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Gettysburg


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Gettysburg + Gettysburg (Widescreen Edition) + Ultimate Civil War Series - 150th Anniversary Edition
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Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: A&E Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: September 20, 2011
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004YDSN3U
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,202 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From executive producers Tony Scott and Ridley Scott comes a special about the battle that changed the course of the Civil War and the future of the Nation. "The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here." Abraham Lincoln's iconic Gettysburg Address frames this epic, feature-length History special, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Gettysburg looks at this battle from a visceral new perspective, that of the everyday soldiers who fought there, in a confrontation that changed the fate of our nation. Stripping away the romanticized veneer of past treatments, this special conveys new information and honors the sacrifice of those, both North and South, who fought and died there. Raw, immersive and emotional, this groundbreaking event puts viewers inside the three-day battle where over 50,000 men paid the ultimate price.

Amazon.com

The epic battle of Gettysburg, fought over a three-day period at the beginning of July 1863, was bloody, brutal, and bitter--making it ideally suited to the History Channel's testosterone-fueled documentary approach. Viewers familiar with offerings like Battles B.C., Patton 360, and multiple others will recognize this style: loud and kinetic, flashy and unsubtle, Gettysburg blends reenactments, photos, CGI (used to depict and dissect the weaponry that made the Civil War's body count so high in general, with some 50,000 casualties at Gettysburg alone), Sam Rockwell's macho voice-over narration, actors reading the reminiscences of the participants, and a variety of expert talking heads holding forth. For the most part, it works; historians and Civil War buffs have already noted some of the factual errors, important omissions, and other problems with the material, but those less versed in the details will come away from this 94-minute program (which was executive produced by noted directors Tony and Ridley Scott) with a good deal of information about the confrontation that inspired President Abraham Lincoln's immortal address, referenced near the end of the documentary. Typical of the History Channel, some of this information is delivered in hyperbolic, melodramatic fashion. Gettysburg was "the largest battle ever fought in the Western Hemisphere," while the cannons that blasted away at Gen. Robert E. Lee's men during the fateful attack known as Pickett's Charge was "the largest artillery barrage ever" in that same sphere; numerous other events are the biggest, the most iconic, the most important, and so on. The overheated writing does Gettysburg no favors, but director Adrian Moat and the other filmmakers' decision to focus on a variety of individuals on both sides was a wise one. Thus we learn about characters like Maj. Gen. Dan Sickles of the North, who had killed his wife's lover before the war and successfully used "the first plea of temporary insanity in U.S. history" to win acquittal; Pvt. Amos Humiston, another Yank, who died on the streets of the Pennsylvania town with nothing to identify him except a photo of his three sons; Confederate Lt. Gen. Dick Ewell, who had vowed revenge after losing a leg earlier in the war; Col. James Wallace, a Marylander who was both a Union officer and slave owner; and numerous others. In the end, it's these portraits that help distinguish the program from the many, many others of its ilk. --Sam Graham

Customer Reviews

It is well done, very informative, and not at all boring.
RRS
This is a documentary, and thus the informative value should be at least as important as the entertainment value.
Captain Hornblower
I liked the style of the film but the historical inaccuracies ruined it for me.
Michael Hines

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

90 of 104 people found the following review helpful By Captain Hornblower on May 30, 2011
Format: DVD
Once again, the History Channel has produced a documentary that is par for the course with their productions over the past several years--style and special effects over substance. Like the disappointing production of last year, America: the Story of Us, this documentary on the Battle of Gettysburg is one that oversimplifies the subject, relies on generalities without substantive discussion, and favors computer graphics and big explosions over educational value.

The narration repeats the same general exclamatory statements over and over again. How many times do we have to hear, "this could determine the outcome of the Civil War," or "this would be one of the iconic moments of the War," in the narrator's deep, dramatic tone? It reminded me of the aforementioned America: the Story of Us, when they had to have a commentator say every five minutes or so, "we are a nation of innovators," or "ours is a history of struggle." Such repeated statements are meant to add weight and power to the piece, but instead just make it into overly exaggerated melodrama.

