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Matthew Broderick
Denzel Washington
Cary Elwes
Morgan Freeman.
Edward Zwick.
Robert Gould Shaw
Lincoln Kirstein
Kevin Jarre.
Running Time
122 minutes

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A triple Oscar winning account of the war within the American civil war

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Robert Shaw leads the US Civil War's first all-black volunteer company, fighting prejudices of both his own Union army and the Confederates.


Based upon the actual letters of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, this Civil War drama tells of the formation of the first fully black company of soldiers, led by this white colonel. They must face both the violence of the war itself, as well as the bigotry within their own army, but still come out triumphant.

A stirring, politically correct, glossy old epic about the Massachusetts 54th Regiment, the entirely black regiment who lead the fateful charge on Fort Wagner in the Charleston Bay, and provide a helpful short-hand for the contribution of 37,000 African-Americans in the turmoil of the Civil War. Edward Zwick, a director of often stifling earnestness, fills this layered history with a indignant self-righteousness, some terrifically stern acting (Denzel Washington picked up his first Oscar as the jaded former slave Trip), and sensibly had Brit cinematographer Freddie Francis behind the camera. The film manages the trick of feeling authentic while looking grand and operatic.

But the film’s liberal-mindedness is often overbearing. Kevin Jarre’s script shapes its characters as defined archetypes — the angry black man (Washington), the noble black man (Morgan Freeman), the empathetic captain (Matthew Broderick) — rather than as real men with conflicting motivations. Its message is like a trumpet blast, but we shouldn’t ignore that it is an important one. Glory presents America’s birth pangs with determined clarity; that racism is an ill contained in its very make-up.

And there is undoubtedly a thrilling charge to their great triumph. Filmed with blistering power, as the regiment surges down a beach through clouds of cannon-fire, it become starkly clear that heroism is something uninfluenced by colour. It just is. And the film’s misty-eyed simplicity keeps that dead centre.


Exceptionally well-rendered and emotive war drama

Reviewed by Ian Nathan

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Average user rating for Glory
Empire Star Rating

Pretty glorious

A tale that needed to be told about the first black regiment that was assembled during the American Civil War is told in some style but has a couple of holes that stop it from attaining true classic status. One is the blank space at the centre where the lead should be; Broderick is simply too lightweight an actor to pull this off. Then there’s the odd feeling that some of the battle sequences are just Civil War re-enactment groups, they look a little low budget. That aside, the film looks ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by RJNeb2 at 01:16, 15 November 2014 | Report This Post

RE: Glory

Totally agree, a truly brilliant, hard-hitting film. Great acting and cinematography. A much better film than Zwick's new film 'Blood Diamond' but perhaps not as good as 'The Last Samurai' (Hmm that comment is probably a load of rubbish). ... More

Posted by Clemenza at 15:00, 02 February 2007 | Report This Post

RE: Glory

What can you say about this film other than it is totally brilliant and is still moving 17 years after it is was made. There are so many fantastic moments.   The black troops talking about their past: /b]I ran away when I was 13, never looked back. /b]: What you been doing since then ? b] I ran for president......I didn't win though.   Trip being whipped for going AWOL and staring Shaw in the face.   Shaw going to the store's office and demanding shoes for ... More

Posted by King_Wah at 09:19, 29 December 2006 | Report This Post

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