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Gettysburg

 (3,303)
4 h 14 min1993X-RayPG
An epic star-studded re-telling of one of the most famous land battles in history which took place in 1863 during the American Civil War. Over 50,000 men died during the three day battle.
Directors
Ronald F. Maxwell
Starring
Martin SheenKevin ConwayRichard Jordan
Genres
Drama
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio Languages
English
Rentals include 30 days to start watching this video and 48 hours to finish once started.
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More details

Supporting actors
C. Thomas HowellJames LancasterMaxwell CaulfieldJeff DanielsTom BerengerJames
Studio
Warner Bros.
Purchase rights
Stream instantly Details
Format
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Devices
Available to watch on supported devices

Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

3303 global ratings

  1. 68% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 16% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 9% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 3% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 3% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United Kingdom

DVDERReviewed in the United Kingdom on 15 January 2021
3.0 out of 5 stars
Historically correct, yet lacking
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Movies about war or battles , if nothing else, should be factually accurate, and this movie, in the broadest sense, achieves that. However, it is what it lacks which is the most disappointing.

Firstly, to the good: in terms of historical accuracy, from the disposition of the armies, strategies and tactics adopted, sequence of events and even down to the clothes being worn, this movie is 99% accurate. Sure, they misrepresented Lee's knowledge of Union Army movements (he had zero knowledge, hence being left in a less than advantageous position); they omitted also General Sickles action on the Union left flank that left Little Round Top undefended; on which, they also omitted 20th Maine B-company's part; they even omitted the real reason for Lee heading for Gettysburg.

But the rest is correct, even down to the disparate, even hodge-podge collection of uniforms worn by the Confederates add their lack of good footwear (the real reason they travelled to Gettysburg - there were rumours of a large supply of footwear there). This is no surprise, given that the producers were able to avail themselves of the services of the army of re-enactors that for years have been going to those fields to commemorate the Battle. That said, that's both a blessing and a curse (more later).

The photography is solid and the director and cast competent. Attention has been paid to small details of events and conversations recorded in letters and memoirs, and the pace of the movie (despite its considerable length) is good, with the tension building gradually through the early engagements, and the desperate battle for Little Round Top, towards the climax of Pickett's Charge. For these aspects alone, this movie is worth watching and will satisfy both those looking for good entertainment with overall historical accuracy.

That said, there are some missed opportunities. First of all is that this movie was clearly made for TV as a mini-series (hence the length), by the Turner Network, and so inherits all the issues that come with primetime TV scheduling: the need for ratings and suitability for primetime. As such, this movie chooses a straightforward "telling of the events" with "The A-Team"-style violence, without anything (distressing scenes, challenging issues such as racism, or demanding emotional content) that might jeopardise such scheduling. We are therefore presented with typical US primetime-level script, acting and direction.

This is a huge shame, as it misses the opportunity to address the real horror of what the ordinary soldiers went through, which leads me to the next criticism: its lack of the soldier's experience. This movie focuses on the main protagonists (i.e. the senior commanding officers), with only cardboard cut-out roles for the soldiers and no consideration of their views, beliefs, hopes, fears, tragedies, valour and hardships.

However, even with the main characters, there is no depth and, worryingly, a lot of whitewashing, which is a real shame given the acting talent on tap here. Sheen's Lee is perhaps the biggest missed opportunity, being a man who opposed secession and slavery, and yet went to war for the Confederacy. He was a complex and largely inscrutable character according to records, yet here he comes across somehow flat.

Perhaps even more frustrating is the missed opportunity to address the big issues that still face the USA today, namely the causes of the war and its ongoing legacy. The huge issue of slavery, masquerading as "States' Rights", being the reason for secession in the first place, is glossed over, with platitudes that some might mistake for dogwhistle denial. The impression from this movie is that yes, things were bad then, but the Union was fighting to end slavery, without addressing the political realities (e.g. Lincoln was initially opposed to emancipation and only decided for it to give the already declared war to be given better purpose). This glossing over of history has been the reason for the denial of racism as a current issue in the USA and has been a problem with TV programming until this day (with some few, notable exceptions).

A few final issues help to save this movie from greatness: firstly, the lack of portrayal of suffering, blood or wounds, given that this was one of the bloodiest battles ever, is saddening, given that the real tragedy of any war is the ultimate price the men on both sides paid. Additionally, in some places, the amateur nature of the re-enactors is also evident, with a few scenes looking more like a dust-up at a local paintball field, rather than the full-on battle (compare with "Waterloo" or "Saving Private Ryan", which used real troops as extras and you will see the difference). Sam Elliot's portrayal of General Buford is also strangely wooden (he was less corny in The Big Lebowski), despite being capable of better (e.g. We Were Soldiers).

