Gods and Generals Critique and Commentary Page

With the newly released prequel to Ted Turner's Gettysburg now showing nationwide, the movie critics are having a field day ripping the movie like hot shrapnel through advancing soldiers. Below are some comments and critiques by those in the reenacting community that may offer a different perspective. If you would like to post your comments please mailto:webmaster@civilwarillustrated.com   (Please note, comments written here do not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions held by this website/webmaster) Limited submissions will be accepted. Thank you for your interest.
To further enhance your expierence as you read these reviews, please use the link at the bottom of the page to listen to one of the movies best soundtrack pieces. (click here to read webmaster's review)

1.  Submitted by Captain Daniel E. Keeslar, Ret.
    4th Missouri Volunteer Infantry, E Co.
    Missouri State Guard

Because I had nothing better to do this snowy Sunday afternoon, I made the decision to risk life and limb and traverse the slippery roads by heading out to see the Movie
Gods and Generals.
I had read the book a few years ago and was mesmerized by what my mind saw as I read thought the pages. What I saw on the big screen was even more amazing and I say with complete impunity - If movie critics insist on giving this movie such low scores by sighting poor acting, lack of story content, "they are indeed fools."
Though I can say with complete clarity of consciousness I too have seen movies which offer much better acting, I can not say that this movie is not worth seeing and it would be absurd to do so.
For those of you who do not know the tragic American story we call -The American Civil War, the movie offers a chance to see history unfold before your eye's and to not only view it, but to hear both versions as to why the war had to be fought. But if you are like me and know the story, it offers up the rare opportunity to see many Great American heroes fill the big screen and come to life. Beyond this, it humanized the efforts of many.
Touring the many Civil War battlefields across America and viewing the statutes contained there within or reading books is wonderful, fun and educational, but in so doing, we somehow loose sight of the fact that these were once real American men who lived, fought, suffered and died for their own and unique ideals, and the freedoms we all have and enjoy today.
To say with certainty that the right side won or lost is not mine to say. I bow to the wisdom of God in having made that choice and trust in his supreme judgment.
I struggle in knowing of the sacrifices made by so many who gained nothing in return, and I pray they now sleep restfully and peacefully in their graves, knowing they did the right and only thing - the duty which they were called for.
Knowing this, I offer a bit of advice to those who have been placed in the position to critique such a movie as Gods and Generals -- "Do not critique a movie like this as if merely entertainment. You owe it to these real American heroes who suffered this tragic time period, to look past the prodigal entertainment we're used too and to give the public the opportunity to learn about their true American history.
Do not be fooled into thinking that you can only look to the letter of the law to interpret the meaning -- Sometimes you must look at the spirit of the law to interpret, find and enjoy the true meaning.
Today I saw General Thomas Jonathan Jackson tell his men "It is their duty to kill as many invading northern soldiers as was possible" (keep in mind these were fellow countrymen only days prior) and fall to the ground and bitterly weep upon finding out the death of a small child who had befriended him.

Today I saw a common foot soldier sitting around a campfire talking with fellow soldiers. He told them all that it would be on that particular day that he would die. He gave to each of them a portion of all the worldly possessions he had to give. They laughed as would we all, but by days end they each suffered at his loss. I saw thousands of men willing marching to their deaths, and heard in my heart the sounds of tens of thousands of wives, children, mothers and others when they heard of their loss.
Are we so callous in this twenty first century that we feel we must be entertained by such sights and view it totally inadequate when it doesn't mimic the gore or lewdness which many of other movies and stories relate.
As a past Civil War reenactor, maybe it's just easier for me to feel what Mr. Maxwell was trying to convey to the viewer when he made this movie, but as Americans, we owe it to ourselves to take the opportunity to go to such types of movies and to learn. Then, maybe it's through this experience that the sacrifices of these men will finally be played out. For once we look at war for the terrible thing that it is, we can do more to avoid it from ever happening again.

2. Submitted by Pvt. John T. Wright
Co. L, 1st Texas Infantry Brigade

I would very much like to share with you my insight and opinion on the movie Gods and Generals. My first opportunity to see this film was not yet a week ago, and my second time to see it was today, March 02. Of course, the critics opinion of this film preceded it and so I really did not know quite what to expect. Impatiently, I have awaited the release of this film since 2001 when I first learned of it. And let me say that this is the most historically correct Civil War film that has ever graced any theater screen!

I have read the reviews voiced by those that in my opinion, are not very well "versed" in the history of the civil war nor of the men that fought and died for a cause in which they believed in. These Generals of a bloody war fought so long ago weren't just military men, but were also God fearing family men, such as General Stonewall Jackson, whose portrayal by Stephen Lang, was exceptional.
His faith in a higher power is most likely what sustained him and gave him the courage to endure and carry out his duties to God and to his country. And pity the poor soul who critiques this movie based solely on "too much God in the movie".Excuse me if I am wrong, but isn't the Title of this movie Gods and Generals?

I was very much impressed with the movie and I would rate the movie a 10+. There is a great history lesson to be learned from this film, and it is so often in life when people decide they don't like something, it is largely due to lack of understanding of the subject, and in this case, the civil war.

The civil war, as horrible and devastating as it was, was fought, it was real, and it did happen. The movie Gods and Generals depicts this great battle in true form, portraying the leaders of both the Confederate and Union armies with great precision, nothing more, nothing less. And those "critics" whose harsh judgment of this film is only borne out of their lack of knowledge of what took place during the first two years of the great Civil War, should read Gods and Generals, then see the film again.

I am a civil war reenactor and have portrayed a civil war soldier in the confederate army at the 140th Anniversary of the 1st Manassas. I have also had the opportunity to reenact the Vicksburg Campaign, 2001, in Raymond, Ms., the 140th Anniversary of Antietem in Maryland, and the best is yet to come, Gettysburg, which will be in July 2003. These are the big ones, not to mention all the smaller events in which we take part in throughout the year.

In closing I would like to say that a lot of credit is due Turner Productions, Ron Maxwell and everyone that put their heart and soul into breathing life into this epic production. Once again, as my insight into the movie, I loved it!

3. Submitted by Pvt. Randy Friga
1st MO Engineers (USA)

I saw the movie and looked at as a documentary rather than just a movie, because of historical accuracy. It may seem that it is almost sacrilegious to have not seen Gettysburg the movie before a few weeks ago, but alas I did. It was produced by the same director, but the historical errors were very obvious. I did not see any of these blatant errors in Gods and Generals.

This is the type of movie that a person that has some knowledge of the Civil War will enjoy but want more. I thought the acting was poor in a few places, the repeat of the soldier with the Springfield rifle at the Marye's wall by the Confederate was a little lame, the site for the battle was missing two buildings, and the movie town of Fredricksburg looked identical to present day Harpers Ferry, WV.

I am looking forward to the sequels and I expect it will do some good for the reenactment community.

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