Gettysburg (1993 film)
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Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Ronald F. Maxwell|
|Produced by||Moctesuma Esparza
|Screenplay by||Ronald F. Maxwell|
|Based on||The Killer Angels
by Michael Shaara
|Narrated by||W. Morgan Sheppard|
|Music by||Randy Edelman|
|Cinematography||Kees Van Oostrum|
|Edited by||Corky Ehlers|
|Distributed by||New Line Cinema|
254 minutes271 minutes (director's cut)
|Box office||$42.8 million |
Gettysburg is a 1993 epic war film written and directed by Ronald F. Maxwell, adapted from the historical novel The Killer Angels (1974) by Michael Shaara, about the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War. The film stars Tom Berenger, Jeff Daniels, and Martin Sheen; its score was composed by Randy Edelman.
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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.
The producers originally pitched the project to ABC in 1991, as a TV miniseries. ABC initially agreed to back the project, but when a miniseries about George Armstrong Custer, Son of the Morning Star (1991), got low ratings, ABC pulled out. Shortly thereafter,[when?] 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 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 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 $12,769,960 at the box office. 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 June 1994 broadcast TV premiere, on TNT, garnered over 34 million viewers, a record for cable TV.
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", 271-minute (4 hours, 31 minutes), with several extended or added scenes, was produced and sold as a part of a special "Collector's Edition" released on DVD and Blu-ray in 2011, to coincide with 150th commemoration of beginning of the Civil War in April, 1861.
A prequel, Gods and Generals, was released in 2003.
- 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 Joseph 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
- George Lazenby as General J. Johnston Pettigrew.
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 (1990). 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."
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
- Exit Music
Two more soundtracks, More Songs and Music From Gettysburg and a Deluxe Commemorative Edition, were released as well. The 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.
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3 out of 4 stars, stating, "This is a film that Civil War buffs will find indispensable, even if others might find it interminable." Ebert said that despite his initial indifference, he left the film with a new understanding of the Civil War, and that he felt Jeff Daniels deserved an Oscar nomination for his performance. Ebert also gave the film a "thumbs-up" on Siskel & Ebert, while his companion Gene Siskel gave it a "thumbs-down", saying the film was "bloated Southern propaganda". He, however, also praised Daniels' performance and recommended its nomination for an Oscar.
A prequel film, Gods and Generals (2003), based on the eponymous 1996 prequel novel to The Killer Angels by Shaara's son, Jeff Shaara, depicts events that take place prior to those shown in Gettysburg, with several actors reprising their roles. It was directed by Maxwell.
- Jubera, Drew (October 9, 1993). "GETTYSBURG: Ted Turner, a cast of thousands and the ghosts of the past". Baltimore Sun. Tribune Company. Retrieved October 12, 2011.
- "Gettysburg (1993) - Box Office Mojo".
- "Gettysburg". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved June 17, 2016.
- Shaara, Michael (1987). The Killer Angels: The Classic Novel of the Civil War (Civil War Trilogy). New York City: Ballantine Books. ISBN 978-0345348104.
- "The Tuscaloosa News - Google News Archive Search".
- "Gettysburg". 8 October 1993.
- "Gettysburg". Chicago Sun-Times.
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