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Gods & Generals (2003)

Jeff Daniels , Stephen Lang , Ronald F. Maxwell  |  PG-13 |  DVD
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,035 customer reviews)

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Gods & Generals + Gettysburg (Widescreen Edition) + Ultimate Civil War Series - 150th Anniversary Edition
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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 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: July 15, 2003
  • Run Time: 229 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,035 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00009OOFA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,508 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Gods & Generals" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Introduction by executive producer Ted Turner
  • 3 making-of documentaries: "Journey to the Past," "The Life of Thomas 'Stonewall' Jackson," and "The Authenticites of the Film"
  • 2 music videos from Bob Dylan and Mary Fahl
  • Weblinks

Editorial Reviews

A sweeping epic charting the early years of the Civil War and how campaigns unfolded from Manassas to the Battle of Fredericksburg, this prequel to the film Gettysburg explores the motivations of the combatants and examines the lives of those who waited at home.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
375 of 409 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They don't make movies like this anymore! June 6, 2003
...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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126 of 135 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extended Cut turns mud into Gold May 24, 2011
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 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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74 of 80 people found the following review helpful
This is not your typical movie - One has to expect that. I actually like it, because it is not Hollywood and not slick and polished, but more like about how things really were in the war. Acting of Stonewall Jackson was excellently done and well portrayed in the movie. The level of detail was tremendous, but if you just want a regular fast paced, low detail, low frills movie, then you will hate it...I have watched movies less than half this length and been bored stiff. This is a very complete movie with truth that makes its mark and wish more historical dramas/war movies had this detail, because sometimes it is so hard to beleive what really happened in the past unless you see and understand the smallest details.
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58 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie...Wish I could see the longer version July 9, 2003
Gods and Generals is an excellent movie. Unfortunately, it doesn't fit the current demographic of target moviegoers (teenagers), and convinced Ted Turner to basically forget ever releasing the third part of the trilogy (The Last Full Measure). Also too bad is the fact that the supposed six hour cut might never be released, as I suspect some criticisms of the movie may be answered by this version.
Contrary to many people's opinion, this movie is not Southern propoganda. No Dixie propaganda piece would have Chamberlain's discussion about the war with his brother in it. It is just telling the story from the point of view of southerners. As this movie is the story of Stonewall Jackson, the Last Full Measure would likely be the story of Ulysses S. Grant, and would amazingly seem too biased to the North.
Despite this, I could have used a little more mention of why northerners joined the war. Showing men from Illinois and Massachusetts as well as Virginia going off to war would have been a nice addition to the movie. I suspect the six hour version has more Chamberlain and Hancock, which is why this version must be released.
Please buy this movie, and buy it as a gift for someone else. Despite being almost four hours long, it is a very smooth flowing time. Hopefully, Shaara and Maxwell will convince Turner to move forward with "The Last Full Measure". Good sales returns on the DVD of "Gods and Generals" will definitely help.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very historical
Published 3 days ago by Jack Hertzog
4.0 out of 5 stars Very happy with the product and especially the price
This was purchased to replaced a old but damaged DVD. It played through to the end with no problems. Very happy with the product and especially the price. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Regina
4.0 out of 5 stars Great movie. Stephen Lang did a great job portraying ...
Great movie. Stephen Lang did a great job portraying Stonewall Jackson.
Published 7 days ago by David White
4.0 out of 5 stars More about stonewall Jackson than the war itself other than ...
More about stonewall Jackson than the war itself other than to show how the war would not have lasted 6 months if Robert e Lee would have taken Lincoln up on his offer to command... Read more
Published 10 days ago by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars completely BORING movie (I can see why it flopped at the ...
This movie was so "overly-melodramatic" with its dialog, it disgraced the book it is based on! Read more
Published 10 days ago by Atheistically Yours
5.0 out of 5 stars Even better than the original film
I've seen the original film, but it was so long ago that I'm not sure how much of the director's cut was added footage. Read more
Published 11 days ago by J. Chambers
5.0 out of 5 stars I bought it for my mom and she loved it. She loves old war movies like...
I bought it for my mom and she loved it. She loves old war movies like this one and it was worth it
Published 11 days ago by thunderstorm
4.0 out of 5 stars I like it
Great movie, great acting, pretty accurate account of the faith of the Generals
Published 12 days ago by David
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Over the top on the live and leadership of Thomas Jackson.
Published 19 days ago by Phillip Anderson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
My husband loved this.
Published 19 days ago by pickginger
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Topic From this Discussion
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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