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Top 5 American Civil War movies

September 8, 2014 in Blogs

By Political Zach Foster

5. Gangs of New York (2002)
Make no mistake, this Martin Scorsese masterpiece is about gang violence and sectarian violence, not about soldiers. However, this movie is very much about America at war with itself, and in more ways than one.

The defining event of this movie is the New York City Draft Riot of 1863 in which the immigrant and American-born working-classes simultaneously fought each other to settle old scores, and against the Union Army to resist the draft in a war they didn’t believe in.

Better yet, the antagonist William Cutting reminds me of so many of today’s radical Republicans; zealously anti-immigrant, militantly patriotic, and rabidly pro-war despite having never served a day in the armed forces.
4. Glory (1989)
The overt pro-Union sentiment should be overlooked in favor of what the movie offers: a true account of black Americans who fought in the war. It is no small feat and no small accomplishment that most of the men of the 54th Massachusetts escaped slavery, made it north, and went back South as conquerers. These men proved to the world that black men could also fight, and that America is their country too. If only there were also a movie about the 50,000 black men who fought for the South!
3. Gettysburg (1993)
Gettysburg is a four-hour epic masterpiece that offers a detailed blow-by-blow of the biggest battle ever fought in North America. Director Ronald Maxwell also made the libertarian film Copperhead, so the standard is high here. The Gettysburg movie has an incredible instrumental soundtrack, epic panoramic battle scenes, and accurate depictions of army camp life. It offers equal attention to Union and Confederate forces, explains different people’s motivations to fight, and best of all, the movie doesn’t pick sides.
Let it be noted, Jeff Daniels was awesome as Colonel Joshua Chamberlain, but Martin Sheen steals the show as Robert E. Lee!
2. The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)
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