Gods and Generals (Extended Director's Cut)

4 h 39 min2003X-RayPG-13
Covering four major battles of the Civil War, this epic saga charts the early years of the Civil War, how the campaigns unfolded from Manassas to the Battle of Fredericksburg.
Ronald F. Maxwell
Jeff DanielsStephen LangRobert Duvall
DramaAdventureActionMilitary and War
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
Mira SorvinoKevin ConwayC. Thomas HowellFrankie R. FaisonBruce BoxleitnerJeremy LondonWilliam SandersonMalachy McCourtStephen SpacekAlex Hyde WhiteBilly CampbellKali Rocha
Ronald F. Maxwell
Warner Bros.
PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Content advisory
Smokingalcohol usefoul languagesexual contentviolence
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4.5 out of 5 stars

5760 global ratings

  1. 74% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 12% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 8% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 3% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 3% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Michael ShaverReviewed in the United States on January 3, 2018
4.0 out of 5 stars
Like a time machine into the Civil War
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I bought the Bluray to have a copy of the painstakingly authentic depiction of Civil War battles in high definition detail. It was made by the same production group that produced the film Gettysburg, and I was impressed by their attention to detail in that film after I visited that battlefield. I got my money’s worth here, as the optics are phenomenal. I felt like I was in a time machine! This was filmed with little CGI special effects, but instead they used armies of re-enactment volunteers who were happy to play their role in return for a hefty contribution to Civil War battlefield preservation. The film does well in preserving the costumes, technology, and issues of a complex war.

The films has been expanded as a “Director’s Cut” that restores the Battle of Antietam and other scenes, making it even longer. The critics hated the film because of various reasons, including the excessive length of the film. It should have been three films! Don’t try to watch this in one setting.

The second objection was the acting and dialogue. There is some point there perhaps, but some of the more wordy elements of the film dialogue were the film maker’s attempt to orient the audience to the issues and motivations of the Civil War. That is now very necessary, as there is much more to the Civil War than just slavery. Robert E. Lee, the Civil War general, was anti-slavery, for example. This background detail is what makes this film “slower” than Gettysburg. With that earlier film, you didn’t get as much back story of any of the combatants or discourses on their motives. That’s worth some digression. As for the acting, it looked good to me. In real war, people don’t wear their feelings on their shift sleeves. I think moderns are also uncomfortable with conversation that includes reference to Jesus, but that was part of the conversational flavor of the era. If they all talked like we do, it wouldn't have an authentic flavor, would it?

Another objection to the film was the claim that it was sympathetic to the Confederate perspective. Here is one reason for that impression. Most of the battles were fought on Confederate turf, and any representation of the civilians would necessarily involved pro-Confederate sympathies of the locals. The reality is that some people act heroically for an ill-fated cause. They spent more time showcasing General “Stonewall” Jackson more than any other character, and he was very Southern.

This film helps fill the vacuum in that most public school education leaves. It personalizes the war, and shows the complexity in battles that usually get a sentence in most texts. If the length of the battle sequences seems unendurable, imagine what it was to live it. And, as I said, the depiction of the towns and countryside seems to be amazingly realistic.

Some reviewers didn’t like the scene involving Jackson having an intense emotional reaction to the death of a child of his acquaintance, whereas he had been stoic through so much carnage. It certainly helps humanize the character, and given the enormity of the stress of war, I didn’t have an issue with it.
72 people found this helpful
JonathanReviewed in the United States on November 2, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
We must NEVER forget...
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I don't care which side was just or had God on their side. These were our darkest days in our country's history and when you get to the bottom of it all, it was Americans fighting and killing fellow Americans. I love this movie, I love the acting, I love the cinematography, I even love the music. It makes itself a reminder that instead of holding grudges for what has happened in the past. We must come together as a nation and weep and give thanks for their sacrifice, they fought and died, so that we may never have to in the future. I ignore the critics who poorly discredited this film, they simply don't understand how those years of fighting over 150 years back, changed our nation forever. At least watch this film once in your lifetime, because it is story that every American must take to heart. It is the very words that came from Lincoln's Gettysburg Address that reminds us that this was a war to make the United States truly 'the land of the FREE', and we must make it our sacred duty as an American to never forget the bloodshed and the cost that was made. This movie is not trying to be biased, it is simply trying to take you back to the years of 1861-1863 and show you what has happened in order to make our nation more stronger and united. It stopped us from calling ourselves; "Georgians, New Yorkers, Virginians, and Pennsylvanians", it made us forever identify as "American", nothing more.
79 people found this helpful
CompuForensicsReviewed in the United States on November 6, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
While Not Politically Correct, It Is Undoubtedly Historically Correct - Well Acted & Protrayed - Worth Watching Several Times
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Hollywood seldom gets it right. This movie is an exception. My late 60s University of Maryland BA was in US history, mostly before 1865. Unlike the politically correct versions of history coming out of Hollywood in recent decades, this movie gives the viewer a historically correct view of two southern generals, their staff and opponents. Contrary to recent histories, both Lee and Jackson opposed slavery, but loved their states. As someone who lived most of his life in the north, the historically accurate depiction of the two generals was refreshing. When I studied history in the 60s at a very politically liberal university, I was fortunate to have professors who required me to research sources written by participants during the period reported on.

The film is also well acted. The depiction of Thomas Jackson, arguably the greatest tactician of the war, was particularly well done.
106 people found this helpful
Roy WestReviewed in the United States on January 7, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Not the usual Yankee narrative on the War for Southern Independence
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This is a refreshing look at the War for Southern Independence and a well-done study of the moral character of the two greatest Generals that were fielded by the Confederate States of America. I have always known about the high moral ground occupied by General Robert E. Lee as well as by Thomas Jonathon "Stonewall" Jackson.

