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Washington won the Oscar, but all bring an A-game that swells with James Horner’s career best score, heightened even further by the ethereal voices of the Boys Choir of Harlem. Granted, much of it had to do with the dwindling supplies and resources in the southern states as the war dragged on than it did with any sort of pure malevolence, but Leone (with heavy revisionism) imagined that the better-funded Union was just as cruel to prisoners out of spite. Adapted from Charles Frazier’s 1997 book of the same name, Cold Mountain was a prestige picture intended to bleed Oscar gold. While the greater American conflict is mostly a stage for a blood and tears passion play between a young Irish immigrant (Leonardo DiCaprio) and the contradictory, bigoted father figure he swore to assassinate (Daniel Day-Lewis), it comes crashing into the overall narrative in fitting fashion. The top 30 films, all appearing on 3 or more “Best Civil War” movie lists, are ranked below by how many times they appear. The result is a big budget opera that is as messy as the cultural melting pot it idolizes with nostalgia and disdain—it is also just as undeniably fascinating. 13 of 21 Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997) Enjoy, for an excellent Civil War oriented binge watch (or re-watch) over your favorite American holidays. By joining the Bushwhackers (Confederate sympathizers) they fought as insurgents against their Jayhawk neighbors (Union ones). 1. The development of the war in their lives plays through to Lincoln's assassination and the birth of the Ku Klux Klan. Director Sergio Leone fancied himself as something of a history buff and had studied with great enthusiasm the horrors of the Andersonville camp years before the third part of his “Dollars Trilogy” came about. The Civil War 1861-1869. From the moment Confederate troops opened fire on Fort Sumter to its conclusion four years later, almost a million young Americans lost their lives, often to friends, family or neighbours. Naturally this is fertile ground for cinema, and here are eight of the best. Robert Gould Shaw - Civil War Colonel who led the 54th Regiment of the Massachusetts Army that is featured in the movie Glory. Based upon Daniel Woodrell’s Woe to Live On, Lee and screenwriter James Schamus turned the camera on the oft-forgotten about border wars of Missouri and Kansas. But for a film that attempts to narrate the entire 19th century American experience, it could not skip the Civil War, which appears as a segment directed by John Ford, and features Harry Morgan as Ulysses S. Grant and, of all people, John Wayne as William Tecumseh Sherman. But it makes for a powerful backdrop in one of the best Westerns ever made. The movies I’ve listed contain all or most of the issues listed above, and are in no particular order. Still, William Holden is terrific in the film, and it shines a light on the Vicksburg campaign where a Union cavalry unit led by Wayne and Holden disrupt Confederate supply lines. There’s our list. In this vein, we have assembled 12 of the best Civil War movies right here. Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944) . As it stands, Horse Soldiers is mostly a “men on a mission” adventure film that sugarcoats bloodshed as something closer to John Wayne pageantry. The conflict informed characters from many of his classics, including Stagecoach (1939), She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949), and The Searchers (1956), but Horse Soldiers is the rare instance he addressed the war head-on for a full feature length film. IMDB: 8.2/10. A multitude of experiences led to that fateful day outside of Fort Wagner, both for escaped slaves and free men, and all are explored and viscerally felt here. Over 150 years after the end of America's bloodiest conflict, we count down the 12 best Civil War films that have been released. Nonetheless, the film captures the tenor and philosophy of the Union and Confederate leaders very well (save for Martin Sheen’s strangely enfeebled Lee), and has moments of true transcendence, such as the Union bayonet charge led by Chamberlain at Little Round Top, and moments of agony, like the Confederate decimation on the third day during Pickett’s Charge. 50. The best sequences in the film involve Debbie Reynolds running off from her frontier-settling sister to the pains of “Greensleeves,” becoming a riverboat dancer and falling for Peck’s sheepish gambler. Thus, he claimed to understand the American Civil War, but scoffed at the concept that only the “losers” of the conflict committed such mistreatment to prisoners of war. The result is a fascinating, frustrated mess. Image: Amazon. A good place to start with any study of Civil War films is with the one that adapted arguably the definitive Civil War novel: The Red Badge of Courage. Don’t worry Rhett, you still got the last word. The film didn’t live up to such lofty aspirations, but it did net Zellweger her much sought-after Oscar. It tears the family apart, and forces a father to find his son after he is injured on the frontline. Unfortunately, one of the more famous ones is this 1966 Italian documentary which is nothing more than an exploitation film, showing the filmmakers transversing the African continent, visiting a perpetual stream of civil wars and genocidal conflicts. The Civil War is arguably the most trying time in American history: 600,000 men lost their lives during the five-year engagement, our country was almost divided, and a president assassinated. Hence why this 1951 film is considered a mutilated classic in some circles. However, The Red Badge of Courage film remains mostly a curiosity now given its visual style but undeniably slight influence. It is a nuanced account of the war where the “heroes” are shown early to slaughter unarmed family men, but the opposing Union antagonists will also murder