War movies can focus on many different things: "A Bridge Too Far" confronted the tragedy caused by the arrogance of Montgomery in pressing ahead with Operation Market Garden, in contrast to his previously cautious approach; "Saving Private Ryan" focused on the ethics of war and the value of human life; "Kajaki", "Band of Brothers" and "The Pacific" provide unique views into the soldier's experience of war through personal accounts. The lowest common denominator for me for any movie is to be "true to events" (even if only in spirit, as is the case with Ryan or "The Longest Day"), and then to expand from there to explore the issues around war.

Instead, whilst building on good a factual basis, this movie's aspirations seem only to extend to having a period piece short soap which is comfortable primetime viewing, which is a shame: war is many things, but should never be comfortable viewing.
8 people found this helpful
James SuttonReviewed in the United Kingdom on 22 February 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
i met martin sheen and tom berenger in full costume on set...
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.....and then didnt see the movie for 29 years! I was visiting a friend who lived in Gettysburg, and they happened to be filming in a field behind his house. This turned out to be the 'rebel' camp of General Robert E Lee, though I knew almost no American history. We were excited, but now i look back and realise those damn rebels nearly damn ruined ma life! I kept looking out for a mini-series called 'the killer angels' as this was the book i bought that they autographed for me. When it never showed up on British TV, and the movie wasn't promoted here, I gave up looking for it, then stumbled across it just the other day. Its a great historical movie, an enormous war saga, i dont recall there being a single woman in the movie. if you can stop yourself laughing about them beards, its probably the greatest movie about the American civil war you'll ever see, stunning re-enactment scenes...Jeff Daniels battle-commanding, and Sam Elliots horse riding skills, steal the show.
3 people found this helpful
SpeedigeeReviewed in the United Kingdom on 06 August 2014
5.0 out of 5 stars
An excellent film
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I have just upgraded from DVD to Blu-ray and can confirm that the quality of sound and vision is excellent. The film does not not cover the Battle of Gettysburg in its entirety, but the salient features are included in some detail. The initial encounter between Buford's cavalry and the confederates, followed by the battle of Little Round Top and finally the devastating Pickett's charge - which is covered in almost real time. This is an excellent film and a worthy addition to the library of anyone interested in the American Civil War.
28 people found this helpful
SteveReviewed in the United Kingdom on 02 March 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
Selective but entertaining
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General Meade (the Unionist Army Commander) has been completely erased out of this story for some reason and the crucial second days fighting is hardly mentioned at all. A film, even at 4 hours long, cannot tell the whole story and there will always be 'artistic license' but the ridiculous English cariacature of Captain Freemantle drinking tea out of a porcelain cup and saucer on the battlefield was hilarious! I could have done without the heavy music too on many of the scenes. Still a very watchable and interesting film with all the effects that Hollywood could throw at it. It does manage to capture the tension, drama and horror of the battle and the acting overall is superb.
2 people found this helpful
David WelfordReviewed in the United Kingdom on 01 September 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
Epic Film
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This German issue Blu-ray has American Dialogue and English Sub -titles and would appear to be exactly the same as the US release other than the slip case is German. Be aware this epic re-enactment last 471 minutes too much for one evenings viewing! Although it was a bloody pointless battle there is not much explicit gore though there were over 55,000 casualties. An interesting historical experience to watch not sure I will watch it again. It comes with a DVD copy which I did not look at. The picture quality on the Blu-ray is only average but very acceptable...there are no extras other than a commentary that needs another marathon viewing session !
MR L.Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 20 June 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
Only watch this if you have an interest in the American Civil War.
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I liked it because I am an American Civil War Buff. However, it did not make mention of the fact that the commanders of both sides were all trained at West Point and many of them were contemporaries.

Also, the part played by the UK in supporting the South (Mainly because it fed the Cotton Mills of Yorkshire and Lancashire) was understated as was the fact that in many aspects, the American Civil War was the first
"Modern " war where new technologies in weapons and communications were use, some for the first time.
Von ClausewiczReviewed in the United Kingdom on 25 August 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Terrific reconstruction of the Battle of Gettysburg on the battlefield site itself
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Even though nearly 4 hours long the film was a splendid re-enactment of a crucial, maybe the crucial, battle of the American Civil War. Could have been cut for length as the out-of-battle scenes dragged a bit but the battlefield scenes themselves were utterly compelling. Taken from the book 'The Killer Angels' (I am told also excellent) the phrase 'Killer Angels' is used in the film. The secondary characters were as fascinating as the principals and often stole the scenes they were in. Great stuff, popular with military specialists.
3 people found this helpful
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United Kingdom on 22 November 2019
4.0 out of 5 stars
Historical Civil War Film
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Another great American civil war film, this time Martin Sheen Plays General Lee and does it really well, in fact all the actors are excellent, battle scenes look really authentic and the film portrays the period really well, colour and sound are excellent, but the sound lets the film down as the volume is very low, tested on two amps. aside from that I would recommend the film. I would have given 5 stars but the sound lets it down.
2 people found this helpful
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