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74 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Killer Angels" magnificently brought to the big screen
"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...
Published on 16 Jan 2003

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A film of two halves
As a big fan of the book "The Killer Angels" on which this film is based, I was slightly disappointed. The first half is very good, showing the set-up of this famous battle and the horrific close-quarter fighting of the second day. The second half - which should feature the awful tragic drama of 'Pickett's Charge' is oddly paced and loses rather than gains...
Published 16 months ago by M. D. Ripley


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74 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Killer Angels" magnificently brought to the big screen, 16 Jan 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Gettysburg [1993] [VHS] (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. His interplays with veteran Sergeant "Buster" Kilrain (Kevin Conway) deal with the war on a philosophical level, which is not surprising because the man is a college professor. But in the heat of battle he proves himself, and while we cannot imagine ourselves being Robert E. Lee, we can identify with Chamberlain. The end result is that the best part of the film comes not at the end, but before the intermission.
Every year I watch "Gettysburg" on the four days covered in the film, June 30 and July 1-3 (then on the 4th of July I watch "1776"). Only "Glory" is on this level in terms of depicting Civil War battles. This film touches me with the opening credits, where the photographs of these real soldiers are replaced with those of the actors playing them. This is quite evocative, especially when Randy Edleman's evocative score swells as we see the face and name of George Pickett. Even if you have never seen this movie you have undoubtedly heard Edleman's score, which has been used to advertise several films and for the closing credits of the Olympics broadcast. It should have been nominated for an Oscar.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Worthy DVD Version, 26 Jun 2005
By 
E. A. Redfearn "eredfearn2" (Middlesbrough) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Gettysburg (Double sided DVD) [1993] (DVD)
Perhaps the greatest battle ever fought on American soil, a battle which changed American history forever, brought to the screen by Turner Entertainment gets a worthy DVD release. Released on a single disc which is a flipper, it is supplemented by extras which are worthy of the price alone. There is a very good documentary The Making of Gettysburg which should be seen by all movie enthusiasts and historians alike. It can be seen how much actual work and detail went into the making of this extraordinary picture. Also allows the viewer to develop a greater understanding of the events of the battle and the effect it had not only on the two armies involved, but also on the United States as a whole. The movie itself has already been well reviewed, therefore it needs no further comment from me. Suffice to say, it is a good buy indeed, and should not be missed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant., 13 July 2013
This review is from: Gettysburg (Double sided DVD) [1993] (DVD)
I have just finished watching this film for the first time and felt compelled to write this review. I put off viewing Gettysburg for quite a while due to some reviews stating that the film was overly long with masses of pointless or uninteresting dialogue in between the actions sequences but in the end decided to give it a go anyway. I am so very glad I did.
This film is magnificent. The action sequences are depicted brilliantly with each of the major actions of the battle given ample screen time. Each portion of the battle is captured in such a way that it is as if you are in the action; everything feels real. In fact the only negative is that there is no blood and gore so it loses a little of its realism (not that I would wish the film to be a gore-fest but I do think that blood sprays and such would have added to the atmosphere).
Of course there are still those supposedly 'dull' dialogue scenes. However, I never found any of them dull, boring, out of place or unnecessary. Some of the dialogue was perhaps a little flowery but each and every scene gave you an insight into the personal lives of the men involved or a greater understanding of the decisions that turned the fate of this decisive American Civil War battle. I found them very interesting for the most part.
The film follows most closely the Confederate Generals Robert E Lee (Martin Sheen) and James Longstreet (Tom Berenger), and Union Colonel Joshua Chamberlain (Jeff Bridges). Each of these actors is simply amazing and utterly convincing as their characters. Bridges in particular is magnetic as the heroic Chamberlain.
Utterly brilliant and compelling from start to finish. This is not a movie, this is a time travel device. You do not watch Gettysburg; You are there.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Reconstruction of the Battle, and the People in it, 7 Dec 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Gettysburg [1993] [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This is not only a excellent battle reconstruction video, it is also a serious drama and seeks to analysis why and how the various people involved in it reacted to the situation they faced. At one level it is a very good historical reconstruction of two of the main events of the Battle of Gettysburg, Roundtop and Picket's charge. At another level it is an examination of the lives of the people involved, at all levels, and what happened at a critical turning point in the American Civil War. Well acted and produced, for those who are interested in history, or military history this film is a must. Not only is ther dedicated historical reconstruction there isd a sense of time, place and history that is evaocative.Buy it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stands Alone for what it was meant to be !, 25 April 2011
