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Gettysburg [1993] [VHS]


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Product details

  • Actors: Tom Berenger, Martin Sheen, Stephen Lang, Richard Jordan, Andrew Prine
  • Directors: Ronald F. Maxwell
  • Writers: Ronald F. Maxwell, Michael Shaara
  • Producers: Moctesuma Esparza, Nick Lombardo, Robert Katz, Sandy Martin
  • Format: VHS
  • Language: English
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Warner
  • VHS Release Date: 13 May 1996
  • Run Time: 245 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004CQNT
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 240,794 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

An epic star-studded re-telling of one of the most famous land battles in history which took place in 1863 during the American Civil War. Over 50,000 men died during the three day battle.

From Amazon.co.uk

Thanks to generous funding from media mogul Ted Turner, first-time director Ronald F Maxwell was able to make an almost word-for-word adaptation of Michael Shaara's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Killer Angels. Running over four hours, Gettysburg (1993) splits into two convenient parts for TV viewing (although a 70mm print was given limited theatrical release). This story of three bloody days of conflict in July, 1863 (an unimaginable 50,000 casualties), is divided equally between Union and Confederate forces. On the Union side, Jeff Daniels is the quietly heroic Colonel Joshua Chamberlain; Sam Elliott is utterly convincing as General Buford, the Union cavalryman who holds the Confederate army at bay on the first day. Martin Sheen plays an oddly subdued and vacillating General Lee--a controversial portrait of the legendary Confederate chief--while Tom Berenger, despite being almost hidden underneath an enormous authentically period-style beard, is strong and authoritative as General Longstreet (whose opposition to Lee's plans gave many in the Confederacy a reason to blame him for the disaster at Gettysburg). Chamberlain's last-ditch defence of Little Round Top, which prevented the Union forces from being flanked on the second day of battle, forms the climax to the first half; the heartbreaking Pickett's Charge--the Confederates' disastrous frontal assault on the entrenched Union lines on the third day--is the movie's greatest set piece and one of the most compelling reasons to endure a little too much stodgy dialogue (lifted directly from the novel) and an apparently over-reverential attitude to the subject-matter. But much of this movie was made in and around the actual battle site, so it's only to be expected that the cast and crew tread carefully, as if literally under the watchful eyes of the men whose lives they are re-enacting. And re-enactment is the key: with a cast of thousands in splendidly detailed period costumes, cannonades galore and massed ranks of musketry, the sheer scale of the military spectacle is endlessly impressive. If as a piece of filmmaking it has many faults, as an historical re-enactment Gettysburg is unsurpassed--even by the epic Waterloo (1970), which drafted in a large chunk of the Russian army as Napoleonic extras. --Mark Walker

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

75 of 80 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 16 Jan. 2003
Format: VHS Tape
"Gettysburg" is based on Michael Shaara's novel "The Killer Angels," and both works focus on this crucial battle on July 1-3, 1863 through from the perspective of five key figures: The first day of the battle is dominated by Union Calvary General John Buford (Sam Elliot), who slowed the Confederate advance to preserve the precious high ground for the Federal army. The second day comes down to the efforts of Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (Jeff Daniels) and the 20th Maine, who hold the extreme left end of the Army of the Potomac at a crucial moment in the battle. The third day focuses on the clash of wills between General Robert E. Lee (Martin Sheen) and his veteran commander James "Pete" Longstreet (Tom Berenger), who have been arguing offense versus defense throughout the battle, climaxing in the fatal finality of Pickett's Charge. The focal figure of the Charge is Confederate General Lowell Armistead (Richard Jordan), who must attack the position defended by his best friend Winfield Scott Hancock, made all the more poignant by the fact that this was Jordan's final role; he died from a brain tumor the same year this film was released.
However, it is the character of Chamberlain who emerges as the hero from this film. Chamberlain was featured as well in the celebrated PBS documentary "The Civil War," and the result is that he has become the idealized citizen-soldier or gallant knight of the Union army. The result of his military and political career is almost as fascinating as his defense of Little Round Top, for which he received the Congressional Medal of Honor. Jeff Daniel's performance is certainly the finest of his career to date, and he gets to give an eloquent speech on the Civil War as a fight to make other men free.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Fortuna on 27 Nov. 2014
Format: DVD
The perfect gift for all historical movie enthusiasts is THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKERCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker
This is one of my favorite movies, and the comments of fans on this site notwithstanding, I think it was underrated. From the first time I saw it, it exemplified a personal theory that women (until very recently) rarely see men at their very finest, and that is unfortunately often (obviously not always)in battle. The courage, commitment and humanity that this movie portrays, on both sides of the conflict, moves me to tears every time, and the humanity is key. I don't know enough about the battle to point out any glaring historical inaccuracies, but the acting was exemplary across the board, with Jeff Daniels outstanding. The battle at Little Round Top is one of the finest movie scenes I've witnessed. I particularly like the expressions of respect and awe on the faces of Chamberlin's men when he tells them to "fix bayonets".

What's striking is that there was no "good" choice; there was a clear and compelling objective in a much bigger picture, and this schoolteacher rose to the challenge, and his men went with him. This movie conveys a lot-through the long philosophical discourses and the action-about how people behave when they are inextricably joined with other people, for a cause that they don't fully understand, charged with a responsibility that no individual should bear, and with the desire mainly to return to the way things were before. It conveys a lot about true leadership and sacrifice. It conveys that individual choices and motivations always impact others, sometimes on huge scales.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sebastian Palmer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 31 Aug. 2014
Format: DVD
What a wonderful film! I did wonder, at first, if the acres of very obviously fake beards and moustaches might spoil it, but the slightly comic effect wears off after a short while (but ratchets up again massively for a moment, when Jeb Stuart finally appears, in disc 2).

I really wanted to watch some ACW movies after watching the fabulous Ken Burns ACW documentary series. This proved to be, pretty much, exactly the kind of thing I was after. Some pan this film for its script and direction, and I will admit that there's perhaps an air of over-reverence, but, all things considered, in the end I enjoyed it a lot.

Gettysburg, often described as the pivotal battle of the ACW, occurring midway through the conflict, and marking the 'high tide' of Lee's incursion into the North, gets a properly lavish two-disc treatment, totalling more than four hours (the standard release being approx 4 hrs 15 mins, whilst the director's cut adds about 15 mins more).

Despite a very impressive roster of stars, not all the casting works for me, Martin Sheen as Robert E. Lee being the chief concern. It's a challenging role, given the reverence Lee is generally accorded, but Sheen ends up seeming almost away with the fairies, especially set against Tom Berenger's cautious and grounded Gen. Longstreet. Having said this, it's not that big a deal: Sheen is a good actor, and does a good job, it's just that the film's portrayal of this character doesn't quite chime with my minds' eye view of Lee.
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