One of the most tired internet clichés is a list of war movies published over Memorial Day Weekend. It feels like it has been done over and over again … because it has. What you usually get in such a top 10 list are eight World War II movies and two irrelevant Sylvester Stallone massacres. That’s why we’re going to do something different.
Over Memorial Day weekend, we’ll highlight war movies and miniseries you should watch from different time periods. Here are some can’t-miss Civil War classics.
Glory tells the tale of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, a “colored regiment” in the Civil War. The regiment was one of the first all-African American units in the nation’s history. The story of the bravery of the unit is told from the perspective of its white commanding officer. Denzel Washington won an Academy Award for his work in the film. It highlights the contributions of African Americans in defending the Union.
Cold Mountain is set in the mountains of western North Carolina. It is a story of the home front during the Civil War. It centers around a widow who is trying to keep her family alive and together by running her family farm. She helps deserters from the Confederate Army as well, even though the Home Guards are bent on rooting out and killing them. It is a poignant portrayal of the cost of war.
“North and South” (Miniseries)
Based on the John Jakes novel trilogy of the same name, the miniseries follows the lives of two West Point classmates, one from the South and one from the North. It highlights how families and friends were split during the Civil War.
“Gone with the Wind”
Based on the Margaret Mitchell novel, “Gone with the Wind” is a classic of American cinema. It tells the story of the Civil War and Reconstruction as seen from a plantation in Clayton County, Georgia. It highlights Sherman’s destructive march to the sea.
This 1993 film is a war epic. It follows the Battle of Gettysburg and depicts both sides. It runs over four hours, as it was originally pitched as a miniseries. It is notable because it was the first film for which the National Park Service allowed filming on the Gettysburg battlefield.
“Gods and Generals”
A prequel to “Gettysburg,” this 2003 film follows the first half of the Civil War up to the Gettysburg battle. It is centered on the actions of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson.
Like “The Patriot” after it, “Shenandoah” centers on the story of reluctant warriors called to service. In the Shenandoah valley of Virginia, a family wages battle on behalf of a member taken as a prisoner of war.
Robert Eno is the director of research for Conservative Review. He is a conservative from deep blue Massachusetts but now lives in Greenville, SC.