Lincoln’s Death, New Nation: April 1865 to 1877
What is the finest Civil War movie ever made?
Although every movie-goer will have his or her favorite, little doubt exists that Glory, released to the wide screen in 1989, is the best made of all Civil War films. The film takes the viewer on a trip into the still segregated Boston of 1862 as the men of the Massachusetts 54th get ready to play their part in the great conflict. One can see, visibly at times, the tension between the ideals of the abolitionist movement and the doubts that sometimes assailed the men who led it.
An all-star cast includes Matthew Broderick, Morgan Freeman, and Denzel Washington, but Glory, clearly, is not the work of one star or even several. The cast and crew combine to create marvelous effects, most notably the terrible battle as the 54th attempts to capture Battery Wagner, just outside of Charleston. Some have criticized the film, saying that it does too much to ‘glorify’ the actions of one side, but this is similar to the reviewers of 1939 declaring that Gone with the Wind did not say enough about the Northern point of view. Although Lincoln, released in 2012, was almost as persuasive to millions of viewers, Glory still stands all alone at the top of its genre.