This review is from: Gettysburg (Double sided DVD) [1993] (DVD)
As a movie which sets out to tell the story of the three day battle that took place at Gettysburg,Pennsylvania between the armies of the Confederacy and the Unionists between the 1st and the 3rd July 1863 and the days leading upto it then THIS film ably achieves that AND MORE.Of that there can be no doubt.The transfer of Michael Shaara's award winning book "The Killer Angels" to film is completed genuinely and considerately.
Exec.Producers Katz and Esparza stated that they had enormous difficulty finding a major studio willing to invest money in making this epic movie but finally found that Ted Turner was interested in the project.Written and Directed by Ronald Maxwell,Gettysburg tells the story of the worst type of war where brother is pitched against brother and uncle against nephew,all for their differing views or for where they may live and for what army they are EXPECTED to support and fight for?
It tells of Col.Joshua Chamberlain(Jeff Daniels) a Professor who knows nothing about fighting but who has the respect of his men for the decent way he treats them and earns the merit of other more senior officers in battle.Of Gen.Longstreet(Tom Berenger)2nd in Command to Robert.E.Lee (Martin Sheen) Of "Picketts Charge" on Day 3 of the Battle when a suicidal mission was undertaken?
More than 53,000 men died at The Battle of Gettysburg on both sides during the three days - that's more than the total of American dead in the Vietnam War (see extras)!
When you hear the comments from ANY of the 5,000 plus extras that were used to make this film,(They were so honoured to be taking part in the film and actually seeing the cannon fire and to be treading on the battlefield where many of their ancestors had fought) that were NOT just extras but were in fact ALL re-enactors who ALL had their OWN costumes AND full equipment including guns,ammo,tobacco pouches etc some of which THEY loaned to the FILM CREW,as Sam Elliott said, "this film couldn't have been made without THEM", it really brings a lump to your throat.
A wonderfully made film of the genre.
Manys fine actors,all stars-Richard Jordan-Stephen Lang-C.Thomas Howell-Kevin Conway - Richard Anderson -
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an achievement, 11 April 2011
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This review is from: Gettysburg (Double sided DVD) [1993] (DVD)
This is one of the best movies I have ever seen. The sheer scale of the tragedy at Gettysburg was overwhelming to one who knew nothing of the American Civil War. The movie itself is just magnificent. The stars of the show are the ,literally, thousands of re-enactors (this is no criticism of Tom Berenger, Martin Sheen et al) who make it seem as though the actual battle is being fought before your eyes. The extras are extraordinary. Commentaries and explanations by historians and the director are some of the features which make this a special movie. Ted Turner (who has a small, memorable part as one of Gen. Patton's ancestors) should be very proud of his work here. This really is an achievement as much as a movie.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Film About the Turning Point in the American Civil War., 25 Feb 2011
This review is from: Gettysburg (Double sided DVD) [1993] (DVD)
Gettysburg is a very good film about the largest and bloodiest battle of the US Civil War. It is interesting and well acted but suffers from two minor flaws. Firstly, it is increadibly long with a large cast of characters and multiple stories which at times takes away from the pace of the central narrative. Secondly, the film makers do seem to have over-romanticised the reasons the ordinary soldiers give for why they are fighting. Overall though it is still a very good film.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gettysburg DVD, 9 Dec 2010
This review is from: Gettysburg (Double sided DVD) [1993] (DVD)
This is an amazing film in all respects full of action as you would expect but
filmed with great attention to detail. The acting is very good and although it is
an action film it also has its emotional scenes. The film score is excellent.
I had not studied the American Civil War in any great depth but this motion picture
has made me want to know more.Well acted,well filmed brilliant musical score 5 stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Birth Pains of America, 20 April 2009
By 
JM Cunningham (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Gettysburg (Double sided DVD) [1993] (DVD)
I came to buy and view Gettysburg via another film in the same timeline; that being `Gods and Generals'. That film, which covered the commencement of the American Civil War to the untimely death of the Confederacy's greatest General, `Stonewall' Jackson; which could have been outstanding, was ruined by the screen- and script-writers' insistence on giving the leading characters long, very long, soliloquys, mainly religious in essence, to attempt to explain their actions and planning during the campaign. Needless to say, this turned the audiences off, and the film was itself a commercial failure; but it did spur me to check what else was available, and that is how I came to buy `Gettysburg'.

