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Gods and Generals

3.7 out of 5 stars 1,403 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Gods and Generals (DVD) (WS)

This sweeping epic charts the early years of the American Civil War --from the Battle of Bull Run to the Battle of Fredricksburg -- exploring the motivations of the combatants and examining the lives of those who waited at home. As director, producer and screenwriter, Ronald F. Maxwell ("Gettysburg") proves a triple threat as he brings this epic Civil War saga to the screen. Based on Jeff Shaara's bestseller Gods and Generals--a prequel to the Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Killer Angels by his father, Michael Shaara--the film examines the lives and personalities of Confederate generals Lee and Jackson versus Union generals Hancock and Chamberlain as the pivotal Battle of Gettysburg approaches.

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Special Features

Audio Commentary: Detailed commentary by the writer/director, original author, historians and others. Documentaries: 3 documentaries: 1) Journey to the Past - Details the African-American slave experience. 2) The life of Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson - Profiles the indomitable, complex military man 3) The Authenticities of the Film - Explores the film's meticulous historical recreations. Introduction: Introduction by Executive Producer Ted Turner Music Video: 2 music videos: Bob Dylan's Cross the Green Mountain and Mary Fahl's Going Home.Audio Commentary: Detailed commentary by the writer/director, original author, historians and others. Documentaries: 3 documentaries: 1) Journey to the Past - Details the African-American slave experience. 2) The life of Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson - Profiles the indomitable, complex military man 3) The Authenticities of the Film - Explores the film's meticulous historical recreations. Introduction: Introduction by Executive Producer Ted Turner Music Video: 2 music videos: Bob Dylan's Cross the Green Mountain and Mary Fahl's Going Home.Audio Commentary: Detailed commentary by the writer/director, original author, historians and others. Documentaries: 3 documentaries: 1) Journey to the Past - Details the African-American slave experience. 2) The life of Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson - Profiles the indomitable, complex military man 3) The Authenticities of the Film - Explores the film's meticulous historical recreations. Introduction: Introduction by Executive Producer Ted Turner Music Video: 2 music videos: Bob Dylan's Cross the Green Mountain and Mary Fahl's Going Home.Audio Commentary: Detailed commentary by the writer/director, original author, historians and others. Documentaries: 3 documentaries: 1) Journey to the Past - Details the African-American slave experience. 2) The life of Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson - Profiles the indomitable, complex military man 3) The Authenticities of the Film - Explores the film's meticulous historical recreations. Introduction: Introduction by Executive Producer Ted Turner Music Video: 2 music videos: Bob Dylan's Cross the Green Mountain and Mary Fahl's Going Home.Audio Commentary: Detailed commentary by the writer/director, original author, historians and others. Documentaries: 3 documentaries: 1) Journey to the Past - Details the African-American slave experience. 2) The life of Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson - Profiles the indomitable, complex military man 3) The Authenticities of the Film - Explores the film's meticulous historical recreations. Introduction: Introduction by Executive Producer Ted Turner Music Video: 2 music videos: Bob Dylan's Cross the Green Mountain and Mary Fahl's Going Home.Audio Commentary: Detailed commentary by the writer/director, original author, historians and others. Documentaries: 3 documentaries: 1) Journey to the Past - Details the African-American slave experience. 2) The life of Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson - Profiles the indomitable, complex military man 3) The Authenticities of the Film - Explores the film's meticulous historical recreations. Introduction: Introduction by Executive Producer Ted Turner Music Video: 2 music videos: Bob Dylan's Cross the Green Mountain and Mary Fahl's Going Home.Audio Commentary: Detailed commentary by the writer/director, original author, historians and others. Documentaries: 3 documentaries: 1) Journey to the Past - Details the African-American slave experience. 2) The life of Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson - Profiles the indomitable, complex military man 3) The Authenticities of the Film - Explores the film's meticulous historical recreations. Introduction: Introduction by Executive Producer Ted Turner Music Video: 2 music videos: Bob Dylan's Cross the Green Mountain and Mary Fahl's Going Home.

Product Details

  • Actors: Jeff Daniels, Stephen Lang, Robert Duvall, Mira Sorvino, Kevin Conway
  • Directors: Ronald F. Maxwell
  • Writers: Ronald F. Maxwell
  • Producers: Ronald F. Maxwell, Ted Turner, Robert Katz, Robert Rehme, Moctesuma Esparza
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: February 8, 2005
  • Run Time: 229 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,403 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00009OOFA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,111 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Gods and Generals" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Both of these movies are based on the books by father and son historians Michael & Jeff Shaara. Gettysburg is based on the Pulitzer Prize winning book "The Killer Angels". No school library should be without these two wonderful films and the related books. These movies were filmed using reinactors and are very realistic and very close to actual events. These films were made by Ted Turner and part of a trilogy. The third movie about the defeat of the Confederacy may or may not be completed (PLEASE Ted do the film!!). A fourth movie "Andersonville" is about the infamous southern prison camp (not for the squeamish!!).

