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4.0 out of 5 stars153
4.0 out of 5 stars
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on 25 January 2011
A brilliant film,very well documented,and well acted,it was good in its content and factual portrail of one of the darkest times in American history,and as a former civil war re-enactor the battle scenes were bang on(no pun intended)and i have recommended this film to my many civil war re-enactor friends as well as fellow westerners,
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on 4 November 2013
This boxed set of Gods and Generals and Gettysberg, gave me an insight into the history of the American Civil War. The movies show the human side of war, from both sides of the conflict. You were drawn into the story, feeling the emotions of the characters, made possible by the fantastic cast of actors.
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on 6 January 2013
Well, both films are unquestionable Civil War classics, with very fine cinematography, directing and acting... and yet I could not help asking myself "why can't the film's characters speak like normal people? - why do they deliver only patriotic speeches - even when speaking to each other at home?"
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on 6 September 2009
I have seen this movie in the past & its very good. I have visited a lot of civil war sites when in the states & know a lot of the conflict of 1861 to 65. Gods & Generals is based arround where my sister now lives in Virginia. It includes the battles of Spotsylvania & Fredricksburg.
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on 3 June 2013
Certainly a great box set and it was promptly dispatched after purchased
It was great to sit and watch this history being displayed and showing the costs to families and what was the final outcome in a human aspect.
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on 18 June 2005
If as I did you are going to buy this on the strength of having seen "Gettysburg" you may be disappointed. At the best it is a overlong moderately good civil war film for the buff and no-one else. Jeff Daniels who was oustanding in "Gettysburg" is only moderate in this. Not least because, as has been mentioned, he got older before he got younger. You could argue that he became gaunter as the war progressed but not convincingly, he needed to diet. The continuity is odd the distant shots of the Frederickburg battlefield are the same scene almost throughout the battle. "Stonewall" Jackson was a much, much odder character than shown here where he seems more of a sanctimonious bore. And the episodes with the child are straight out of the John Ford school of drama.
But if you like rolling battles this is as good as any and better than most in spite of its faults. But if you have to choose make "Gettysburg" your first choice.
p.s. "Stonewall" wasn't standing as a stone wall he appeared in the film to be moribund at the time. Perhaps the director had neglected to give him anything productive to do.
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on 8 June 2005
I watched Gettysburg many many years ago and i loved it i couldnt wait for a sequel it never came!!! I have waited 10 years for a film like this and what a film this is amazing! It is just as good as Gettysburg if not better if portrays both sides of the American civil war during the first few years of the war!
Definatly one to go out and buy even if you know nothing about the American civil war!
Oliver Marpole
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on 24 June 2009
A film I had been looking forward to see for quite sometime yet when I finally did get to see it I felt disappointed. Robert Duvall is an actor whose talents I have long been fond of. In this film he does play the part well, yet nevertheless with a script that seemed quite clunky along with too many coinciding storylines I felt the film did not allow the viewer to actually connect with any of the charcters sufficiently so as to actually feel apathy towards them.

The one good point this film has is attention to detail. Dates, flags, regiments, names, places are all meticulously put in place for the historian's pleasure however the film-lover is left wanting. For a Civil War 'epic' I thought the soundtrack was forgetable, but most of all I found Stepehn Lang's portrayal of Stonewall Jackson to be bland and tedious on screen, and felt Duvall's Lee portrayal was not given enough screen time, especially as he was by far the strongest actor in the production. Dialogue in many places seemed unrealistic and rather dull. For a war film it failed to create a sense of excitement for this viewer and even following the character's personal lives failed to endear me to them.

An ambitious film that falls short
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on 23 February 2014
This box set is excellent value for money. The 2 DVDs cover some of the major battles up to 3 July 1863. Gettysburg is one of my favourite films.
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on 9 July 2012
I am neither a Civil War historian nor a movie critic, but despite the overwhelmingly negative reviews "Gods and Generals" received by most movie critics at the time of its release I would argue this is still a great piece of American cinema despite the glaring flaws of the movie version. The Director's Cut fills in many of the gaps and makes the experience all the more powerful and enjoyable, though few can sit through 4 hours and 39 minutes in one sitting. Had this been released as it now appears in three parts just as "John Adams" this would have been hailed a great American epic. True, many of the actors who did such an outstanding job in "Gettysburg" were not able to reprise their roles, e.g., Martin Sheen as Robert E. Lee or Tom Berenger as Longstreet, but Stephen Lang turns out a very fine performance as Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, and if James Robertson's 800 page bio of Jackson is any indication, then "Gods and Generals" does a fine job of portraying a lively version of the Confederate general, for in real life only Jeb Stuart was able to make him laugh. Lang's Jackson captures both the piety and the gravitas of the general's persona without making a grim caricature of the man. Other pluses of the Directors' Cut are the battle scenes of Antietam only hinted at in the movie version. In this version the reason for Lee's first invasion of the North is given (1 hour and 22 minutes into the film) and then the battle in the wheat field near Sharpsburg, MD lasts some seven minutes, though Jackson's own involvement in that engagement as well as his role at Fredericksburg are not shown here.

Few other battles besides Waterloo and Gettysburg have received as much cinematic treatment as the battle of Fredericksburg that took place before Christmas of 1862 and which was Union retaliation for Lee's first invasion of the North. The Director's Cut of the battle is almost an hour long focusing primarily on the failed and horrific assault on Marye's heights where 7,500 Union soldiers were mowed down in just a few hours as wave after wave of Union troops were sent uphill towards the stone wall that lay towards the bottom of the heights. This colossal mistake presages Lee's own miscalculation in the sequel, "Gettysburg," where Lee himself orders Pickett's brigade of 5,000 men to march a mile across an open field under heavy artillery bombardment. The northern pillaging of the town of Fredericksburg shown here infuriated the Confederacy, only steeling its resolve to fight against perceived northern aggression whereas Lee's smashing victory at Chancellorsville also shown here in detail encouraged him to launch his second invasion of the North that would end the Confederacy's chances of a military resolution to the War. The victories at Manassas, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville - all shown here - encouraged Lee to make the very same mistakes later that Burnside makes here at Fredericksburg, which is why that battle receives so much treatment in this film. The cinematic treatment of Fredericksburg in "Gods and Generals" is intended to balance out Lee's disastrous order for Pickett's Charge in "Gettysburg." The Union men shouting, "Fredericksburg" behind the stone wall at Gettysburg shows how the two horrific assaults are intended to be viewed as a whole, demonstrating the horror BOTH sides experienced.

SPOILER ALERT: A few other interesting pluses of the Extended Edition are interesting vignettes of John Wilkes Booth playing both MacBeth and then later Brutus in Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar." Afterwards he is asked whether he considered Brutus a villain or a hero. (All the more relevant given that he exclaimed, "Sic semper tyrannus!" after assassinating Lincoln.) Lincoln is also shown in the theater, and there are some other humorous episodes of Stonewall Jackson that are worth viewing, especially if you have some appreciation for the man given that "Gods and Generals" is something of an homage to Jackson.

To my mind the major flaw of "Gods and Generals" is the extended coverage of too many peripheral characters, most of whom come across as just a tad too quaint, genteel and Christian for many modern viewers. The length of the movie makes it almost unwatchable in one sitting, and there is a tad too much praying and speechifying going on, but this is still a monumental tribute to one of America's most defining moments. That Ted Turner financed the entire enterprise and was rewarded so thanklessly is a shame, for "Gods and Generals" is more than a history lesson, though it will be best appreciated if broken up into morsels.
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