The story of the first major battle of the American phase of the Vietnam War, and the soldiers on both sides that fought it, while their wives wait nervously and anxiously at home for the good news or the bad news.
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Pickett tells Armistead that he cannot order Garnett not to make the charge. At Kernstown in 1862, when the Virginians were still under command of Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson, Jackson had threatened Garnett with a court-martial for cowardice and dereliction of duty. Only Jackson's death stopped the court-martial. Pickett and Armistead would have known that, as Virginians and friends of Garnett, hence Pickett's unwillingness to order Garnett to stay behind. See more »
Early in the fight by Buford's cavalry the camera pans past a U.S. flag behind a group of cavalry men. Cavalry did not normally carry a full sized U.S. flag. The flag is the size carried by infantry, not the smaller cavalry standard. See more »
A VHS Collectors Edition was realeased and contained a copy of the extended edition of the movie with extra footage, a copy of the soundtrack, a map, photos of the Generals Lee, Longstreet, Buford and Colonel Chamberlain, a Minie bullet and book featuring the artwork of Mort Kunstler. 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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