|Gods and Generals|
|Directed by||Ronald F. Maxwell|
C. Thomas Howell
Alex Hyde White
and Robert Duvall
as Robert E. Lee
|Studio||Ted Turner Pictures|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Release date(s)||February 21, 2003|
|Running time||214 minutes|
Gods and Generals is a 2003 American film based on the novel, Gods and Generals, by Jeffrey Shaara. It is considered a prequel to the 1993 film Gettysburg, which was based on The Killer Angels, a novel by Michael Shaara, Jeff Shaara's father. The film stars Jeff Daniels as Lieutenant Colonel Joshua Chamberlain and Robert Duvall as Robert E. Lee. While many of the actors from Gettysburg reprised their roles for this film, Stephen Lang is one of a few to play a different character: George Pickett in Gettysburg and Stonewall Jackson in Gods and Generals. Martin Sheen, the original Lee, had conflicts due to the shooting schedule of The West Wing, and was replaced by Duvall.
Plot[edit | edit source]
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The film centers mostly on the personal and professional life of Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, a brilliant if eccentric Confederate general, from the outbreak of the American Civil War until its halfway point when Jackson is shot accidentally by his own soldiers in May 1863 during his greatest victory. It also follows Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, a Maine college professor who enlists in the Union army and becomes second-in-command of the 20th Maine Infantry. The film prominently features the Battles of First Bull Run, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville. The film's original running time clocked in at nearly 6 hours (much like the original running time of the already-produced-sequel "Gettysburg"). The longer version featured the Battle of Antietam, as well as an entire plot following the American actor and future presidential assassin John Wilkes Booth and his colleague Henry Harrison (from the already-mentioned "Gettysburg").
Cast[edit | edit source]
- Jeff Daniels as Lieutenant Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (reprising role)
- Stephen Lang as Lieutenant General Stonewall Jackson
- Robert Duvall as General Robert E. Lee (replacing Martin Sheen)
- Kevin Conway as Sergeant "Buster" Kilrain, the only fictional major character (reprising role)
- C. Thomas Howell as Sergeant Thomas Chamberlain (reprising role)
- William Sanderson as A.P. Hill (replacing Patrick Falci)
- Brian Mallon as Winfield Scott Hancock (reprising role)
- Bo Brinkman as Walter H. Taylor (reprising role)
- Billy Campbell as George Pickett (replacing Stephen Lang)
- Alex Hyde-White as Ambrose E. Burnside
- Joseph Fuqua as J.E.B. Stuart (reprising role)
- John Prosky as Lewis A. Armistead (replacing Richard Jordan)
- Bruce Boxleitner as Lieutenant General James Longstreet (replacing Tom Berenger)
- Royce D. Applegate as Brigadier General James L. Kemper (reprising role)
- Patrick Gorman as John Hood (reprising role)
- Morgan Sheppard as Isaac R. Trimble (reprising role)
- James Patrick Stuart as Edward Porter Alexander (reprising role)
- Jonathon Demers as Richard S. Ewell (replacing Tim Scott)
- Cooper Huckabee as Henry Thomas Harrison (reprising role)
- Andrew Prine as Richard B. Garnett (reprising role)
- James Garrett as John C. Caldwell
- J. Scott Watkins as Raleigh E. Colston
- Martin Clark as Dr. George Junkin, Stonewall Jackson's spiritual leader and ex-father-in-law
- Fred Griffith as Robert Rodes (replacing Graham Winton)
- Tim O'Hare as St. Clair Augustine Mulholland
- Jeremy London as Capt. Alexander "Sandie" Pendleton
- Donzaleigh Abernathy as Martha
- Karen Hochstetter as Roberta Corbin
- Mira Sorvino as Fanny Chamberlain
- Kali Rocha as Anna Jackson
Production[edit | edit source]
Ted Turner has a cameo in the film as Colonel Waller T. Patton. Colonel Patton, the great uncle of George S. Patton, was mortally wounded at Gettysburg, a scene depicted in the movie Gettysburg. United States Senators George Allen (R-Virginia) and Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia) also have cameo roles, both playing Confederate officers, Phil Gramm (R-Texas) appears as a member of the Virginia Legislature early in the film and Congressman Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) also appeared as an Irish Brigade officer. Most of the extras were American Civil War reenactors, who provided their own equipment and worked without pay. In exchange, Ted Turner agreed to donate $500,000 to Civil War battlefield preservation.
The movie was filmed in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley and in western Maryland. Actual historic locations in the film include Virginia Military Institute and Washington & Lee University, known as Washington College during the Civil War.
Russell Crowe was the original choice to play Stonewall Jackson but scheduling conflicts prevented his availability in the summer and fall of 2001, when the movie was filmed. Stephen Lang had begun to reprise his role as George Pickett, but instead was asked to fill in the role of Jackson. Billy Campbell, who had played a 44th New York lieutenant in Gettysburg was called in to hastily replace Lang in the role of Pickett. Although Tom Berenger desired to reprise his Gettysburg role as James Longstreet (which he called his favorite role) he was unavailable because of scheduling difficulties. Bruce Boxleitner was instead cast in the role. Darius N. Couch was portrayed by actor Carsten Norgaard. Martin Sheen was prevented from reprising his role as Lee due to contractual obligations to The West Wing.
Director's cut[edit | edit source]
The "Director's Cut" version of Gods and Generals has an alleged running time of six hours, and has never been released to the public in any format. For the theatrical release, almost two-and-a-half hours of footage were removed to get the length down to approximately 3 hours, 39 minutes. Among the footage edited includes a sub-plot which follows John Wilkes Booth, the famous actor who would eventually become the man who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln. One scene towards the end of the extended cut of the film features Chamberlain and his wife, Fanny, attending a production of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar in which Booth plays Brutus. Chamberlain and his wife have a conversation with Booth and his fellow actors following the end of the play.
Another scene cut from the film features a performance in Washington, D.C. in which Booth plays the role of Macbeth, which is being seen by President Lincoln. When he gives the famous "dagger of the mind" soliloquy, he looks directly at Lincoln while reciting it. Later, when Booth is offered the chance to meet with Lincoln, he refuses.
Possibly the one scene that historians were sad to see removed from the film was the sequence dealing with the Battle of Antietam. The battle was seen mostly from the perspectives of Jackson (who played a major strategic role in the battle) and Chamberlain (whose brigade was held in reserve). A few minutes of footage from this scene was available online, but since appears to have been removed.
When Ron Maxwell showed the director's cut of the film in a very early pre-screening, it received a standing ovation at the end. However, there are apparently no plans being made by Warner Bros. to release the extended version of the film on DVD.
Soundtrack[edit | edit source]
In 2003, the film score was released in support of the movie. The soundtrack is notable for containing a new song commissioned for the movie and written and performed by Bob Dylan, Cross the Green Mountain. The track was later included on the compilation album The Bootleg Series Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs.
Notes[edit | edit source]
[edit | edit source]
- Gods and Generals at Allmovie
- Gods and Generals at Box Office Mojo
- Gods and Generals at the Internet Movie Database
- Template:Metacritic film
- Gods and Generals at Rotten Tomatoes
- Gods and Generals Filmed in Virginia