Glory (1989)

Ed Zwick directs Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman and Andre Braugher in this Civil War drama following the formation of first fully black company of volunteer soldiers.

Morgan Freeman and Denzel delivering exactly the acting quality and star power you now expect from them near the start of their respective careers. Equal screentime is given to the white officers, though theirs isn’t the story you care about. Matthew Broderick is de facto top billed, and while his character would be callow and inexperienced in reality, even then he doesn’t seem like the right actor for this particular job. Even if the slightly meatier John Cusack or James Spader were cast, you do feel thirty years down the line the narrative focus would now be squarely on the enlisted grunts. The blistering grand finale, a heroic suicide raid on a fort, echoes Kurosawa’s work in colour in both its beauty and tragic ferocity. James Horner’s elegiac score ekes itself into your soul for days after. This is a wonderful piece of mainstream filmmaking, almost timeless… I wonder if the core audience for Civil War cinema doesn’t favour the wrong side of history, however? Just a thought…


Check out my wife Natalie’s Point Horror blog

We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here

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