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Gods and Generals

3.6 out of 5 stars 1,314 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
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: February 8, 2005
  • Run Time: 229 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,314 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00009OOFA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,661 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Gods and Generals" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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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Format: DVD
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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