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Gettysburg

There have been more than a few movies based on the US Civil War, but they all lack one thing. That is of course a balanced historical perspective. This movie does present a truly balanced account of the Civil War from both a Union and a Confederate point of view. All the appropriate leaders from the Gettsyburg battle are represented in this film; Lee, Longstreet, Armistead, Meade, and Pickett. The movie was created for a grand cost of about $15 million. Nearly 5,000 Civil War reinactors particpated in the various march and battle scenes of the movie. The movie begins with a scout informing the Confederate camp that 7 corps of Union troops are approaching, complete with cavalry. Confederate troops engage union troops from all angles in this movie. Hand to hand fighting commenced with cannon fire blasting fences and farms to pieces.

Some of the most amazing scenes of the movie occur as the Confederate army marches the multi mile journey on what was later known as Picketts charge. In perfect lines marching slowly they are torn to pieces by cannons, and then later ripped into by entrenched union rifleman as they become closer. Gettysburg is not a movie its a saga. The musical score guides the action. One Union Colonel, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain uses passionate speech to draw deserters back into his ranks. He declares "We are an army out to set other men free. Men have fought before, they have fought for land. They have fought for power. They have fought because a king would lead them or they have fought because they like to kill. We fight because we have values."

With Shakespearean quality speeches the prepration for battles commence on both camps. Even General Lee's (as played by Martin Sheen) statement that he can not read the name of the town (Gettysburg) they are approching because he left his spectacles elsewhere comes off dramatic. From marches to battle scenes and linguistic speech spectacles the film draws you in. You become a part of the action, one with history, one in the field. This film is an historic acheivement and not just a cinematic one.

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