Gods and Generals

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Overview

Director Ron Maxwell and producer Ted Turner return to the glory and tragedy of the Civil War in this historical drama, a prequel to Gettysburg, which examines the early days of the conflict through the experiences of three men. Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain Jeff Daniels left behind a quiet life and a career as a college professor to become one of the Union's greatest military minds. Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson Stephen Lang was, like Chamberlain, a man of great religious faith who served in the defense of ...
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Overview

Director Ron Maxwell and producer Ted Turner return to the glory and tragedy of the Civil War in this historical drama, a prequel to Gettysburg, which examines the early days of the conflict through the experiences of three men. Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain Jeff Daniels left behind a quiet life and a career as a college professor to become one of the Union's greatest military minds. Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson Stephen Lang was, like Chamberlain, a man of great religious faith who served in the defense of the Confederacy. And Gen. Robert E. Lee Robert Duvall, who led the Confederate army, was a man who was forced to choose between his loyalty to the United States and his love of the Southern states where he was born and raised. As Chamberlain, Jackson, and Lee are followed through the declaration of war and the battles at Manassas, Antietam, Frederickburg, and Chancellorsville, the film also introduces us to the many supporting players in the epic tale of the war between the States, among them the women these men left behind, among them Fanny Chamberlain Mira Sorvino and Anna Jackson Kali Rocha. Based on a novel by Jeff Shaara, Gods and Generals also features a new song written and performed by Bob Dylan.
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Ron Maxwell, who directed the brilliant Gettysburg some years ago, brings us another sprawling Civil War saga, which is opulently mounted and painstakingly re-created to an almost fetishistic degree. Robert Duvall’s portrayal of Confederate general Robert E. Lee is dignified and, perhaps more important, refreshingly free of the Actors Studio-type quirkiness that occasionally mars his performances. But top-billed Stephen Lang, best known for his character work in supporting roles, dominates the film with his turn as General "Stonewall" Jackson, who sacrifices everything -- including, ultimately, his life -- for the cause of Southern secession. Gods and Generals focuses on the bloody campaigns that unfolded in the conflict’s early years, when it seemed that the rebels had a real chance of breaking free from the Union. Maxwell occasionally sacrifices dramatic effect to present the battle sequences with documentary-style accuracy: Individual fighting units are named in subtitles, military tactics are precisely rendered, and the period settings, costumes, and weaponry are duplicated with relentless accuracy. The film is truly larger than life, which makes it hard for supporting players to make much of an impression, but special mention should be made of Jeff Daniels portraying Lt. Col. Joshua Chamberlain, the erstwhile Yankee professor who entered the war reluctantly, and became one of its heroes. Also noteworthy are C. Thomas Howell seen of late only in direct-to-video potboilers as Sgt. Thomas Chamberlain and Donzaleigh Abernathy, who registers strongly as a slave who remains in a Southern home when its owners evacuate. At 220 minutes, Gods and Generals is seriously overlong, and the film's pro-Southern bias may offend some viewers and delight others, but Civil War buffs in particular will find it an absorbing and engaging tour of duty.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/15/2003
  • UPC: 085392329632
  • Original Release: 2003
  • Rating:

  • Source: Warner Home Video
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Robert Duvall Gen. Robert E. Lee
Stephen Lang Gen. Thomas 'Stonewall' Jackson
Jeff Daniels Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain
Mira Sorvino Fanny Chamberlain
Bruce Boxleitner Lt. General James Longstreet
Kevin Conway Sgt. Buster Kilrain
C. Thomas Howell Tom Chamberlain
Frankie R. Faison Jim Lewis
Matt Letscher Col. Adelbert Ames
Jeremy London Alexander "Sandie" Pendleton
William Sanderson Gen. A. P. Hill
Kali Rocha Anna Morrison Jackson
Brian Mallon Brig. General Winfield Scott Hancock
Mia Dillon Jane Beale
Donzaleigh Abernathy Martha
George Allen Confederate Officer
Bo Brinkman Major Walter H. Taylor
Robert Byrd Confederate General
Bill Campbell Gen. George Pickett
Ryan Cutrona Gen. Marsena Patrick
Robert Easton John Janney
Joseph Fuqua Col. J.E.B. Stuart
Phil Gramm Virginia Delegate
Lydia Jordan Jane Corbin
Edward Markey Irish Brigade Officer
Dana Rohrbacher 20th Maine Officer
R. E. Turner Col. Tazewell Patton
Alex Hyde-White Ambrose Burnside
Mark Aldrich Adjutant
Keith Allison Capt. James J. White
Royce D. Applegate Brig. General James L. Kemper
Buck Taylor Gen. Maxcy Gregg
Mac Butler Gen. Joseph Hooker
Shane Callahan Bowdoin Student
David Carpenter Rev. Beverly Tucker Lacy
John Castle Old Penn
Jim Choate Gen. Bernard Bee
Martin Clark Dr. George Junkin
Chris Clawson Charles Beale
Chris Conner John Wilkes Booth
Scott Allen Cooper Lt. Joseph Morrison
Devin Cromwell Caset Charlie Norris
Scott Davidson Sam Beale
Justin Dray George Jenkins
Miles Fisher John Beale
Keith Flippen Maj. Gilmore
Bourke Floyd Longstreet's Courier
David Foster Captain Ricketts
Dennis Frye Griffin's Aide
James Garrett Gen. John Curtis Caldwell
Karen Goberman Lucy Beale
Alexander Gordon Martha's Older Son
Patrick Gorman Brig. Gen. John Bell Hood
Bo Gray Poague
Bo Greigh Pvt. Pogue
Fred Griffith Gen. Robert Rodes
Karen Hochstetter Roberta Corbin
James Horan Col. Cummings
Conn Horgan Dooley
Ben Hulan Lieutenant
Sam Hulsey Julian Beale
Les Kinsolving Gen. William Barksdale
Damon Kirsche Harry McCarthy
Lew Knopp Jackson's Courier
Rosemary Knower Mary Lincoln
James Thomas Lawler Another Looter
Matt Lindquist Johann Heros Von Borcke
Doug Lory 2nd Irishman
Daniel J. Jesus Manning Maj. John Harman
Tom Mason Old Man in Fredericksburg
Jonathan Maxwell Capt. Ellis Spear
Malachy McCourt Francis P. Blair
Terry McCrea Captain
Andrew McOmber II Young Corporal
Rosemary Meacham Hattie
Marquis Moody Martha's Younger Son
Peter Neofotis Wounded Maine Man
Mark Nichols Surgeon in Fredericksburg
Carsten Norgaard Gen. Darius Nash Couch
Tim O'Hare Lt. Col. Clair Mulholland
Sean Pratt Dr. Hunter Holmes McGuire
Jasmyn Proctor Martha's Daughter
John Prosky Gen. Lewis Armistead
Kyle Prue Wounded Maine Soldier
W. Joseph Quam 1st Irishman
Ted Rebich Looter #3
Tim Ruddy Pvt. McMillan
Noel Schwab Colston's Officer
Morgan Sheppard Gen. Isaac Trimble
Christie Lynn Smith Catherine Corbin
Michael Sorvino Federal Soldier
Stephen Spacek Capt. James Power Smith
Dana Stackpole Lottie Estelle
Matthew Staley Lieutenant Boswell
David Stifel Rev. David S. Jenkins
James Patrick Stuart Col. E. Porter Alexander
Stephen Leonard Sullivan Federal Soldier
Dechen Thurman
Tyler Trumbo Young Wellford
Christopher Crutchfield Walker Looter
Trent Walker McClintock
Scott Watkins Gen. Raleigh Colston
Technical Credits
Ronald F. Maxwell Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Suzanne Arden Associate Producer
Gregory W.M. Bolton Art Director
Donald P.H. Eaton Asst. Director
Randy Edelman Score Composer
Corky Ehlers Editor
Moctesuma Esparza Executive Producer
David Franco Musical Direction/Supervision
John Frizzell Score Composer
Dennis Frye Associate Producer
Nick Grillo Co-producer
Stephen Halbert Sound/Sound Designer
Casey Hallenbeck Set Decoration/Design
Michael Z. Hanan Production Designer
Martin G. Hubbard Set Decoration/Design
Robert Katz Executive Producer
Patricia Klawonn Set Decoration/Design
Richard La Motte Costumes/Costume Designer
Mace Neufeld Executive Producer
Kees Von Oostrum Cinematographer
Robert G. Rehme Executive Producer
Jeff Shaara Associate Producer
Jonathan J. Short Set Decoration/Design
Ronald G. Smith Executive Producer
Joy Todd Casting
Stan Tropp Set Decoration/Design
Ted Turner Executive Producer
Kees Van Oostrum Cinematographer
Robert J. Wussler Executive Producer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 38 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(14)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(8)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 38 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 29, 2014

    Awful.