That old maxim about the victors being accorded the right to write history any old way they like--true or not--has certainly proven true with the War for Southern Independence. The list of bald-faced lies and exaggerations would fill a book. There are many outright lies told about the Confederate nation by Northerners anxious to bury their seemingly endless list of war crimes by claiming that the South committed heinous war crimes. This is a lie. The Southern Prisoner of War camp at Andersonville has been called a Confederate war crime. This, too, is a lie and I will state the reasons why.

It is true that the prisoners were starving but so were all the civilians of both the white and the black race that inhabited the region around Andersonville because the Northern army had a stranglehold on the area and was starving everybody out. When the CSA government told the North that they wanted a POW swap with them because there was no longer any food for the Union soldiers Lincoln refused to do it, thus callously and illogically sealing their fate.

But what earned the The Union--a 5-star position in the book of war criminals is this dirty little secret: Camp Douglas, Chicago. This Union Army camp for Confederate POWs of all races has only recently appeared on the radar for Americans who are interested in the truth and carrying out the justice of making this hateful "landmark" known to one and all. It got no press whatsoever since the war ended. Camp Douglas was a very special camp: it was a torture center and a death by intentional starvation camp (and this in Illinois, which was flush with food of all kinds!). Both White and Black (yes, Blacks did join the Confederate Army but they were not required to do so-- as they were forced to do in the North) were tortured to death, the ones that survived this were given no food until they died of starvation.

Want more confirmation of this stone ground FACT? You can find plenty of photographs of the site of Camp Douglas and its huge and most infamous mound containing what was left of over 4,000 human souls when the Yankees were through with them. They were piled into a trench and this was covered over with dirt making it the largest mass internment of human beings in the Western Hemisphere. These facts are very easily checked out on the internet via Google and You Tube.

As if this were not enough to earn The North (and NOT the Confederate States of America) a place of dishonor for the rest of history, there is another atrocity that makes the above atrocity pale by comparison. Mr. Lincoln, a born hater who prolifically used the n-word and wanted all people of color exported to Africa after the war, issued a policy decree to every single Northern general. He wanted them to ensure that every single woman and child of the South feel the full impact of the war. In keeping with this order, they were to apply the scorched earth policy as a matter of standard operating procedure.

Race did not matter: both Southern civilians of the White and Black races were subjected to killings, rapes, and beatings.
Their farms and homes and crops were burned. This matter of burning was something very dear to the sick heart of Abe who said it wasn't enough to just destroy things--they had to be "burned". Sherman's March to the Sea was NOT an aberration! It was simply business as usual for the Yankees.

So I applaud this movie which did not demonize the South and, instead, presented us with two men of exemplary moral character--Generals of the South.
28 people found this helpful
two hawksReviewed in the United States on May 2, 2019
1.0 out of 5 stars
Slavery Wasn't So Bad After All???
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* ONE STAR, because this epic film portrays black slaves as being pleased as plum pudding to be down home on the plantation where good ole times are not forgotten. Still, I will admit the battle scenes are dramatic. Stephen Lang's captivating performance as Stonewall Jackson is a pleasure to watch. The cinematography is very good (a big step up from the first film- Gettysburg). But, very much like the film, Gone With The Wind, this film as gone down a rabbit hole of fiction.
Gods and Generals portrays the cruel subjugation of slavery as the silly imaginings of Abe Lincoln. John Wilkes Booth would have loved this film.
35 people found this helpful
WaltReviewed in the United States on July 3, 2021
1.0 out of 5 stars
This movie glorifies and apologizes for treasonous slavers
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This movie is an absolute sham. It depicts men who forsook sworn oaths to defend the constitution as heroes, and slaves as happy fellow travelers with their masters. As a descendent of the men who betrayed America so they could own people, I can tell you they were not heroes. Jackson's soliloquy after he was mortally wounded by his own men about how there is "no blame in war" and the importance of "forgiveness" was beyond patronizing, He did not ask for forgiveness from the people he held in bondage.

The other major lie that is never challenged in the film is that the Union "invaded" the Confederacy. This is factually untrue and a structural impossibility. The Confederacy started the war. They seceded after losing a free and fair election. They fired the first shots on Fort Sumter. Also, the Federal Government by definition could not "invade" its own country. That just does not make any sense.

Death to traitors.

Do not watch this movie if you are interested in the American Civil War, it is historical garbage.
12 people found this helpful
John H.Reviewed in the United States on June 18, 2020
1.0 out of 5 stars
Confederate Propaganda
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I profoundly regret buying this drivel, instead of renting it. It glorifies a "Lost Cause" narrative in absurd fashion. An early scene actually depicts an African American man cheering and sending off confederate volunteers as they march off to assert their right to keep him in bondage. It's garbage. Skip it. Donate the price of this film to the NAACP instead.
17 people found this helpful
FedoradudeReviewed in the United States on September 2, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
So glad I upgraded to the Director’s Cut
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I’ve been a fan of this movie since it first came out. Upgraded with this purchase to the BluRay Director’s Cut version so I could see the deleted scenes.

Soooo glad I did. They make the movie just that much more an in-depth representation of the portion of this portion of the War and the character development of the major players in “Stonewall” Jackson’s world especially.

But, there’s add’l Robt E Lee interaction and involvement as well as other characters that show up later in “Gettysburg” - the next portion of the trilogy.

And there’s even intro and development of a whole John Wilkes Boothe storyline - which would’ve been a major factor in the end of the trilogy if Turner hadve made the 3rd movie, “The Last Full Measure,” which featured the last and end of the war and the aftermath including Lincoln's tragic assassination by Boothe.

So glad I upgraded to this more expansive
Version of this great movie!
16 people found this helpful
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