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Glory post
Glory
★★★★☆
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Edward Zwick’s sweeping historical Civil War picture tells the story of the all-black 54th Regiment of the Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. Headed by Col. Robert Gould Shaw (played by Matthew Broderick), the son of an influential abolitionist (Jane Alexander), the 54th was the first formal unit of the Union Army made up entirely of African-American enlisted men. It distinguished itself heroically at the battle of Fort Wagner, South Carolina, charging a fortification manned by some 1,000 Confederates. Crafting a dramatic and entertaining tale from several sources, including two books about Shaw, screenwriter Kevin Jarre brings this important, but little-known chapter of history into sharp focus. Until this movie, historians had largely ignored the heroics of these brave soldiers.  

Glory is a beautifully conceived war picture with some fine performances. Most notable are Denzel Washington, Andre Braugher, and Morgan Freeman who play fictional members of the 54th who represent the differing motivations many of these soldiers had for enlisting. The convention of creating specific characters to give voice to each “type” of man (white and black) from the historical period works surprisingly well here. And Zwick (best known then as the producer of television dramadies like thirtysomething, and for directing the very ‘80s romcom About Last Night…) handles the battle sequences, the drawing-room diplomacy, and the dramatic character-driven scenes set in the army camps with equal aplomb. The picture was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning Best Supporting Actor for Washington, Best Sound, and Best Cinematography for the great British DP Freddie Francis (Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, The Elephant Man, The French Lieutenant's Woman).

Twitter Capsule:
Beautifully conceived, acted, and directed Civil War picture about the then largely ignored all-black Regiment of the Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, which distinguished itself heroically on and off the battlefield.

Directed by Edward Zwick
Produced by Freddie Fields

Screenplay by Kevin Jarre
Based on the novel One Gallant Rush by Peter Burchard
and the book Lay This Laurel by Lincoln Kirstein
and the the personal letters of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw

With: Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes, Morgan Freeman, Jihmi Kennedy, Andre Braugher, John Finn, Alan North, Jay O. Sanders, Cliff De Young, Bill Nunn, and Jane Alexander

Cinematography: Freddie Francis
Editing: Steven Rosenblum
Music: James Horner

Runtime: 122 min
Release Date: 15 December 1989
Aspect Ratio: 1.85 : 1
Color