    Awful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Disappointing after Gettysburg

    I loved the movie Gettysburg and found it very educational and movie about a troubling time in American history. That being said I was very disappointed in Gods and Generals. It seemed overly fanatic with its religious overtones, and while some people have commented that these religious depictions are rather accurate, that doesn't mean we had to listed to rapturous monologues spoken toward heaven during the entire movie. The progression was slow and while I don't expect a lot of flash in movies that historical stories to tell, I do expect them to keep me engaged.
    I gave the movie one star for those people who want to see how the world does things in the name of religion. If so, this film is for you. Otherwise keep your money in your pocket.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Wonderful movie

    Great for family viewing. It shows the Godly character of the Confederate generals. Normal battle scenes.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    An accurate portrayal.

    This movie and the book on which it is based offers an insight into the difference in civil war leaders. Some are great soldiers and leaders. The rest are Political appointments and pretenders. When faced with great deciaions, many are indecisive and even cowardly. Offers lessons about military leaders from every era.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Fantastic, long movie. If you love American history, this is a movie to watch!

    I enjoyed this movie even though it was very long. Would recommend it to anyone. The motion picture soundtrack to this movie is also very good.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    What might have been

    Having watched this film and the follow up of Gettysburg you wonder what the result might have been if Jackson had survived to be at Gettysburg instead of Euel who refused to take Cemetary Ridge. Jackson would have charged in and possibly denied the Union forces the high ground. I have also read the books on which the films were based and the production is excellent. Accuracy when it count.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Poor in Content

    Why would you recast Stephan Lang as Stonewall Jackson, is one of my first questions. He is just terrible as Jackson, and the performance of Duvall as Lee is marred with so many inconsisties, I can't vouch for him this time. It was pathetic. Chamberlain was great, but the others could have stayed home.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    An utter disappointment

    After the stunning triumph that was ''Gettysburg,'' it took them a decade to mount a production of ''Gods and Generals,'' based on Jeff Shaara's prequel to his father Michael's award-winning novel. While Jeff's novel wasn't much of a worthy successor to his father's work, it was certainly better than this travesty. None of the things that made ''Gettysburg'' great were in evidence here. The film seems so wrapped up in its own self-importance that it forgets to be entertaining. While Martin Sheen was a bit of flawed casting as Lee in ''Gettysburg,'' he's still a far sight better than Robert Duvall, whose performance can at best be described as somnambulant. The scenes with Jackson and the little girl are ridiculous, and even the big speeches, which were so riveting in ''Gettysburg,'' fall apart here. Do yourself a favor and just don't bother.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Great for Historical Content

    Recently I watched this movie for a project in my U.S. History class. I had learned about the events of the Civil War before and it followed the events nicely and was generally easy to follow with its accurate historical content. Although this did go along with the members of the Union Army, the main view of General “Stonewall” Jackson and the Confederate Army gives a new perspective on what it was like for fighting in the Civil War as a southern. Jackson’s personal and military life is followed as he wishes to be home with his wife and new daughter and his military planing along with Gernal Robert E. Lee. I recommend this for anyone who loves to learn about U.S. History or if you just love war movies.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    I'm going with what John said.

    Though the movie is very slow and the plot on the book was about Fredicksburg, the movie is still good. The movie has some good actors including Robert Duvall (Apocalypse Now Redux) and Jeff Daniels, but the acting is awkard. The movie is very slow and boring, but the battles are intense and amazing. If it's one thing anyone should give credit to the movie is the battles.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Gods & Generals in not worse than Fredicksburg.

