Movie Review: Glory (1989)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1989 Civil War drama starring Matthew Broderick and Morgan Freeman.

Synopsis: While home on medical leave during the United States Civil War, Captain Robert Shaw is promoted to Colonel and put in charge of one of the Union's first all-black volunteer regiments. He accepts his new task with great enthusiasm only to learn his men must face a series of racially-motivated obstacles ranging from supply shortages to a reluctance to let them join the fight.


My wife and oldest daughter were at figure skating practice last night and, after seeing this film was on one of our movie channels, I decided to watch it while balancing the checkbook. This is a movie I've seen a few times before. But, it had been a while since the last time I watched it. After seeing it again, I have to say it was as good as I remembered.

There are a couple things I really like about this movie. The first one is the way the writers made sure to keep the various characters grounded and human-like.

One of my biggest pet peeves with war movies, especially those based on true stories, is they often elevate the heroes to an unrealistic level, both physically and ideologically. This movie avoids doing that. All the heroes, ranging from Shaw himself (Broderick) to the men in his regiment have flaws. And, these flaws, in turn, make them much more believable.

I also found I liked the battle scenes in this movie, even though, to be honest, those were actually kept to a minimum. The battles managed to give the viewer a glimpse of the brutality of the Civil War, especially during the hand-to-hand-combat moments. It did, admittedly, give me much more respect for the real men who endured that brutality.

Even the non-combat scenes in this movie were much more entertaining than I would expect them to be. The writers, again, do a good job fleshing out the main characters and giving them a visible personality, something that does help keep some of the slower scenes interesting.

Plus, the non-stop racism they faced, which included things like being forced to accept lower pay and not receive basic necessities, made me feel as frustrated as those on my screen. And, I have to tell you, that doesn't happen very often, which is likely why this film is as memorable as it is.

Final Opinion

I don't watch a ton of war movies. But, this is a film I have seen multiple times and have enjoyed it each time. If you have not watched this movie, or have not seen it in a long while, it is a film I do recommend.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 03/07/2017, StevenHelmer
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