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Gettysburg (Widescreen Edition) [VHS]

1,321 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Tom Berenger, Martin Sheen, Stephen Lang, Richard Jordan, Andrew Prine
  • Directors: Ron Maxwell
  • Writers: Ron Maxwell, Michael Shaara
  • Producers: Moctesuma Esparza, Nick Lombardo, Robert Katz, Sandy Martin
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, HiFi Sound, Letterboxed, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Number of tapes: 2
  • Studio: Turner Home Ent
  • VHS Release Date: July 18, 2000
  • Run Time: 271 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,321 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6303014100
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,407 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Three days in the summer of 1863, at a place called Gettysburg. Although it received a theatrical release, this four-hour depiction of the bloody Civil War battle was shot as a made-for-television film. But no taint of cheapness or shortcuts should stick to this magnificent picture (well, except maybe for those phony-looking mustaches). Based on Michael Shaara's book The Killer Angels, this film takes a refreshingly slow, thorough approach to the intricacies of battle. In ordinary circumstances, those intricacies might seem of importance only to fans of military strategy or Civil War enthusiasts, yet in Gettysburg they come across as the very stuff of life, death, and unexpected heroism. If the film has a problem, it's that it climaxes too early: the first long segment, detailing the struggle of a "civilian soldier," Union Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (Jeff Daniels), to hold his ground against long odds, is an enthralling piece of moviemaking. Daniels, in a heartbreaking performance, does his best film work. Other cast members include Tom Berenger, Sam Elliott, and Martin Sheen as Robert E. Lee. Richard Jordan, in his final role, gives a powerhouse performance as Confederate general Lewis A. Armistead. Oh, and you can also try to spot Ted Turner, whose company produced the film, as a Confederate soldier. Writer-director Ronald F. Maxwell seems inspired by the gravity of the battle; long as it is, every moment of Gettysburg is informed by a nobility of purpose. --Robert Horton

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

420 of 433 people found the following review helpful By Mike Powers TOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 24, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
(Review updated July 25, 2015)

"Gettysburg" is one of my all-time favorite war films! It re-creates the Civil War's battle of Gettysburg with superb acting, an excellent screenplay, a hauntingly beautiful musical score, and some of the most authentic and stirring battle scenes I've ever seen in a movie.

Based upon Michael Shaara's Pulitzer Prize winning novel "The Killer Angels," this film follows the principal characters, and chronicles the main events, which occurred at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania from July 1-3, 1863. The events depicted in the film are notable for their historical accuracy. Some of the most exciting battle scenes in the film are General John Buford's engagement with the Confederates on the high ground north of Gettysburg on July 1; the defense of Little Round Top by Colonel Joshua Chamberlain's 20th Maine on the following day; and, of course, Pickett's Charge on the final day of the battle. The battle scenes contain plenty of smoke and fire, but are done without copious displays of blood and gore.

The acting in "Gettysburg" is excellent throughout. Jeff Daniels , who portrays Chamberlain, probably gives the best overall performance, but Martin Sheen (Robert E. Lee), Tom Berenger (Gen. James Longstreet), Sam Eliot (Buford,) Stephen Lang (Gen. George Pickett), and Kevin Conway (Sergeant Kilrain) also give performances which are outstanding for their realism, grittiness, and historical accuracy. Special mention must also go to the late Richard Jordan, whose portrayal of Confederate General Louis Armistead was consistently eloquent and moving.

