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9 Must Watch These Best Movies about the American Civil War

The Civil War of 1861-1865 resulted in the Northern victory and preserved the United States as one nation while ending the institution of slavery that had divided the country from its beginning.

But 625,000 lives were lost due to this. The Civil War started because of uncompromising differences between the free and slave states over the power of the national government to ban slavery in the territories that had not yet become states. Abraham Lincoln won an election in 1860 and became the first president of the Republican party, and promised to keep slavery out of the territories. At this time, seven slave states in the South formed a new place, the Confederate States of America.

By the end of 1861 millions of armed men from Virginia to Missouri fought for this and it came to be recognized as the civil war.

These stories have been captured not only in books but also on the silver screen of Hollywood. Some of the Best films on American civil war to have been made in Hollywood are:

List of All-Time Best Movies on American Civil War

Glory (1989)

Glory 1989 Civil War movie

Glory – Glory was based on Lincoln Kirstein’s ‘Lay This Laurel’ and Peter Burchard’s ‘One Gallant Rush’; of which the latter was based on the letters of Col. Robert Gould Shaw. Glory is a great depiction of the mass courage displayed by soldiers during the Civil War.

This is about heroes involved that have been ignored by history due to racism and were part of the 54th Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, headed by Col. Robert Gould Shaw. It showed how black soldiers were denied all privilege and amenity as compared to those of the white and were given the most menial and demeaning of tasks.

Gone with the Wind (1939)

Gone with the Wind 1939 film about american civil war

Gone with the wind – this is again one of the finest films made during the American Civil War and was adapted from the novel by Margaret Mitchell.

Gone With the Wind opens in April of 1861, in the home named Tara, where Scarlett O’Hara the spoiled daughter of a well to do plantation owner, who wants to come out of the poverty she sees herself in during the civil war. Its portrayal of slavery and African Americans is controversial, and so are the racial slurs used there.

The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)

The Outlaw Josey Wales 1976

The Outlaw Josey Wales – The Outlaw Josey Wales story tells or shows us in the film about a hero’s journey westward after the Civil War. Having fresh memories of his family’s slaughter by Red Leg soldier Terrill, Confederate Josey Wales character played by Clint Eastwood refrains from joining his captain Fletcher and the rest of his comrades in surrender to a U.S. Army regiment.

He is considered a dangerous outlaw after battling single handily with his regiment, is chased by U.S. cavalry soldiers led by the Fletcher and the villainous Terrill.

Lincoln (2012)

Lincoln 2012 film about civil war

Lincoln – this movie of 2012 was based on the book of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book titled “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.” Steven Spielberg’s historical drama shows the 16th President’s final months and the passage of the 13th Amendment by the House of Representatives in 1865.

It shows the abolition of slavery and how in the house of congress they discussed freedom of slaves will affect all. How blacks will compete for jobs, marry white women and one day even vote.

Gettysburg (1993)

Gettysburg 1993 movie on american civil war

Gettysburg –based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel ‘The Killer Angels’ by Michael Shaara it was the dramatization of the events of July 1863 when the armies of the Union and Confederacy fought at the small Pennsylvania town of Gettysburg.

It shows how Robert E. Lee and his General James Longstreet argue over battle strategy, and Jeff Daniels as Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, a college professor whose odd techniques help his army to win.

Also Read : Best War Movies of All the Time

Cold Mountain (2003)

Cold Mountain 2003 film about civil war

Cold Mountain – Based on the novel by Charles Frazier, Anthony Minghella’s dramatic story is set at the end of the American Civil War days. Jude Law was acting as Inman, a young soldier injured in civil war, is struggling to return home to Cold Mountain, NC, where the love of his life waits for his return.

How the West Was Won (1962)

How the West Was Won american film on civil war

How the West was won – this epic Western adventure is a true cinematic classic. Three directors, Henry Hathaway, John Ford, and George Marshall together make up a story and tell the story of three families travels from one place to another between 1839 and 1889.

It is made of 5 segments and depicts each one with great care. The third segment of this film deals with the civil war and how the character has to fight his own confederate friend. This film has won many awards and accolades for the great cinematic work.

Gangs of New York (2002)

Gangs of New York 2002 film

Gangs of New York – this is an American historical fiction film set in the mid 19th century in Lower Manhattan. It has been inspired by Herbert Asbury’s book of 1927 of the name ‘The Gangs of New York’. Most of the film take place in 1863. The two main issues of this time in New York were Irish immigration to the city and the ongoing Civil War.

The story follows William Bill the Butcher in his roles as crime boss and the political person under the helm of Boss Tweed. The film ends in a violent fight sequence between the mobs with Amsterdam Vallon and his allies, which happened during the New York City Draft Riots of 1863.

Ride with the Devil (1999)

Ride with the Devil 1999 film ang lee

Ride with the Devil – Based on Daniel Woodrell’s novel, Woe To Live On, and adapted for the screen by James Schamus, Ride Including The Devil tells a story of the Civil War from a rather unusual perspective.

When the Civil War begins, good friends Jake and Jack Bull join a team of Southern guerrilla fighters. But soon after the war begins they understand what it actually means and has to decide for themselves what is right or wrong. In Ride With The Devil, it is difficult to understand the boundaries between North and South and the character of Holt blurs the lines between slavery and freedom, and black and white.

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