Theatrical poster for Gettysburg
|Directed by||Ronald F. Maxwell|
|Written by||Ronald F. Maxwell|
C. Thomas Howell
Royce D. Applegate
|Music by||Randy Edelman|
|Distributed by||New Line Cinema|
|Release date(s)||October 8, 1993|
262 min (USA) |
259 min (UK)
254 min (Sweden)
244 min (Netherlands)
|Followed by||Gods and Generals|
Gettysburg is a 1993 film that dramatizes the decisive Battle of Gettysburg in the American Civil War. It was directed by Ronald F. Maxwell, who also wrote the screenplay, a close adaptation of Michael Shaara's 1974 novel The Killer Angels, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1975.
Synopsis[edit | edit source]
The film follows the plot line of Killer Angels. The focus on the first day is on John Buford, who selects the battlefield. The focus on the second day is Joshua Chamberlain's defense of Little Round Top. The focus on the following evening is on preparation for and the execution of Pickett's Charge. James Longstreet is the major focus of those scenes.
Production[edit | edit source]
The film was originally intended to have been a TV miniseries. The producers originally pitched the project to ABC in 1991. ABC initially agreed to back the project, but when a TV movie about George Armstrong Custer got low ratings, ABC pulled out. It wasn't long until media mogul Ted Turner picked it up and the film went into production.
For the first time, the National Park Service allowed the motion picture industry to recreate and film battle scenes directly on the Gettysburg Battlefield, including scenes of Devil's Den and Little Round Top. However, much of the movie was shot at a nearby Adams County farm. Thousands of Civil War reenactors from across the country volunteered their time and expense to come to Gettysburg to participate in the massive battle scenes.
The miniseries was set to air on TNT. But when Turner saw part of the film during post-production, he realized it was much bigger than a miniseries and decided to release the film theatrically. The film was distributed by New Line Cinema which Turner had just acquired. Only being released to 248 theaters at its widest release, and limited to just one or two showings per day because of its length, the film still managed to gross $10,769,960 at the box office, but statistically speaking was still a box-office flop. It would go on to become an all-time high seller on the VHS and DVD market, and has become a staple of classroom history lessons. Its broadcast TV premier on TNT in June 1994 garnered over 23 million viewers, a record for cable TV at the time.
One of the longest films ever released by a Hollywood studio, Gettysburg runs 254 minutes (4 hours, 14 minutes) on VHS and DVD. A "Director's Cut", with several extended or deleted scenes, was produced and sold as a part of a special "Collector's Edition" released on VHS and LaserDisc, which also included Mort Künstler's book of Gettysburg paintings, an original Civil War lead Minié ball, some stock photographs of key officers from the battle, and other items. Ron Maxwell's 271-minute (4 hours, 31 minutes) Director's Cut has been shown on Turner's TNT Station regularly, but has not appeared on DVD to date.
A prequel, Gods and Generals, was released in 2003.
The strategy game, "Gettysburg" (PC/1994) was the first title released by Turner Interactive. It contained 67 cinematic cut-scenes from the motion picture, many of them out-takes.
Cast[edit | edit source]
- Tom Berenger as Lieutenant General James Longstreet
- Jeff Daniels as Colonel Joshua Chamberlain
- Martin Sheen as General Robert E. Lee
- Kevin Conway as Sergeant "Buster" Kilrain
- C. Thomas Howell as Lieutenant Thomas Chamberlain
- Richard Jordan as Brigadier General Lewis A. "Lo" Armistead
- Richard Anderson as Major General George Meade
- Royce D. Applegate as Brigadier General James L. Kemper
- John Diehl as Private Bucklin
- Maxwell Caulfield as Colonel Strong Vincent
- Joshua D. Maurer as Colonel James Clay Rice
- Patrick Gorman as Major General John Bell Hood
- Cooper Huckabee as Henry Thomas Harrison
- James Lancaster as Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Fremantle
- Brian Mallon as Major General Winfield Scott Hancock
- Andrew Prine as Brigadier General Richard B. Garnett
- John Rothman as Major General John F. Reynolds
- Tim Scott as Lieutenant General Richard S. Ewell
- Morgan Sheppard as Major General Isaac R. Trimble and narrator
- Stephen Lang as Major General George Pickett
- Sam Elliott as Brigadier General John Buford
- Joseph Fuqua as Major General J.E.B. Stuart
- Bo Brinkman as Major Walter H. Taylor
- Kieran Mulroney as Major Moxley Sorrel
- James Patrick Stuart as Colonel Edward Porter Alexander
- Warren Burton as Major General Henry Heth
- Buck Taylor as Colonel William Gamble
- David Carpenter as Colonel Thomas C. Devin
- Donal Logue as Captain Ellis Spear
- Herb Mitchell as Sergeant Andrew J. Tozier
- Dwier Brown as Captain Brewer
Cameos[edit | edit source]
Civil War buff Ted Turner has a cameo appearance in one of the battle scenes as Colonel Waller T. Patton. During Major General Pickett's (Stephen Lang) charge, some Confederate troops come to a fence that they have to climb over. Turner plays the Confederate officer who leads the charge, then gets shot down.
Another cameo appearance is by Ken Burns, who wrote and directed the epic PBS documentary, The Civil War. He portrays an aide to Major General Hancock (Brian Mallon) during Pickett's Charge. He can be seen saying "General, please get down. We cannot spare you," to Hancock, to which Hancock replies with his famous quotation, "There are times when a corps commander's life does not count."
Buck Taylor (Gunsmoke) played the role of Col. William Gamble.
Soundtrack[edit | edit source]
The soundtrack was composed by Randy Edelman.
- Main Title
- Men of Honor
- Battle of Little Round Top
- Fife and Gun
- General Lee at Twilight
- The First Battle
- From History to Legend
- Over the Fence
- We are the Flank
- Charging Up the Hill
- General Lee's Solitude
- Battle at Devil's Den
- Killer Angel
- March to Mortality (Pickett's Charge)
- Kathleen Mavourneen
- Reunion and Finale
Two more soundtracks, More Songs and Music From Gettysburg and a Deluxe Commemorative Edition were released as well. This first one included popular songs from the time period and a recitation of the Gettysburg Address by Jeff Daniels, while the second included several previously unreleased tracks from the score.
References[edit | edit source]
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