburg was "the largest battle ever fought in the Western Hemisphere," while the cannons that blasted away at Gen. Robert E. Lee's men during the fateful attack known as Pickett's Charge was "the largest artillery barrage ever" in that same sphere; numerous other events are the biggest, the most iconic, the most important, and so on. The overheated writing does Gettysburg no favors, but director Adrian Moat and the other filmmakers' decision to focus on a variety of individuals on both sides was a wise one. Thus we learn about characters like Maj. Gen. Dan Sickles of the North, who had killed his wife's lover before the war and successfully used "the first plea of temporary insanity in U.S. history" to win acquittal; Pvt. Amos Humiston, another Yank, who died on the streets of the Pennsylvania town with nothing to identify him except a photo of his three sons; Confederate Lt. Gen. Dick Ewell, who had vowed revenge after losing a leg earlier in the war; Col. James Wallace, a Marylander who was both a Union officer and slave owner; and numerous others. In the end, it's these portraits that help distinguish the program from the many, many others of its ilk. --Sam Graham

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not sure what they were trying to do 12 Aug 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Well, I finally decided to buy the movie, and have now watched it. I don't think I could sit through it again.

It's done on an ambitious scale - it looks like what it claims to be, a presentation of small elements of a major battle, and it gives an overview of the battle which is of wider scope than anything I've seen before. Photography is excellent, as you would expect, though I became fatigued by the relentless slo-mo close ups of exploding bullet wounds.

I'm really not certain why I found that it grated. I was not offended by anything as important as the cap badges(!), but the technique of switching between the accounts of the personal view (the selected individuals used to illustrate the story) and the high-level grand plan view leaves a gap in the middle which makes it hard to follow - I would have liked to see more of a narrative at divisional level as well. The blood and gore is probably over-done - we get the idea very quickly that war is horribly brutal, and the constant focus on this aspect gets uncomfortably close to obsession at times. The talking heads were not particularly interesting - they could have been anyone, and most of what they added was well known or obvious anyway. I think mostly it is the over-earnestness of the commentary - moronically explaining "he is now in terrible danger" and so forth - yes, we had sort of picked up on that as well.

I'm left unsure what the film was trying to do, if only to justify the big budget. I don't think it said anything new about Gettysburg, I dont think the micro vs macro view idea works very well, and the gory presentation tells us that war is not pleasant, and then explains it over and over again for the benefit of slower viewers. It didn't really make it as education, and as entertainment it is very much inferior to the Gettysburg film from the Gods & Generals trilogy. I was disappointed - I wanted it to be better than that.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't even get the little things right. 20 May 2012
Immediately from the cover you've got an idea of what's coming. For serious American civil war officianados the soldiers hat badge in the picture is from the wrong decade! So good start for Mr.Scott. The film itself, even with those annoying omissions or errors is watch-able and rather than concentrating on Little Round Top it makes interesting work of the first day in the woodsw to the north of the town with the Iron Brigade and then Culp's Hill on the 1st and 2nd day, also looking at Dan Sickles disastrous foray into the Peach Orchard. It's more bloody and graphic than other popular media expressions of Gettysburg and draws the viewer into field hospitals and the contemporary methods of the day. Yes, buy a copy but remember this is for High School history lessons rather than serious historic reflection. For that you need to read books...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars so so 11 Feb 2013
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Very disappointing particularly when considering the directors .I found it very pedestrian and bitty.
It covered no new ground. Very Boring!
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Well, compared to the movie of the same name the Scotts got the beards right, and yes, war is hell, and yes, war is chaotic, whether for those in command or for those on the front line. And I wonder where this was actually filmed - it seemed more out west than back east, but that's a minor matter. More important is the Scotts' concentration upon the first three days of the battle, with the 4th July a mere afterthought. And there is no attempt to re-stage Little Round Top, done so well in Killer Angels and its subsequent movie Gettysburg. So there is a lot on the seizure of the town, and the attempts various to break through the fish-hook Union line, epitomised by Picket's struggle to break through at Cemetery Ridge, the fighting at the Angle being particularly well presented. There is much on failures of intelligence, front line leadership, battlefield wounds and their aftermath, all of which is suitably gory on a big screen in Blu-ray. But overall it is just another History Channel documentary, with some CGI. Elsewhere the Scotts though have long since raised the bar, so what there is here is nothing special. I suspect that many like me who responded to the prospect of a Scott take on this battle will be just a tad disappointed, or at least felt they should have waited to see it on cable television. The talking heads are fine, but even so there is little debate on the significance or development of the battle as I certainly now expect from something that claims to be History rather than just heritage. So, if this is someone's first encounter with this particular battle it has lots to offer, but what it doesn't do is direct anyone towards what else there is, which is a shame, as even Wikipedia offers suggestions for what else to read (there are none of the extras that I had expected). Read more ›
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ITS OK 17 Aug 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I love the history of the ACW.As a history lesson its not bad but as a history film by Ridley Scott it should have been a lot better.If you haven't had the pleasure of viewing the Film Gettysburg and Gods and Generals buy them rather than purchasing this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good entertainment if historically dubious 27 Sep 2012
By Mr. Christopher Harris VINE VOICE
I really like this film and if you want entertainment in this genre then I can highly recommend it.

However if you are a student of the American Civil War then this isn't an accurate source document. Still an interesting watch though!
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