I originally purchased "Gettysburg" in 1999, when it was available only in VHS format.
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290 of 302 people found the following review helpful By E. Orgon VINE VOICE on December 12, 2000
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Many other reviewers have written about the movie Gettysburg itself, so I thought I would comment on the DVD itself.
I have an extensive DVD collection, and if you have experienced what I have, among them are the great quality transfers and some real dogs. Gettysburg might well be THE finest transfer I've seen. The video (I play it on a widescreen HDTV) and audio are outstanding. I must emphasize that the video delivers unbelievable clarity, perhaps the best I've seen. Clearly, the careful attention to detail and loving recreations that were the foundation for the original movie have been carried to the DVD with that same committment. It is refreshing to see a studio that REALLY cares about its product.
As an aside, I should also mention I am an amateur Civil War historian focused on the battle of Gettysburg and of course find the film an outstanding, albeit limited, short history of the battle. This DVD will expand other people's knowledge if they avail themselves of the feature length commentary, especially the portions by James McPherson from Princeton U. His narrative not only amplifies details of what the movie shows, but also puts a broader perspective on it, such as other important engagements at Gettysburg such as Culp's Hill, the Wheatfield, and others.
Bottom line: GET THIS DVD.
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208 of 222 people found the following review helpful By M. Veiluva on October 1, 2003
Format: DVD
"Gettysburg" is perhaps the best attempt by any film to capture a single battle from beginning to end. It is not a movie for everyone since there is no artificially-embedded love story (as in. "Pearl Harbor"), and in fact, there are no women in this movie at all. It sets out to depict the largest battle ever fought on the American continent. Its success is the product of the deliberate choice of the director to respect the source material, namely one of the finest historical war novels ever written, "The Killer Angels", by Michael Shaara.
Gettysburg is a battle of superlatives. It was the largest and bloodiest encounter battle of the Civil War, adding up the three days between July 1 and July 3, 1863, and it tore the heart out of the Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.. It is also the most controversial battle, generating more than its share of debates over decisions and tactics. Was Lee off his game at Gettysburg, as Shaara suggests? Or, as other historians argue, was the battle lost by "Old Pete" Longstreet's case of the "slows" on July 2 (the attack on Devil's Den and Little Round Top) and July 3 (Pickett's Charge)? Longstreet's postwar memoirs lay the blame for Pickett`s Charge squarely at Lee's feet, but since Longstreet joined the Republican party after the war, many Southerners are quick to blame him for Lee's defeat.
Shaara's book, and therefore the film, makes choices in this debate. Shaara sides with Longstreet (aptly played by Tom Beringer), who is depicted as a thoughtful, reluctant warrior who vocally opposes the sanguinary frontal assaults launched by Lee on July 2nd and July 3rd . (For a different perspective, I highly recommend Noah Trudeau's latest book, "Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage.
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83 of 87 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 10, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
July 1,2,3 of 1863 were pivotal days in our country's history. "Gettysburg" does an admirable job of summing up the actions and emotions of this battle in about 4 hours. This is the best Civil War movie that you are ever going to see. Why is it so good? Here are a number of reasons:
ONE: The Acting...There is a good amount of solid actors playing key roles in this movie. Sam Elliot, Martin Sheen, Jeff Daniels, and Tom Berenger are the big names. They are supported by other very good actors. They play their parts with proper accents and believability.
TWO: Balance...Some Civil War movies almost make the South seem like the bad guys ("Glory" comes to mind). No matter what part of the country you are from, as you watch "Gettysburg" you feel for the fighters on both sides. You understand the tough choices they had to make as this movie spends even time in both army camps. In a normal movie, I would have expected the Pickett's Charge scene to be a story of the Northerner's great stand. In this movie, both the South and the North are given their due during this key assault.
THREE: Personal Stories...This movie isn't just about the nuts & bolts of the battle (who was stationed here, who charged there etc...), but it also does a phenomonal job of telling the stories mostly of the key officers in this battle: Buford, Stuart, Chamberlain, Lee, and Longstreet. One part that was especially done well was the struggle between two close friends, Armistead (CSA) and Hancock (USA).
FOUR: Soundtrack...Very appropriate and beautiful music during different parts of the battle.
I could go on, but I think this highlights the strengths of this great movie. It's one that's well worth watching.
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Gettysburg and the Trilogy of Movies
I have a VHS special edition copy of the "extended version" which adds about 30 minutes back into the movie. Some are just extensions of scenes, but two I can recall involve Buford & his cavalry moving into and through Gettysburg, interacting with the civilian population. Another is a... Read More
Nov 3, 2008 by Richard Byers |  See all 29 posts
Jeff Shaara was in our area for a few days, oh, I'd say about two years ago. At that time, he said that there was nothing happening with "Last Full Measure". I don't remember his exact words but I got the feeling that it basically comes down to money.

The Domestic Total Gross for... Read More
Feb 8, 2008 by Dixie Schweitzer |  See all 29 posts
Gettysburg on Blu-Ray?
No, I have searched the internet for information about a release to no avail. I do hope that when they do, it will be a director's cut that includes the deleted scenes that add to the story and are in the book "The Killer Angles".
The movie gets beat up pretty bad by historians, but... Read More
Mar 26, 2010 by James D. Barlow |  See all 10 posts
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