You can see the mark of the modern war film making style in the piece, especially given that Tony and Ridley Scott are the producers behind it. The documentary is obviously trying to give it a Saving Private Ryan feel, with plenty of bullet impact noises, blood and grit, and even the noisy-silence sound of someone suffering shock (reminiscent of several moments with Tom Hanks character in Private Ryan). But alas, this stylistic war film feel is not supported by an informative narrative. This is a documentary, and thus the informative value should be at least as important as the entertainment value.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Michael Hines on November 27, 2011
Format: DVD
As a Civil War buff and reenactor for about 30 years I was looking forward to seeing this program when I saw the previews. Unfortunately it proved to be a disappointment. I liked the style of the film but the historical inaccuracies ruined it for me. I don't know who they had advising them but the "soldiers" weren't even wearing their equipment properly. While it wasn't a documentary the movie "Gettysburg" directed by Ron Maxwell is much more historically correct, if you can overlook the fact that some of us reenactors used in that film were a bit old and too well fed.
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Format: DVD
The History Channel enlisted some big names (Executive Producers Tony Scott and Ridley Scott, Narrator Sam Rockwell) to collaborate on one of the most heavily promoted and anticipated spectacles that the network has ever orchestrated. The resultant "Gettysburg," released to commemorate the anniversary of the Civil War (it's been 150 years), has had many battle aficionados crying foul. Anyone looking for a traditional accounting of the facts of the pivotal event at Gettysburg may indeed be disappointed by this different interpretation. In a continued and concentrated effort to blur the lines between entertainment and documentary, the program serves up a bloody recreation which highlights the lives of eight soldiers (representing both sides of the conflict) and tries to examine history from a more personal perspective. While not "history" per se, these individual accounts have a quiet thoughtfulness that can be effective. But the vivid recreation is filled with carnage, sweeping camera work, and overheated exclamation by Rockwell that overshadows the intimacy. At times, it feels so overproduced that clearly the style component is winning a victory over substance.

For the record, I have nothing against looking at Gettysburg from a different vantage point. If you want a documentary that just relates the facts and details, there are dozens of decent choices in the DVD marketplace. The harshest critics of "Gettysburg" will claim that the show is inaccurate--but I believe incomplete is a better interpretation. By focusing singularly on the soldiers as a narrative hook, the documentary aspect of the interviews can be hit-or-miss. In detailing specific movements (between live action segments), lively graphics are employed but information is still somewhat limited.
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25 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Lee D. Phillips on July 15, 2011
Format: DVD
How you can produce a documentary entitled "Gettysburg" and completely ignore the southern flank of the battle is beyond me. Granted, the personal stories of individual soldiers are moving; however, you could demonstrate that true courage, intense fear, incredible suffering, and numbing horror existed in any battle in any time period. The film is mistitled; it is misleading to viewers who wish a comprehensive idea of what specifically occured in those three fateful days.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By JASON on August 25, 2013
Format: DVD
Uniforms and equipment are atrocious. The actors do not aim weapons like a trained soldier would. While it's nice the History Channel tried to make the battle more appealing for modern generations, they fall drastically short. They give actual history the look and feel of a comic book. I would suggest the Wide Awake Series films or the Civil War Combat series to use an educational teaching tool instead of this horrible film.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ellen S. Wilds on January 30, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
As an historian who has done extensive research into Gettysburg and its participants, I realize that no one program can cover all aspects of the great battle. Even if I accept that principle there is still no excuse for stated errors in the narration.
It is so easy to get it right that I am appalled at how often these programs get it wrong. I give a few examples:

1. Stonewall Jackson did NOT die in battle as stated in the program. He was shot by his own pickets and died a month later of pneumonia.

2. Clara Barton did NOT found the Red Cross. That honor goes to Jean Henri Dunant of Switzerland. Barton can only be credited with bringing the Red Cross to the US.

3. Meade's battle formation did not see the potential value of Little Round Top, although Sickles' move forward further exposed the vulnerable weakness of the Union left flank. Warren's quick assessment of the danger and the sacrifice of commanders like Strong Vincent and Paddy O'Rourke made the difference.

4. While I am relieved not to hear so much about Pickett (who hated having his name attached to that disastrous charge) there was no mention of Pettigrew and Trimble, whose units sacrificed far more during the charge.

5. And finally -- perhaps a point that only I can make -- the reference to men under Davis futilely planting a flag on the Union wall is not only without substantiation, but has been disproved by the publication of the diary written by Lt. William H. Peel, Company C of the 11th Mississippi. Since I am the transcriber and researcher who published the diary (available on Amazon) I can state with confidence that the flag story told by Pvt. Joseph Marable was fabricated by that gentlemen for his own reasons.
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