I cannot recommend these movies highly enough. They are GREAT films for every American to view at least once so that they understand how terrible the Civil War really was. Very entertaining and not to be missed.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Since many of you reading this are likely familiar with the movies themselves, or the stories therein, I will refrain from repeating them here (as so many other reviewers have already done). Allow me, though, to comment on the nature of the discs themselves and a brief summary of the content therein.

First of all, this is an amazing value for the price. Not only do you get "Gettysburg," which runs over 4 hours in length, but you also receive "Gods & Generals," which is an additional three-and-a-half hours. When combined with the special features (interviews, documentaries, etc.), you have well over eight hours of Civil War film in one slender DVD case!

(Since it has both discs in one normal case, it will not take up any additional room on your shelf. Additionally, the construction of said case will prevent the discs from sliding about and scratching on each other. I have yet to have any problems with either disc in removing or replacing it from it's holder, as well).

Regarding the content, let me say first that the special features on both discs are impressive. There are no deleted scenes that I recall, but there are some great documentaries, maps, interviews, and bios for each movie.

As far as the movies themselves, "Gettysburg" is by far the better film. There are some amazing performances on both sides of the blue and gray, particularly Richard Jordan's last role, Stephen Lang, Jeff Daniels, Tom Berenger, Martin Sheen, C. Thomas Howell, Kevin Conway, and Sam Elliot. In fact, it's hard to point out any poor performances at all. (Fuqua's makeup wasn't extraordinarily convincing, but otherwise, not a bad J.E.B. Stuart). What I also appreciated greatly was the equal treatment that each side is given.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
...The fact is that "Gods and Generals", which covers the first two years of the war and is the prequel to "Gettysburg", is a great movie. It is painstakingly accurate, wonderfully filmed and scripted, and the acting was suburb. Stephen Lang deserves an Oscar for his brilliant portrayal of Gen. "Stonewall" Jackson. Robert Duvall is also excellent as Gen. Robert E. Lee. Jeff Daniels, who played Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain in "Gettysburg", reprises his role in G&G, as do other actors from "Gettysburg".
If you're expecting something like "Saving Private Ryan", you'll be disappointed. It's not that kind of a movie. "Gods and Generals" is part documentary, part drama, with the right mix of both to make it both highly entertaining and historically intriguing. As you listen to the characters, you almost believe that they're from the period and places in which the story is set.
What stuck in the craw of the critics is that this movie didn't present the Confederates as fire-breathing, racist, slavery-defending apes, and the Federals as saintly freedom-fighters. It would be simplistic and wrong to characterize the war as a struggle between good and evil. The vast majority of the Confederate soldiers didn't own slaves and didn't fight for the right to keep slaves. A lot of the Union soldiers, probably most, weren't fighting to free the slaves. There were flawed men on both sides of the war, as well as deeply moral men.
You can debate all you want about how much slavery was an issue in the Civil War, but as to this movie, all points of view were well represented through the characters: Lt. Col. Chamberlain of the 20th Maine, a professor-turned-soldier who was sympathetic to the plight of the black slaves; Confederate Gen. Robert E.
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Format: Blu-ray
The theatrical release of the film was just one giant mess of a film. Great acting, sets, cinematography, and of course historically accurate, but still a mess. A search on rottentomatoes.com shows the film to have about an 8% rating which makes someone wonder 'did Uwe Boll direct this?' Plenty of people will hate it because the only slaves depicted in it are the exceptionally well-treated ones. Even watching it again, some of those scenes do still bother me as well, but a new viewer needs to take in account this film about the civil war is NOT focused on the issue of slavery. Of course, the theatrical version isn't focused on anything at all and the was the biggest problem with it.

I initially saw it when it first came out on DVD and expected 'Gettysburg' and what I found instead was a horrendously uneven and unfocused plot. Every scene was either dragged out too long, or rushed, and the transitioning always felt random. With this new extended cut, the movie gains an extra hour. That's right, a near four hour movie is now a near five hour movie. Now I'm a sucker for extended cuts even when the original was mediocre at best. My personal favorites are Dances with Wolves (another hour of greatness), and Kingdom of Heaven (fixes EVERYTHING, except the mis-casted Orlando Bloom). An example of a terrible one is Alexander: Final Cut (Jesus would have trouble raising THAT from the dead).

Gods and Generals is now officially the one movie that benefits more than any other film by having an extended cut. With the added hour and re-edit of the entire movie beginning to end, the pacing of the whole film is restored. Viewers ignorant of the civil war will understand whats going on much better. The characters gain more depth with the added scenes on and off the battlefield.
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any hope for an extended version of the DVD?
My sister, who had a small part in the film, says that there may be a director's version if they are encouraged enough but I haven't ssen it yet. You may wish to write the director and studio.
Jan 28, 2007 by Belly Laugh |  See all 4 posts
Has the third part of the trilogy been released ?
The last part of the trilogy has not been released. I've heard that Ted Turner may not produce it due to the poor box office sales of Gods and Generals.
Jun 30, 2008 by Amy E. Barker |  See all 4 posts
director's cut Be the first to reply
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