Advice on movies


My 16-year-old son needs to get some extra credit for his U.S. History class. One of the ways he can get some credit is by watching a movie about their current subject in history class and writing a report about how historically accurate it was. He watched “Johnny Tremaine” for the American Revolution last quarter, and the teacher appreciated something other than “The Patriot”. This quarter, it’s the Civil War. “Gettysburg” is long but seems to be mostly accurate as long as you ignore Martin Sheen’s dreadful accent. “Glory”, perhaps, since Denzel Washington won an Academy Award for his performance. “The Outlaw Josey Wales” for some classic Clint Eastwood? I doubt a teenage boy would like a tear-jerker like “Shenandoah”.

What say you, readers?

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16 Comments

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16 responses to “Advice on movies

  1. Gettysburg for the history. Outlaw Josey Wales ’cause buzzards gotta eat same as worms.

  2. The Horse Soldiers is a possibility. It’s generally right (based on Grierson’s Raid which really deserves a better telling , Grierson’s was a fascinating guy), but has a lot of problems with the specifics. There was a mini-series called North and South. The Red Badge of Courage is good as I recall.

    But I really think that Gettysburg is the best of them.

  3. There is a ton of nonsense out there that purports to be history, but is really just hackery. McPherson is one of the worst for written history I’ve seen about the war of northern aggression.

    As for movies, God’s and Generals is at the top of my list, although it’s more drama than history. For a 16 yo, it’ll be hard to watch. I wish I could point to something that told the real story about that war, but the conformists reign supreme, and it took me years to piece together the truth of what happened and why.

  4. Jack

    IMHO, Gettysburg is the best.
    How about the very obscure…”Occurence at Owl creek bridge”?
    I am sure many of you had to watch this in school

    QM, I am reminded that I have to watch “Gods and General’s ….I bought a “copy” when I was in Thailand before I retired…..I still need to watch it

  5. Paul L. Quandt

    For my money, it’s “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”. True, the war only has a supporting role, but for showing the utter stupidity and brutality of the war, it has no equal.

    Paul

  6. Bill

    Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.

    I was going to suggest “Owl Creek Bridge” as well — Owl Creek is only a couple hours west (at Shiloh). But it may not have enough historical content to fulfill the assignment as it is sort of a mood piece.

    Kathryn suggests “Jezebel” with Bette Davis, but it is antebellum rather than actually during the War of Northern Aggression.

    Beguiled is another Eastwood flick set during the War, but it’s hard to beat Josey Wales, if only for the great lines: “Dying ain’t much of a livin, boy,” “Always endeavour to perservere,” “You gonna pull them pistols, or whistle Dixie?”

    Wasn’t there some movie with Vivian Leigh? “Gone with the Breeze” or something like that?

  7. Mike van der Linden

    Gods and Generals and Gettysburg i really loved but what about tv series like Lincoln (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0095242/)? Saw that one recently and was quite amazed!
    Another one which is really good (wrong word but i do not have anything better) and shows one of the darkest and most awful of pages of the Civil War is Andersonville (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0115097/).

    • Andersonville was the southern result of Grant ending the prisoner exchange cartel. It was a bad place, but the movie was one sided propaganda. You never learn about places like Kelley’s Island “Hellmira,” or Bright Point, where the prisoner death rates were far higher than Andersonville. Nor do they tell the story of the “Immortal 600″ which were 600 Confederate Officers held in the vicinity of Charleston, SC, used as human shields by the Yankee Army, and were the subject of systematic malnutrition causing the death of over 100 of them.

      The series on Gettysburg and Goods and Generals would be far more informative for a 16 year old.

  8. May I be the first to recommend “Lincoln,” currently showing in the theaters? My wife and I saw it earlier this week for date night, and it’s a very good portrayal of the man and shows a lot of what went on behind the scenes in order to pass the 13th Amendment.

    • Mike van der Linden

      That one´s already on my list too! :)
      Bugger that it is being shown here (Holland) coming january iso now.
      But happy to hear that it’s a good movie!

    • LT Rusty

      You want real accuracy, you’d be just as well served to check out Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter. *rolleyes*

  9. I would vote for Gettysburg, for Joshua Lawerance Chamberlin’s defence of Little Round Top, if nothing else. The turning point of the War of Southern Arrogance.

    • Now, now. Keep up that kinda language and we’ll have to loose the Wiener Dawgs of War on ya. :^)

      Dave, The current movie “Lincoln” is not even good propaganda. Lincoln opposed the real 13th Amendment but had it shoved down his throat by the radical Republicans. Good theater, perhaps, but horrid history. The entire series that begins with “Killer Angels” would be by far better.

  10. ultimaratioregis

    I dunno, Brad. He might appreciate “Shenandoah”. It really is a very good movie. Very good indeed.

  11. “Gone With the Wind”

  12. Marine6

    I vote for Gettysburg, but do your son a favor and have him also read the book. I live in the midst of the Civil War, just a few miles from Manassas, and I visit the battlefields nearby with some regularity. When I talk with someone who doesn’t know much about the war I strongly recommend The Killer Angels as a great place to start learning. It’s a wonderful read and well worth the time.