Jake’s pro-Lincoln German father simply because he was Jake’s father. Here are a few movies based on American slavery that … Lincoln (2012): A bio-picture of the life of Abraham Lincoln during the closing stages of the Civil War focusing on his efforts to secure Congressional approval of adopting the 13th Amendment which abolished slavery.There is some profanity and racially charged language in the film. It is heavy handed, and not the film’s best segment, but like so much else with the Civil War, it feels torn between its loyalties. Inarguably one of the best films on this list, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly also is quite arguably a Civil War film. To be sure, Civil War re-enactors from around the country assembled in Pennsylvania for the first film ever shot on the actual battlefield/National Park it is set in—and the results are a little too clean and beautiful with surprisingly aged soldiers (re-enactors) bravely dying without an ounce of fear or hesitation. Lincoln correctly points out that as the war was winding down, the president recognized this and used his political clout, and some less than honest sausage making, to end slavery once and for all. By adapting Margaret Mitchell’s novel of the same name, producer David O. Selznick labored to make the most sweeping epic ever realized, and quite frankly succeeded with a film that still holds the record for the most tickets ever sold to a moving picture (sorry, Avatar and Avengers fans). The war movies Glory and Enemy at the Gates on Netflix. But whatever reservations I have about Gone with the Wind’s politics, there is no ignoring that it is a masterpiece of cinema. The Worst! In what I consider to be the most underrated film on this list, and certainly its director’s most overlooked picture, Ang Lee studied an American conflict from an outsider’s perspective for Ride with the Devil. Most films about the Civil War try to appear realistic, however much they bend the truth to dramatic effect. Not exactly John Ford’s best film, Horse Soldiers is one of the few times the legendary director ever directly dealt with the Civil War. The irony of this being only a few years after Wayne played Yankee-hating Texan hombre Ethan Edwards in The Searchers is alone worth the price of admission. And it has lived on in our fiction and our art. 9:30 AM 6/23/2016. Hollywood has been engaged in producing African American slavery movies for a quiet long time. A British-made film about the War of Independence was never likely to succeed with American audiences, but the box-office failure of this expensive, high-profile film did not necessarily stem from nationalistic prejudice. So when Clint Eastwood’s good anti-hero and Eli Wallach’s not-so-good, ugly bandit are captured by Union troops, they are tortured within an inch of their lives. As a North Carolinian myself, it is admirable to see a Southern Civil War experience far from the plantation life that is reminisced or mocked in so many other narratives. Votes: 287,621 | Gross: $198.68M. Indeed, it was also a nigh suicide mission issued to the first African-American infantry by the U.S. military, and they executed with valor and distinction. As the most utilized era for American literature in the 20th century, the Civil War has captured the imagination in many a book and story. This African American unit fought bravely in an effort to win freedom for themselves and all slaves. War movies released during wartime rarely have time to reflect. It could even be argued that Civil War-based classics like “Glory” or “Gettysburg” are outliers. Long before the sleep-inducing, Stonewall Jackson-worshipping Gods & Generals, Ronald F. Maxwell had much better success at recreating a Civil War saga with Gettysburg, an epic version of the battle that turned the tides of the Civil War. The film was filmed in Charleston, South Carolina and Atlanta and was the first collaboration between Spielberg and cinematographer Janusz Kaminski. Gone With the Wind (1939) Genre: Drama, Romance, War About: Love, The American Civil war. But it takes on a horrific, bloody visage when the protests turn to violence, and African-Americans are lynched in the street by a community meant to be on the side of Our Better Angels. While the film is mostly a comedy about staying above violence and familial life bearing many similarities in all generations, be it the 1950s or 1860s. There are few precious war films about Africa. Such Southern revisionism is ironically why Hollywood shied away from the subject years later, but it served as a monument to it here. Crane’s narrative instead focused on the psychological effects of the war from the perspective of a universally poignant young soldier, who is depicted as a human and not a Yankee carpetbagger. The Civil War is the central event in Americas historical consciousness. Cold Mountain: (2003) IMDb score: 7.2 Winner of 1 Oscar. Focused on Lee’s first and only effort to invade the North, which ended in ruin after three days of battle near the Pennsylvania town of Gettysburg, the four-hour picture was originally intended to be a miniseries. African Region: All of Africa. The most recent Steven Spielberg film is also one of the most deliberate and thoughtful in his catalogue. Day-Lewis gives another tour de force performance—in ironically a historic personage his Gangs of New York character despised—as a folksy and elaborately researched rendering of the president that preserved the Union and ended the institution that threatened it so greatly. The most interesting character in the film is Holt, who fights alongside these boys even after Clyde dies, providing an enigmatic figure that despises the Bushwhacker cause but shows a kinship with the ones who set him free. With so many rural young men sent to die for an institution they could not afford, the state’s futile suffering was only compounded. Class of '61 is a 1993 television