This week is the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, still the greatest loss of life in American history, the turning point of the war, and the inspiration for one of the greatest speeches in history, Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, three simple paragraphs that connected our future to the visions that fueled our past.
The struggles of that era continue to resonate through today’s debates about the essence of the American character. Many movies that focus on the Civil War, and of course Ken Burns’ acclaimed documentary series for PBS is a masterpiece. These are also especially worthwhile:
The Blue and the Gray This 1982 miniseries starring Gregory Peck, Stacy Keach, Kathleen Beller, Lloyd Bridges, Geraldine Page and Colleen Dewhurst is based on the work of Pulitzer Prize-winning Bruce Catton.
The Red Badge of Courage Real-life WWII hero Audie Murphy stars in this story of a frightened young soldier, based on the classic book by Stephen Crane published in 1895. (Remade in 1974 with Richard Thomas)
The General Buster Keaton loves Annabelle and he loves his train engine, called The General. When both are captured by the Union,he must come to the rescue in a masterpiece of exciting action and comic genius.
Lincoln Daniel Day-Lewis won a much-deserved Oscar for his performance in this outstanding Steven Spielberg film about the last days of the life of the 16th President.