    The movie Gods & Generals is based on a novel by some person (can't remember). The movie follows the life and beliefs of Gen Jackson, Gen Lee, and Colonel Chamberlain through the battles of the Bull Run, Fredicksburg, and Chancellorville. Wait, wasn't the novel really about Fredicksburg? Anyways, through the movie you hear a lot of long pointless speeches, awkard acting, and what about the personal beliefs. Then you will probably say "when will the fighting start." Just wait and you will get what you want. The movie also shows the errors generals have made. For the battle re-an-acted the director does a great job on it. You first see the battle of the Bull Run which only last about ten minutes. I know that the real fight was longer. The fight does get intense though you might already know who wins if you got an A on a Civil War test. Then you more talking, speeches, the life of the generals, and the movie skips Antietam and goes straight to Fredicksburg. This is when it gets really good. Gen Lee makes Jackson and Longstreet to set up the army on the hill. Meanwhile, 2 of Gen Burnsides officers requested that they and their troops go cross the river to take over Fredicksburg. Thanks to recon, they discover that the city is barely defended. Their plan was to go and secure the city so a big Union army can go in the city without a fight, but it is denied. Burnside's plan was to get the big army to join them and on morning engineers will use pontoons (whatever they are) to help the army cross. Then the big army will go to Fredicksburg for frontal assault on the hill. Though Burnside doesn't know that gives the Confederates enough time to go in the city, set up a defense, and put sharpshooters to the defend the city. After the fight Gen Lee and Gen Jackson find out that Gen "Fighting Joe" Hooker is leading a huge army to destroy them. So Lee and Jackson decide to attack them by morning. Who will win the battle? Can Burnside be able to crush Lee? Can Jackson defeat Fighting Joe's bigger army? The answers are in the books and in the movie, because you will suprised.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Should have been called 'God & General Jackson'

    After having read the excellant book 'Gods and Generals', I eagerly anticipated the release of this movie. To my great discontent, I found the movie utterly disapointing. Instead of portraying the four main characters equally, the movie concentrated on General Jackson and his personal quarkiness. The story barely touched on the other characters. Had I not read the book first, I may have liked the movie better. I also read the 'Killer Angels' and thought the movie 'Gettysburg' was much trurer to Shaara's version. Although I am a great admirer of General Jackson, I was looking forward to a more in depth portrayal of Generals Lee and Hancock and LtCol Chamberlain. To me it was not a matter of favoring one side or the other's version of the war, it was a matter of sticking to the version the author wrote. In that the movie was sorely lacking.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Editing Can Win A War But It Might Improve This Movie

    In the film 'Gettysburg' Colonel Joshua Chamberlain (Jeff Daniels) utters 'there's nothing so much like a god on earth as a general on a battlefield.' Based on Jeff Shaara's novel of the same title 'Gods and Generals' is the prequel to 'Gettysburg,' which itself was based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, 'The Killer Angels,' written by Shaara's father, Michael. Directed and adapted for the screen by Ron Maxwell (as was its predecessor) 'Gods and Generals' presents the first two years of the American Civil War as the Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia struggle against each other in the battles of First Bull Run, Fredricksburg and Chancelorsville. Much has been made of the film¿s historical accuracy but, little of the gore and carnage of war can been seen in its sanitized battle scenes filled with smoke, explosions, and men falling to the ground. Though the battle scenes themselves are expertly choreographed, hardly any thought seems to have gone into the cinematography of these scenes as they lack imagination in their framing and execution. Yet, I found the battle scenes alone worth the price of admission. I cannot say the same for Maxwell¿s bloated screenplay which is filled with flowery dialogue, long-winded speeches, and droning soliloquies. Yes, citizens of the nineteenth century spoke differently than we do today, but the dialogue is so jarring to the modern ear that it is nearly impossible for an audience to maintain a willingness to suspend its disbelief. The narrative in Mr. Shaara¿s novel is nearly equally split between four major characters: Colonel Joshua Chamberlain and General Winfield Scott Hancock on the side of the Union and Generals Robert E. Lee and Jonathan ¿Stonewall¿ Jackson on the Confederate side, while Mr. Maxwell¿s adaptation can nearly be considered as a Stonewall Jackson bio-pic with the other characters merely as supporting players. Shaara¿s book maintains a balance of viewpoints of both North and South but, Maxwell¿s film tilts the majority of screen time to the Confederate side. Stephen Lang does an admirable job as the highly religious Stonewall Jackson. Indeed, the film¿s shining glory is that Maxwell¿s screenplay and Lang¿s performance come closest to capturing the man that Jonathan Jackson was in reality as anything yet set forth on film. Though it is hard to separate Lang from his earlier portrayal of General George Picket in ¿Gettysburg.¿ Jeff Daniels competently reprises his role as Chamberlain, though he lacks screen time and is saddled with reciting Lucanus¿ ¿The Crossing of the Rubicon¿ as he watches elements the Union Army crossing the Rappahanock River into Fredericksburg, Virginia. The films greatest disappointment was Robert Duvall in his lackluster performance as General Robert E. Lee. Randy Edelman¿s sentimental score is adequate to the task at hand, and though pleasurable to listen to it does not rise to meet the challenge of the material presented. Mary Fahl¿s contribution, ¿Going Home,¿ played over the opening credits of windblown battle flags, in a movie which the director well knows is going to come in at 3 ½ hours, should have fallen to the cutting room floor, though I love every note of it. And Bob Dylan is as raspy as ever in his ¿Cross the Green Mountain¿ played over the end credits. Is ¿Gods and Generals¿ the greatest movie ever made about the American Civil War? No. Is it the most accurate movie about the Civil War? Quite possibly. But accuracy could not save this movie. Editing could. Edit the screenplay. Edit the dialogue and speeches. Edit the opening credits. Edit. Edit. Edit.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Brother vs Brother