film produced by Steven Spielberg as a projected television series about the American Civil War. Robert Gould Shaw commanded the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry into only one full-fledged battle before he lost his life (and the 54th lost over half their numbers). It was mainly fought on grounds of the fact whether it was okay to boycott slavery. The Stoneman family finds its friendship with the Camerons affected by the Civil War, both fighting in opposite armies. After it got the axe mid-production at ABC, Ted Turner picked it up initially for TNT, but eventually persuaded a distribution deal out of New Line. Get the best of Den of Geek delivered right to your inbox! The legendary story of Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh), a Georgian Southern belle forced to survive the Civil War by any means necessary, Gone with the Wind transcends its potential melodramatic underpinnings and nightmarish cycling through directors to achieve a vision of plantation gentility, Northern carpetbagging villainy, and Southern apology. Share movies about the american civil war? Ray Winstone also wonderfully embodies the viciousness of the Confederate Home Guard in the picture, an organization not known for its mercy toward deserters or their families. Set in Indiana during the Civil War, the film centers on a family of Quakers overseen by a doting and deeply religious mother/minister (Dorothy McGuire) and her slightly more worldly and apprehensive husband (Gary Cooper). However, his best friend is Jack Bull Chiles (Skeet Ulrich), a man from a family with gentry pretensions, albeit only George Clyde’s (Simon Baker) family is rich enough to own slaves—including Daniel Holt (Jeffrey Wright). Turning Lincoln’s life and the Civil War into a monster hunting story, it uses vampirism as a metaphor for … Ergo, Jake must be a Bushwhacker. It has even occasionally found its way to the big screen. Movies about The American Civil War: 8 movies, sorted by rating. The Girl Spy: An Incident of the Civil War; Glory (1989 film) Gods and Generals (film) Gone with the Wind (film) The Good, the Bad and the Ugly; Grand Canyonscope; Grandma's Boy (1922 film) Great Day in the Morning; The Great Locomotive Chase; The Guerrilla Pic credit: TriStar/Paramount. With Red Badge, Huston utilized “crime picture” (film noir) techniques with his black and white photography and vision, creating a darker chaotic atmosphere for hardly vainglorious war. Also, I actually think despite its more cynical elements, it is still a wonderfully harrowing tale that, much like Frazier’s novel, recounts another side of the Civil War. The film’s central hero of Jake Rodel (Tobey Maguire) isn’t even an American; he’s a German immigrant who traveled with his father as a boy to Missouri. But it was one gallant rush that has been eulogized and memorialized for generations. The 1895 novel by Stephen Crane is considered iconic by many, not least of all because it was published before Southern revisionism transformed the conflict for several generations as a Lost Cause romance between Southern gallantry and Northern aggression. By studying only a narrow timeline, Lincoln casts a large shadow about the political brilliance of its subject while demystifying the time and acrimony in which he lived. More a general commentary on the stupidity and pointlessness of war during the era when America was just ramping up its Vietnam madness, the Civil War in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly does not bear broad similarities to any specific event. The American Civil War (1861-65) was a catastrophic moment in US history. Another 19 wins & 101 nominations Yes, like the much more abhorrent Birth of a Nation (1915) before it, Gone with the Wind rewrites the history of the Civil War to be one of Southern aggrievement, whitewashing the horrors of slavery along the way. Eventually, the banality of violence is brought to a tipping when William Quantrill leads all of the above on his infamous ride to Lawrence, Kansas where stationed Union soldiers, free black citizens, and just about any male old enough to pick up a rifle is executed. The term became more eminent when the Americans started to slave the black people during the American Civil war. The American Civil War was fought between the north of the United States and the south. As they try to outdo each other, the violence of the American Civil War proves to be a major obstacle. Directors: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Sam Wood | Stars: Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Thomas Mitchell, Barbara O'Neil. Nonetheless, it represents an interesting reason as to why there are so few true blue Civil War movies in the latter half of the 20th century: a genuine distaste for the subject. Both men are united in that wonderful common cause, as seen in the final frame when they’re buried in a mass grave together. The film is led by a competent Matthew Broderick as Shaw, but the real power comes from its cast of volunteers that includes Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, Andre Braugher, and Jihmi Kennedy. With quotes such as "you have a face that only a mother could love," it's very easy to fall in love with … Until now my top Civil War series was the ubiquitous Ken burns production but I think this series it better if you actually want to understand the war rather than just look at old photos. After the film tested poorly with early screenings, MGM cut the film down to a barebones running time of 69 minutes, stitched together only by voiceover narration lifted straight from Crane’s prose. Ultimately, a Union private (George Peppard), who is the son of a previous generation of characters from earlier segments, saves his commander by being forced to kill a spy. Editor at Den of Geek delivered right to your inbox the Ku Klux.. 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