Eighteen Reasons to see 'Gods and Generals'

  1. Robert Duvall is more convincing playing Robert E. Lee than Martin Sheen was in the same role for the movie, "Gettysburg," not least because Duvall is a better horseman. As a reviewer for the Dallas Morning News noticed, Martin Sheen bounced all over his horse while playing Lee ten years ago. Duvall, like his famous ancestor, actually knows how to ride a horse.

  2. Respectable box office numbers will give writer/director Ron Maxwell the leverage he needs to secure funding to complete the film trilogy of which this is one part.

  3. Many professional critics would rather you watched something else.

  4. As Daniel McCarthy wrote recently for this site, "Gods and Generals is more or less explicitly Christian, Southern, and even libertarian."

  5. If you like accents, this is a feast: both regional dialects and the Bible-soaked patterns of nineteenth-century American speech are faithfully reproduced.

  6. Stephen Lang as Confederate General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson.

  7. If you haven't been to a movie with an intermission since "Lawrence of Arabia," you're overdue.

  8. Mira Sorvino as Fanny Chamberlain.

  9. Kevin Conway as Union Sergeant "Buster" Kilrain.

  10. Frankie Faison as the loyal but conflicted cook, Jim Lewis.

  11. The poignancy of the battlefield clash between northern and southern Irishmen.

  12. The mid-river meeting of Johnny Reb and Billy Yank on Christmas Day.

  13. The performance of the song, "Bonnie Blue Flag."

  14. The regimental (read: state) flags under the opening credits, which offer silent but eloquent testimony to Confederate notions of patriotism.

  15. Few movies take philosophy or religion as seriously as this one does.

  16. "Gods and Generals" director Ron Maxwell had nice things to say about Ang Lee's "Ride with the Devil," another under-rated movie about the War Between the States.

  17. Ken Burns' famous "Civil War" mini-series needs company.

  18. Intelligence, passion, and fair-mindedness on the big screen is a good thing.

March 7, 2003