Matthew Broderick-Colonel Robert Gould Shaw
Cary Elwes-Major Cabot Forbes
Morgan Freeman-Sergeant Major John Rawlins
Jihmi Kennedy-Jupiter Sharts
Andre Braugher-Thomas Searles
John Finn-Sergeant Major Mulcahy
Donovan Leitch-Charles Fessenden Morse
John David Cullum-Henry Sturgis Russell
Alan North-Governor John Albion Andrew
Bob Gunton-General Harker
Cliff De Young-Colonel James M. Montgomery
Christian Baskous-Edward L. Pierce
RonReaco Lee-Mute Drummer Boy
Jay O. Sanders-General George Crockett Strong
This 1989 movie is, in my opinion, the best Civil War picture ever made. The story is largely seen through the eyes of Robert Gould Shaw, the young commanding officer of the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment. The Fifty-fourth was the first black regular army regiment in the Civil War.
Robert Gould Shaw was born in Boston on October 10, 1837. He died in action during the assault on Confederate Battery Wagner on July 18, 1863. He was born into a wealthy Boston family to abolitionist parents. The Shaws associated with such people as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Harriet Beecher Stowe and famed orator Frederick Douglass who helped form the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts. His sons Lewis and Charles joined the regiment.
Matthew Broderick plays Shaw and while there has been some criticism of his performance, I think it is the best thing he's ever done and he did it well. Cary Elwes plays his second in command, Major Cabot Forbes. The best performances, however, are turned in by Denzel Washington who plays Trip and Morgan Freeman who plays Sergeant Major John Rawlins. Washington won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of the embittered runaway slave. Andre Braugher of Homicide fame is excellent as the educated Thomas Searles.
The story begins with Shaw serving as a Captain with the Second Massachusetts Infantry at the Battle of Antietam where he is wounded. After accepting his appointment as colonel of the Fifty-fourth (his decision wasn't as cut and dried as the movie makes out) the story moves more toward the blacks who joined the regiment and the formation and training of the regiment itself.
We see the conflicts between Washington's character Trip and the other members of the regiment, especially Thomas Searles. Freeman's character Rawlins is, in contrast, a calm, stabilizing force in the regiment.
The black troops are undisciplined so Shaw brought in a tough Irish sergeant major named Mulcahy (John Finn) to help toughen them up. In the movie, he bears a strong resemblance to the drill instructors we are used to seeing today. He is especially hard on Thomas Searles. He said to Searles upon first noticing him, "Oh, look at this. Bonnie Prince Charlie. Are you a member of Congress or something? Or are you the bloody Prince of Africa?" After Mulcahy gets through, the regiment is as disciplined as any in the army.
At first, members of the Fifty-fourth are used for nothing more than manual labor until Shaw convinces his commander through the use of blackmail that they should be transferred to a combat command. When they finally are transferred, they are involved in their first real battle at James Island, South Carolina on July 16, 1863 to be followed by the attack on Fort Wagner two days later.
In May of 1900, Sergeant William H. Carney became the first black to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor for heroic actions he'd performed while a member of Company C of the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Regiment during the assault on Fort Wagner.
Wav Sound Files (11KHz)
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Wav Sound Effects From the Movie (11KHz)
click here to download "O Fortuna".
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|Apocalypse Now||(1978) An army Captain searches for a renegade Colonel In Vietnam.|
|Blackboard Jungle||(1955) A story of juvenile delinquency at an inner city school.|
|Bullitt||(1968) A San Francisco police detective searches for gunmen who killed an informant.|
|Cool Hand Luke||(1967) An ex war hero is sentenced to a chain gang for cutting the heads off parking meters.|
|Deliverance||(1972) Four friends go on a canoe trip where they encounter unforeseen terrors.|
|The Day of the Jackal||(1973) A sophisticated assassin is hired by a French group to kill President de Gaulle.|
|Electra Glide in Blue||(1973) An Arizona motorcycle patrolman tries to become a detective.|
|Fahrenheit 451||(1966) Ray Bradbury's futuristic tale of book burning and mind control.|
|Fail-Safe||(1964) Cold War thriller where U.S. bombers are unleashed upon The Soviet Union.|
|Fargo||(1996) Car salesman hires two inept criminals to kidnap his wife.|
|Glory||(1989) Colonel Robert Gould Shaw commands the Civil War's first all volunteer black regiment.|
|In Cold Blood||(1967) Adaptation of Truman Capote's novel about the murder of a farm family in rural Kansas.|
|Inherit the Wind||(1960) Account of trial of John Scopes for teaching The Theory of Evolution in Tennessee.|
|Jeremiah Johnson||(1972) A veteran becomes a hard fighting mountain man.|
|Logan's Run||(1976) A policeman of the future tries to prevent escapes from the city.|
|The Lords of Discipline||(1983) Control of classmates at a southern military school by a group known as "The Ten".|
|The Ox-Bow Incident||(1943) An out of control posse sets out to avenge the death of a local rancher.|
|Patton||(1970) A famous general commands armies during World War II.|
|Platoon||(1986) An idealistic soldier learns that idealism doesn't exist in Vietnam.|
|The Right Stuff||(1983) Story that covers the breaking of the sound barrier through the Mercury space program.|
|Seven Days in May||(1964) Senior military officers plot to take over the government of The United States.|
|Son of the Morning Star||Fairly accurate account of Colonel George A. Custer leading up to the Battle of the Little Big Horn.|
|Southern Comfort||(1981) Louisiana National Guard on maneuvers in a swamp meet up with local opposition.|
|The Taking of Pelham One Two Three||(1974) A gang hijacks a New York subway train and holds the passengers for ransom.|
|Witness||(1985) A Philadelphia detective hides in a rural Amish community from corrupt police .|
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|Airplane!||(1980) Story of dysfunctional crew and passengers on board a Chicago bound flight.|
|American Graffiti||(1973) One night in the lives of teenagers in 1962|
|Animal House||(1978) A run down fraternity's members cause chaos on campus.|
|Arsenic and Old Lace||(1944) Two elderly matrons poison lonely men and bury the bodies in the basement.|
|Cat Ballou||(1966) An outlaw and her gang rob trains to try to break a town.|
|The Cheyenne Social Club||(1970) A cowboy inherits a brothel called The Cheyenne Social Club.|
|Dr. Strangelove||(1964) Insane base commander sends his B52 bombers into the Soviet Union.|
|Harvey||(1950) Quiet, unassuming man has a giant rabbit for a friend.|
|The Mouse That Roared||(1959) Smallest country in the world declares war on the U.S. and wins.|
|On Golden Pond||(1981) Elderly couple spend a summer at their cottage on a lake.|
|The President's Analyst||(1967) A prominent psychoanalyst becomes the psychiatrist for the president.|
|Raising Arizona||(1987) An ex-con and a policewoman kidnap a baby to raise as their own.|
|Support Your Local Sheriff||(1969) A drifter on his way to Australia takes the post as sheriff of a western boom town.|
|Waking Ned Devine||(1998) Villagers try to collect a dead man's lottery winnings.|