    If you're a genealogy buff and have families from both the north and the south, this movie will touch your heart. In addition, it was most rewarding to hear and feel the faith in God as being the Almighty One - regardless of the outcome of the War! Would that our nation would come back to that faith! DCJ

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Great Perspective, Detailed

    Though the perspective is dominated as from the south, it is more a Virginian's perspective and one from its military men. Stonewall Jackson and Lee are both represented with due respect. The movie lays out the mistakes of the North, showing that not all Generals were fit to lead, while others were followed because of their leadership abilities. The character of Jackson was well-developed and portayed as a man that honored his position. It is difficult for me to know the reliability or accuracy of this portrayal, but it was well presented. This movie does not insult either side, but goes about presenting situations and the human perspective. It does not judge, but makes the veiwer realize that there were various reasons for the war. It does place in perspective the issue of slavery and how it was not the only reason the war was fought, as many people today believe. I will find Gettysburg and watch it next, but I hope it is available in something other than wide screen format.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The beginning of a great epic

    This is one of the few movies about the Civil War that presents the Southern side from a Southern viewpoint. It's good to see this viewpoint amidst today's politically-correct revisionist view that the War between the States was fought over slavery. From the Southern viewpoint, the federal government didn't represent their interests anymore, so they decided to secede, the right of which is protected under the 9th and 10th amendments in our Bill of Rights. Remember, at one time, we were British subjects, and we seceded from England. Beyond all that, the movie is a very long 4+ hours. It's important to realize that this is a movie made more for historians and civil war reenactors than for the general public. The movie got terrible reviews by all the major critics, probably because there aren't boobs flashing or lots of swearing. If you can't sit for so long in a theater, then rent it and watch it at home.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    I saw Gettysburg in Mexico in 1994 and now I bouth the dvd, also Gods And Generales

    Well, I saw Gettysburg in a cinema en 1995,in Mexico City, and I enjoyed the movie, I am no exactly an anti-gringo guy, and I know that thanks the Civil War was over, the American government ( Mr. Grant ) pushed the French Emperator Napoleon III and forced him to command French troops to evacuate my country in 1866, leaving alone Maximiximilian , the austrian Emperor, Now you can realize how the end of the Civil War affected Mexico in somehow. Some datys ago I bought Gods and Generals, it's a long long movie, I miss Tom Berenger by the way....I wander if the movie ' The last full measure' was already released, I tried to find it in the net, but so far I ain't find nothing at all, so I will looking for it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Awesome

    While the film does have some Southern leanings, they did not offend me at all. I personally have always been more impressed with the Confederates anyway. The Union won because they were bigger and stronger and because they had greater resources. The South lost because they didn't have the resources, manpower, and because of the Union navy. They did, however, make an amazing attempt with what they had available to them, and if they had had the resources they would have simply out-generaled the Yankees even without the manpower. Both sides fought heroically, but I can see why the makers focused on the South. They have the romantisim and heriosm of one of the last great Lost Causes. The Union had many bright lights, including Generals Hancock, Reynolds, and Chamberlain, as well as the common heroic infantryman. The commanding generals were pathetic; however, and that should have lost the war. I've lived my whole life in Pennsylvania. I welcome any debate on this subject in the form of email.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Thank you John Hardin

    I just wanted to add on to the review John Hardin did. The movie IS historically accurate and for every one movie that is 'biased' toward the South, there are 50 movies that rework the facts in favor of the North. I too had ancestors who fought and didn't own slaves and I had one who was killed on his way home after the war by a band of Yankee soldiers. With that aside, I'm am finally elated to hear someone's opinion and finally a movie about the South that is actually close to the way true Southerners really are.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    GREAT

    Great insite on the generals and important ppl of the civil war...see this before gettysburg

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 38 Customer Reviews