The fact that the two armies, North and South, came together at that small Pennysylvania town was sheer coincidence, as the scouts for both Armies nearly missed one anothers' massed Corps, and that was how a Northern Cavalry General grasped the fact that his men could take and hold the high ground ahead of any Southern attempt to force-march towards the same area.

The film was shot on the very battle grounds which were soaked in American blood, and together with the thousands of Re-Enactment volunteers, who came together with their muskets, uniforms and horses, gives an air of reality to the screenplay which was unique in it's verisimilitude.

The film concentrates on three leading roles, General Robert E. Lee and General Kingstreet for the Confederacy, and Lieutenant-Colonel Chamberlain of the 20th Maine Infantry for the Union; because it was the Maine men who took the brunt of the attacks on the left flank of the Union Line at Little Round Top, an attack which was finally repulsed by a massed bayonet charge by the Union soldiers, bayonets because they had no more ammunition!

Lee is shown as moving, on the third day, towards a plan which was totally against the methods which had brought him so much success previously, and while Longstreet argued against it, the plan was solidified, and `Pickett's Charge' was set in motion. A charge of fifteen thousand men, which in actuality was a steady walk over a mile uphill straight into the massed artillery of four Corps of the Union Army, and aiming straight at the positions which, by some strange coincidence, was where the 20th Maine Regiment had been placed because, "Colonel, the Brass want your Regiment rested, you'll be right in the centre of our line, and there ain't no-one stupid enough to march towards you!"

The battle scenes were filmed while those soldier actors walked the same fields as their forefathers, and as one `officer' remarked, "the guys are crying as they march because they are living the history all over again!"

A fantastic film, well worthy of the time when America was born again!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Killer Angels, 10 Nov 2007
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Gettysburg (Double sided DVD) [1993] (DVD)
Gettysburg is actually the second part in an intended trilogy that will now probably never be completed in the wake of the dismal box-office for the bloated Gods and Generals. Thankfully it gains more by having a smaller canvas, focussing on one single battle and largely on three actions - Buford's inspired initial defense on the first day, Little Round Top and Pickett's Charge - and by seeing the action from the viewpoint of both sides throughout. The characters are better drawn, the dialogue feels more natural and you get much more of a sense of what a human tragedy the war was. As a British observer on the Confederate side points out, it all boils down to "same people, different dreams."

The problem with most epics devoted to single battles or campaigns (Waterloo, Zulu Dawn, The Battle of Neretva etc) is that without a single dominating personality they often get so bogged down with history or strategy that the human element gets lost, with a succession of stars acting almost like anonymous interchangeable sports commentators only there to explain what's going on for the layman. Gettysburg has its share of characters primarily there for exposition, but by narrowing its focus to a few of them and drawing on their own letters and memoirs it's able to give them a little more depth and personality. Martin Sheen's Lee's increasingly wrong-headed strategy as he consigns more and more men to pointless deaths with a homespun rationale that leads to horrifying casualties contrasts well with Tom Berenger's more cautious Longstreet gradually realising that the tide has turned against them while Jeff Daniels' awkward but sincere Lawrence Chamberlain gives a humane and decent voice to the Union's case. Richard Jordan is genuinely affecting in his last role - his final scene is even more moving with the knowledge that he really was dying at the time - and even George Lazenby even turns up briefly. As a result, there's more involvement in what's happening and more understanding of what's at stake on a personal level to both sides during the battle. Although shot as a TV miniseries before being released theatrically, it actually looks like a feature film, and one that manages to hold the interest over its four hour running time. It's such an impressive piece of work that you can't help but wonder why so many of the same people got it so wrong so often on Gods and Generals.

Excellent extras on the double-sided DVD, but sadly none of the deleted scenes from the 270-minute laserdisc director's cut.
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Gettysburg (Double sided DVD) [1993]
Gettysburg (Double sided DVD) [1993] by Ronald F. Maxwell (DVD - 2004)
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