Synopsis – Robert Gould Shaw leads the U.S. Civil War’s first all-black volunteer company, fighting prejudices from both his own Union Army and the Confederates – Glory.
Director – Edward Zwick
Starring – Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, Mathew Broderick, Cary Elwes.
Genre – Historical | Drama | War
Released – 1989
For fans of – Gettysburg, Amistad, Mississippi Burning
The thing that makes Glory such an enjoyable experience is that despite the highly emotive subject matter, the movie never becomes overly sentimental. Instead, what we do get is one of the most surprisingly authentic war films I’ve had the privilege of watching. Sure, Zwick may have taken some creative liberties with the events and the plot to aid the filmmaking process and as a white man, he would never be able to fully portray what a group of former slaves went through during the American civil war, but at heart, the film captures the bravery and hope that these men felt while fighting for their country and breaking down barriers.
Zwick loves a big-budget historical drama and never has his attention to detail been more on show, perfectly capturing the period whilst keeping the production accessible enough for modern audiences. Credit should also go to cinematographer Freddie Francis for crafting a truly gorgeous aesthetic, while James Horner does wonders with the score to enhance the tremendous performances from the actors.
To me, Matthew Broderick was primarily a comedic actor, which left me sceptical that he could successfully portray a civil war Colonel, however, his performance completely surprised me, encompassing the role entirely, with the same to be said for Cary Elwes, it was great to see him play a good guy for once. But by and far the outstanding performances belonged to the black members of the cast, namely Morgan Freeman and And of course Best Supporting Oscar winner Denzel Washington, with both actors doing the men they represented proud and doing justice to the thousands of African-American men that fought in a war that for them was a fight for respect and freedom.
Heroic and tragic, the biggest reason I liked Glory so much is that it had a deeper message than just another war movie where men fight because they are inspired by what is right, instead, it took the time to explain the multiple convoluted reasons that men were fighting, making the movie a thoroughly uplifting and exciting to watch.