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The Best Civil War Movie/Book Combos

May 16, 2011

Although there are several notable movies based on the Civil War (such as the Train Robbers, Shenandoah, The Red Badge of Courage, Cold Mountain etc.), none can compete with Robert Maxwell’s Gettysburg (2000) and it’s prequel Gods and Generals (2003). 

Gettysburg is based on the book The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara. It is one of my favorite war films. It recreates the Civil War's battle of Gettysburg with superb acting, an excellent screenplay, a hauntingly beautiful musical score, and some of the most authentic and stirring battle scenes ever seen in a movie. Several famous actors are in this film. Most notably, Martin Sheen is cast in the role of General Robert E. Lee and Jeff Daniels as Colonel Joshua Chamberlin. 

The movie, Gods and Generals, is based on the book of the same name by his son Jeff Shaara. Gods and Generals is a sweeping epic charting the early years of the Civil War and how campaigns unfolded from Manassas to the Battle of Fredericksburg. This prequel to the film Gettysburg explores the motivations of the combatants, and examines the lives of those who waited at home. Some of the more notable actors in this film are Robert Duvall in the role of General Robert E. Lee and Stephen Lang in the role of General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson. Although these films are long (261 & 219 minutes respectively), they are highly recommended and available in the MCPL system. 

The book sequel to The Killer Angels, covering post Gettysburg to the end of the war, is titled the Last Full MeasureIt's also by Jeff Shaara and completes the trilogy, but it has not yet been made into film. It's also available in the MCPL system.

Jeff W.
Buckner Branch

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