The Civil War began 150 years ago this month, and TCM is broadcasting the two best Civil War movies on April 25.
Ron Maxwell’s 1994 Gettysburg is the gold standard of Civil War films. It follows Michael Shaara’s superb historical novel The Killer Angels and depicts the decisive three day battle. It was filmed on the actual battlefield with re-enactors. Maxwell took great care in maintaining historical accuracy. Civil War buffs will recognize many lines of dialogue as historical, as well as shots that recall famous photographs. In addition, Gettysburg is especially well-acted, especially by Jeff Daniels, Tom Berenger, Stephen Lang, Sam Elliott and Brian Mallon.
The other very best Civil War movie is the 1989 Glory, which tells the real-life story of an all-black unit in the Union Army. Glory has tremendous performances by Denzel Washington, Andre Braugher, Morgan Freeman and Jihmi Kennedy.