The four and 1/4 hour depiction of the historical and personal events surrounding and including the decisive American civil war battle features thousands of civil war re-enactors marching over the exact ground that the federal army and the army of North Virginia fought on. The defense of the Little Round Top and Pickett's Charge are highlighted in the actual three day battle which is surrounded by the speeches of the commanding officers and the personal reflections of the fighting men. Based upon the novel 'The Killer Angels'.Written by
Keith Loh <email@example.com>
The screenplay and shooting script have an additional scene at the end that was never filmed. Following the Chamberlain brother's embrace, Harrison stands on Seminary Ridge surveying the destruction left from Pickett's Charge and quotes a line from William Shakespeare's The Tempest: "We are such stuff as dreams are made of. And our little life is rounded with the sleep." Harrison then mounts his horse and rides off into the night. From there, the final credits began. See more »
When Col. Chamberlain talks to his brother Tom while sitting on the big rock after the Battle of Little Round Top, a car drives by on a road in the background, on the right. See more »
I just want to respond to the criticism of this movie's use of Civil War reenactors as extras. Yes, the average reenactor is a heck of lot older and fatter than was the average Civil War soldier. Reenactors are great at dressing as Civil War soldiers, but most of them don't LOOK anything like Civil War soldiers, who were very young men reduced to sinew and bone from physical exertion and poor diet. Also, reenactors are not professional actors or stunt men which is very evident in this movie. (In some scenes you can actually see some of them staring into the camera while everyone else is looking off in another direction. Also, their embarrassing attempts to recreate hand-to-hand combat during the finale of Pickett's Charge are just pathetic to watch. Not to mention the melodramatic "deaths" and the guys grinning like Cheshire Cats while they're supposed to be acting as in fear of their lives.)
However, there is NO way "Gettysburg" could have been made without reenactors. In order to give the movie's battle scenes an "epic" look, it needed several thousand extras and this film didn't have anyway near the budget to afford professional extras or travel overseas to rent-out a small European army as Hollywood films used do to. Heck, the production company couldn't even afford a decent make-up department (which is obvious from those awful, fake looking beards) let alone hire hundreds of professional extras, costume them, and train them. Reenactors, despite their faults, made this movie possible by working for free and by bringing their own uniforms, equipment, knowledge of Civil War tactics, and enthusiasm for this project. It was either use the services of reenactors or no movie about the battle of Gettysburg was going to be made.
While "Gettysburg" could not have been made without reenactors, I do feel director Ronald Maxwell could have done a better job of filming around some of the more ridiculous looking ones. Instead, he almost seems to revel in showing off the fattest and oldest of the bunch- the first Confederate soldier with a speaking part is a man over 60 yrs old who had to be at least 300lbs! Now how can anyone believe that this man marched 20 miles a day in June heat while carrying a 50lb pack? Supposedly, Maxwell has learned from his mistakes. While he is justifiably proud of "Gettysburg," he was not deaf to the guffaws at all those chubby Rebs and geriatric Yanks. Thus, for the upcoming "Gods and Generals" his casting directors were ordered to be much choosier in deciding which reenactors will be in that movie. (In other words, they were ordered to cull out the fatbodies and oldsters.)
Despite being a big fan of this movie, I can recognize the weaknesses of using reenactors as extras in a period war film. However, anyone who applauds the fact that "Gettysburg" was ever made must also commend the dedication of those reenactors who made its creation possible.
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