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Gettysburg film, 1993 Essay

The movie Gettysburg is a film that details the Battle of Gettysburg, which took place from July 1-3 in 1863. The battle culminated in a major victory for the Union, while confederate troops in a way viewed the conflict as a last chance fight to take control in the Civil War. The film begins by showing the preparations for battle on Jun 30 of 1863, and then it goes on to demonstrate the competency of officials who decide on strategy, and then the outcomes of their battle plans.

At the end of the movie, Pickett’s charge is detailed, and it was perhaps one of the most significant Confederate defeats of the Civil War. The movie did an excellent job explaining what happened in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania during the time of the battle. It was not dramatized beyond its portrayal of what actually happened, and it is historically accurate in covering one of the most important battles of the Civil War. The film was directed by Ronald F. Maxwell, who followed the plot outlined in Michael Sharaa’s 1974 novel about the battle, entitled The Killer Angels.

The film does not attempt to cover everything that was going on in the battle, but it selects the main activities of each day, and shows the officials making key decisions. The first part of the movie, which corresponds to the beginning of the battle, and the first day of fighting, depicts the Union officer John Buford (played by Sam Elliott) who picked the battlefield. The second story detailed was that of Joshua Chamberlain (played by Jeff Daniels), who defends Little Round Top from the confederate troops. Then Pickett’s Charge, where the Confederacy, ordered to do so by General Robert E.

Lee (Martin Sheen) famously charged Major George Meade’s (Richard Anderson) Union troops, and this scene details the struggles of the Confederate General Lewis Armistead (Richard Jordan). The movie was made to give people an accurate overview of one of the most important battles in the Civil War, and in the history of the United States. Because the battle lasted only three days, the movie did not have too much trouble outlining the main events. It serves not only to entertain, but to educate people about the Battle of Gettysburg.

Unlike many of Hollywood’s attempts to retell historical moments of note, this movie was not full of romance and historically inaccurate, but dramatic, side-stories; it was accurate and because of the importance of its subject, it did not need to be spiced up to be recognized as a good film. The film was historically accurate. The only thing to say about a discrepancy between the film and the actual battle is that the film did not show as much about other things going on when it was focused on a particular story.

For instance, not much was shown about what was going on in Confederate camps as the Union troops were preparing for war in the first couple of scenes. The extras used in battle scenes are accurately dressed in the right style of uniform, and the plotline of the movie doe not include anything that was absent from the actual battle. “The directors of the movie hired history professors and Civil War enthusiasts to advise them, to make sure they were accurate throughout the whole of the film. Historical accuracy was of great concern to the producers and director,” James Beradinelli of ReelReviews writes.

“They hired a veritable army of advisors to correct even the most minute mistakes in the script (if a general given a pale horse in the movie was known to have favored a dark horse, the mount was changed), used the actual sites in Pennsylvania as often as possible (where hiding war monuments became an art), and “recruited” more than 5000 unpaid re-enactors to fill up the screen during the battle scenes (thus helping to keep the budget at a reasonable $20 million). The result is a movie that looks and feels real. ”

The director and producers wanted to capture the actions that occurred in the battle itself in their movie. They emphasized situation’s of valiance, such as (most notably) Pickett’s Charge, where 50,000 troops were killed and wounded, and General Lee’s motivational speech to the troops before they went to battle. The directors wanted to make sure that the people understood even the smallest details of the battle, so they showed the scenes where officials decided on battle tactics, including the scene where General Lee ignores Lt. General Longstreet’s (Tom Berenger) strategy and accepts

Pickett’s (Stephen Lang), who was selected to lead the troops, leading many confederate soldiers to their death as they pressed on to Union General George Meade’s troops. There was no noticeable bias in the movie. It was intended to by a historically accurate overview of the Battle of Gettysburg, and that is what it was. Even without the addition of dramatic Hollywood moments, the film includes dramatic scenes that were present in the battle, such as Lee’s speech to his troops before Pickett’s charge, directed to his fellow Virginians.

The movie was a great overview of the Battle of Gettysburg, including some of the battle’s smaller details. But it managed to keep the eye of its viewers despite being four hours and fourteen minutes long. The film was gripping, but accurate, and without noticeable biases or added dramatic, Hollywood situations. Works Cited Boatner, Mark M. The Civil War Dictionary. New York: Vintage Books, 1991 History in Film. 1999. Gettysburg. 19 April 2009. http://www. historyinfilm. com/gettysbg/default. htm

Internet Movie Database. 1993. Gettysburg. 19 April 2009. http://www. imdb. com/title/tt0107007/ Nesbitt, Mark. 35 Days to Gettysburg- The Campaign Diaries of Two American Enemies. Harrisburg, Stackpole Books, 1992. Oates, William C. and Haskell, Frank A. Gettysburg. New York Bantam, 1992. Ron Maxwell. com. 1993 Gettysburg, a Film by Ronald Maxwell. 18 April 2009. http://www. ronmaxwell. com/gettysburg. html Sauers, Richard A. The Gettysburg Campaign- June 3- August 1, 1863. Westport: Greenwood Press,1982.


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