53 of 58 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Gettysburg (Widescreen Edition) (DVD)
This movies is my all-time favorite for the war genre. It was well worth the $20 million price tag for Turner Pictures. Gettysburg is the classic war saga minus the romance along the lines of Gone With The Wind. The performances of all the actors are splendid. My personal favorites are the performances given by Tom Berenger as Lt. Gen. James Longstreet, Richard Jordan as Gen. Lewis Armistead, Jeff Daniels as Col. Joshua Chamberlain, Sam Elliott as Brig. Gen. John Buford, and of course Stephen Lang as Maj. Gen. George E. Pickett. The performance by Jordan was to be his last as he became ill with a brain tumor and died 9 months after the filming of Gettysburg. He is caught between love and war with his long-time friend Maj. Gen Winfield Hancock (Brian Mallon) on the opposing Union side. Armistead suffers considerable agony which is obvious to even the casual viewer especially when the director Ronald F. Maxwell spends considerable time on Armistead trying to bait Lt Gen Longstreet (Tom Berenger) into relieving Armistead of the upcoming battle. Jeff Daniels was a very big suprise for me. I picture Daniels in the toilet scene from Dumb and Dumber and would not have cast him myself in this epic, but that just shows the genius behind casting director Joy Todd. Sam Elliot's role as Buford can be summed up in the following quote "Meade will come in slowly, cautiously, new to command... And then, after Lee's army is entrenched behind nice fat rocks, Meade will attack finally, if he can coordinate the army. He'll attack right up that rocky slope, and up that gorgeous field of fire. And we will charge valiantly, and be butchered valiantly. And afterwards men in tall hats and gold watch fobs will thump their chest and say what a brave charge it was. Devin, I've led a soldier's life, and I've never seen anything as brutally clear as this"...wonderful! Alot of love was given to the filming of this movie. 5,000 non-paid re-enactors were hired to play the roles of the thousands of anonymous faces. Even Ted Turner himself picked up the musket and was among the ones counted during Pickett's charge. He can be seen, but only for a nano-second. I can write forever on this films' qualities but to finish it up, the accuracy in this film is phenomenal. The greatest example of this is how Ronald F.Maxwell uses actual quotes recorded by soldiers from that famous battle. Gen. Pickett: "Up men, up! And let no man forget today that you are from old Virginia!" Gen. Armistead: "Virginians! Virginians! For your land - for your homes - for your sweethearts - for your wives - for Virginia! Forward... march!"