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30

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 29 Critics What's this?

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6.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 53 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Gods and Generals, the screen adaptation of Jeff Shaara's heralded best-selling novel and prequel to the acclaimed drama "Gettysburg," is and epic and sweeping portrayal of a nation divided at the start of the Civil War. (Warner Bros.)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 29
  2. Negative: 18 out of 29
  1. Has the unfortunate effect of overtipping the dramatic scales in favor of the Southern generals and turning almost everybody into waxen idols who spout flowery rhetoric.
  2. Filled with so much religious righteousness--endless Bible-readings...that the film feels more like a recruitment tool for Soldiers for Christ than a look at the bloody four-year conflict that tore this nation apart.
  3. 50
    If ever there was a movie that could cause even the most restless sleeper to fall into a deep slumber, this is it.
  4. General Boredom meets Major Tedium on the Civil War fields of Virginia.
  5. 30
    Playing in theaters when it belongs on television, where snacks and bathroom breaks can counteract its punishing dryness, and the option of watching something else doesn't involve driving home.
  6. 25
    What the filmmakers fail to recognize is that history on the page is quite different from what it needs to be onscreen, namely alive and visceral.
  7. Shot with the TV-movie blahs, the film itself is nothing more than an elaborate reenactment, perfectly mating box-of-rocks acting (bring rotten fruit for Mia Dillon's Southern matriarch) and repetitious dialogue so scripturally florid Maxwell might qualify for a Comedy Screenplay Golden Globe next January.

See all 29 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 39
  2. Negative: 15 out of 39
  1. Apr 15, 2012
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Since I started to research and become passionate about the histoeical topic of the American Civil War, I have loved Gods and Generals. Unlike most, I did not read the book, and when first viewing the film, was not aware there was one. I'm sure, as Civil War flicks go, many critics did not enjoy the film, but this is probably due to the lack of extensive historical knowledge about the Civil War (specifically that history of Stonewall Jackson and the South's point of view on the war). Many criticize this film beause of how it makes the South look, and many people with a standard knowledge of the Civil War may safley assume that the South was Evil, hated Black people, and drank sweet tea all day. Not getting a stereotypical "Gone with the Wind" setting and an "Uncle Tom's Cabin" storyline, most people were likley going to call this film racist and say they hate it.

    Historical accuracy seems to be lacking in most Hollywood films about any time period. In "Gods and Generals" many of the characters talk like, well, someone from the mid-Nineteenth Century South would talk. Not getting the watered down version that many people call accurate in films, people were probably confused the entire film (and the length probably did not help).

    Gods and Generals is a great film, and tells the story of a Southern General who is tragically killed by his own men, and even though it is missing the sprinkle of Hollywood in it, Civil War buffs will love this film.
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  2. bobt.
    Oct 26, 2005
    10
    This is the best movie i ever saw. screw everyone who said it was bad!
  3. EdwardB.
    May 5, 2007
    9
    You have to BE from the south, to understand it. I was born here, live here, and will die here. And I will always be proud of it.
  4. ClaytonS.
    Dec 22, 2006
    3
    Overly long, shapeless, overly pious, over blown. Overly sancitimous toward General Jackson. Those who wish the South would rise again would love this movie. I give it a three because it does portray the battles accurately and Robert Duvall is greatness. Expand
  5. Nov 22, 2010
    2
    Total crap. I normally love civil war movies and for this i give it a 2 instead of a 0. But this movie just sucked ass. It was completely boring and the monologues were cheesy and embarrassing to watch. Expand
  6. KevinK.
    Jan 22, 2007
    1
    It's bombastic, the scenes attempting to enshrine the glorious heroes of the South come across as put-ons, and the battles were neither exciting, nor were they historically accurate. (A real Civil War battle would make Saving Private Ryan look like children's programming.) What I saw here was nothing more than a four-hour Civil War re-enactment with a heavy Southern slant. Expand
  7. Jul 16, 2014
    1
    Where to begin.

    Long? Yes. Boring? Check. Pretentious? Uh...YES. Historically accurate? Not even close.

    Four hours running time is a
    tall task for any director. Even the Lord of the Rings movies didn't hit 4 hours, and they were entertaining. This movie is painfully long, and full of...well, the only word that really fits here is 'monologues'. Monologues can work in certain media, but movies is not one of them. That's not even to say anything of the content of these monologues, which are mostly Stonewall Jackson praying or someone going on ad nauseum about Southern rights.

    The movie proclaims to be a prequel to the movie Gettysburg, telling the story of the first two years of the Civil War leading up to the Battle of Gettysburg. In actuality, it is a biopic about Stonewall Jackson, who, confusingly, is portrayed by the same actor who played an entirely different Confederate general in the film 'Gettysburg'. Ron Maxwell, the writer/director, can't seem to decide what he wants it to be. The movie is also allegedly an adaptation of Jeff Shaara's book of the same name, but read that book and tell me if you think it is anything like its source material.

    The writing, poor as it is, is undermined by a disjointed story that quite literally skips four critical campaigns in the eastern theater of the Civil War that Jackson was integral to the outcome (Shenandoah Valley campaign, Peninsula Campaign, Second Bull Run, and Antietam) in favor of showing us pretentious attempts at representing antebellum Southern life. Example one, a ridiculous gathering of Confederate generals to watch a minstrel show that borders on the insane. Example two, a Confederate Christmas party, complete with caroling. I'm not making this **** up. And third and most ungodly annoying example, introducing a little girl at a Southern plantation who Jackson befriends and ends up dying of a fever. I have never wanted a pre-teenage girl to die so strongly as when watching these scenes. The character adds nothing to the story, has the most ridiculous accent you can imagine, is terribly acted, and her role extends the movie for what seems like an entire hour when any audience member with any knowledge of history should be saying, "Uh, didn't we miss...I don't know...HALF of Jackson's most famous battles?!?"

    Finally, this movie is 100% neo-Confederate propaganda. It's attempt at representing the antebellum South as a land of leisure and civility is reminiscent that of Gone With the Wind, except that when GWtW was made, there were still people alive who had been slaves. A movie like this made with such unabashed whitewashing of Southern culture and why that war was fought is outright irresponsible. The scene in which Stonewall Jackson promises a reverent slave/camp attendant that black and white Southerners will be united in friendship after the war was cringe worthy.

    In short, seeing this movie is a waste of 4 hours of your life you will never get back. Even if human lifespands stretched to 1,000 years, I would not recommend watching this movie.
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See all 39 User Reviews

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