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Glory (1989)



Average Rating: 7.9/10
Reviews Counted: 41
Fresh: 38 | Rotten: 3

Bolstered by exceptional cinematography, powerful storytelling, and an Oscar-winning performance by Denzel Washington, Glory remains one of the finest Civil War movies ever made.


Average Rating: 7.4/10
Critic Reviews: 10
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 1

Bolstered by exceptional cinematography, powerful storytelling, and an Oscar-winning performance by Denzel Washington, Glory remains one of the finest Civil War movies ever made.



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Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 58,298

My Rating

Movie Info

Glory is a celebration of a little-known act of mass courage during the Civil War. Simply put, the heroes involved have been ignored by history due to racism. Those heroes were the all-black members of the 54th Regiment of the Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, headed by Col. Robert Gould Shaw (Matthew Broderick), the son of an influential abolitionist (played by an uncredited Jane Alexander). Despite the fact that the Civil War is ostensibly being fought on their behalf, the black soldiers are



Jan 1, 1998


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All Critics (41) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (38) | Rotten (3) | DVD (18)

It is the movie's often awesome imagery and a bravely soaring choral score by James Horner that transfigure the reality, granting it the status of necessary myth.

January 6, 2010 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A stirring and long overdue tribute to the black soldiers who fought for the Union cause in the Civil War.

June 5, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A pretty watchable and always interesting period film, well photographed by English cinematographer Freddie Francis.

February 9, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
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The stark clarity of Freddie Francis' cinematography combined with Zwick's intimate style evokes immediacy and fear.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
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This is a good, moving, complicated film.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
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Glory is, without question, one of the best movies ever made about the American Civil War.

January 23, 2003 Full Review Source: ReelViews
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Excellent Civil War movie for mature teens.

December 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Exceptionally well-rendered and emotive war drama.

January 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

A visceral, astounding war film, intelligently told.

January 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Film4

one of the great war films and perhaps the greatest film ever made about the American Civil War

June 30, 2009 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

In its broad strokes, Glory gets at the spirit of a group of previously unsung black heroes, and the filmmaking is of a high caliber. [Blu-ray]

June 10, 2009 Full Review Source: Groucho Reviews
Groucho Reviews

Still one of the best war epics ever made, with all around fantastic performances...

August 9, 2007
Film Threat

One of the best films ever made

May 6, 2005 | Comments (4)
Film Threat

The lasting power of the [film]... rests in the emotional connection to the characters .

January 18, 2004 Full Review Source:

[A] fabulous historical re-creation.

October 1, 2003 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

An enlightening and entertaining tribute to heroes too long forgotten.

July 30, 2003 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Offers a fascinating look at a little known aspect of the Civil War

July 19, 2003 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

This is a fine film.

March 16, 2003 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

Broderick is perhaps a tad miscast, but Denzel absolutely justifies that first Oscar

January 22, 2003
New Times

A touching burst of patriotism; with wonderful performances by Washington and Broderick. A film worthy of remembering and repeated viewing.

December 25, 2002
Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)

Audience Reviews for Glory

Edward Zwick's Glory is a stunning, well acted war drama about the first all black regiment that fought in the civil war. Matthew Broderick heads a great cast of talented actors who all deliver some terrific performances. This is a well paced movie that tells a thrilling story that is a must see for cinema buffs everywhere. Now, I've never really been a fan of Broderick's work, but in Glory he really gives a stunning, immaculate performance that you simply can't ignore. Glory is a powerful picture that succeeds at telling a great story due to the fact that Edward Zwick is a great director, and all his films are wonderful, but Glory is by far one of his finest. War film fans will surely enjoy this different genre film, and it is a film that not only acts as a war picture, but one that holds a powerful message. I really enjoyed the film, and thought that it is a stunning piece of cinema that is worth checking out if you love war films. Broderick shines here, and he has come a long way since playing in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. You can clearly see him maturing as an actor and it is a stunning performance that will erase doubt in what he can accomplish as an actor. Broderick is great here, but other performances that stand out are that of Morgan Freeman and Denzel Washington. All three actors make the film that much more entertaining and with a well written script by screenwriter Kevin Jarre, this is an accomplished picture that also acts as an important history lesson. Edward Zwick is an underrated director, and he deserves more praise in terms of filmmaking as he truly has an eye for making entertaining and memorable films that stand out among others. Glory is a great film that is elevated with a powerful script, flawless acting and directing. If you love war films, you owe it to yourself to check this one out.
May 15, 2013
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

Another long forgotten epic that really is quite a fantastic film, loosely covering the days of Col Robert Shaw and his command of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry around 1862 which consisted of African American soldiers.

Upon reading about this film its actually quite impressive how reasonable close the film is to fact, major events are covered within the film such as Shaw and his men refusing pay until they gained equal pay with white troops and even his death seems to be quite accurate, normally these things tend to get a Hollywood make over.

I guess the main plus point is the fact the film is based around all the characters and not just Shaw, you care about all the men under his command and get to know many of them well (the main cast), this in turn makes it more emotional as the predictable happens towards the finale. The cast are really on form here too, possibly one of Broderick's best performances despite his marginal acting skills, he still seems too weak and shy to me. Morgan is perfect as the wise older soldier (I think he was born old n wise hehe), Washington makes his first real big film here, maybe a bit too 'in the face' in his performance but the rest is history (no pun intended) and Elwes is solid as the second in command with his classic blonde 'Errol Flynn' type features.

I tend to forget this was made way way back in 89 as it looks really spot on with costume, sets, location, stunts, weapons...the works, its all made with the care and attention to detail you would expect in a modern epic. Musical score is probably one of the films biggest factors with a sweeping emotional score combined with choir that really brings home the savage needless death of so many.

All in all this is a highly enjoyable historical film that is pretty accurate without stooping to over the top glamorisation (much), looks fantastic and is totally a character driven piece making it completely immersing for the viewer, Broderick even looks like Shaw.
December 10, 2011

Super Reviewer

Based on true Civil War events, this picture was very poignant, brutal, and fantastic. Starring Matthew Broderick as Robert Gould Shaw, a colonel who narrates much of the film with the letters he writes to his parents, GLORY is a well-acted saga about the permission for blacks to fight in war. The two main African-American characters we see are Sergeant Major John Rawlins (Morgan Freeman) and Private Trip (Denzel Washington, who was awarded Best Supporting Actor at the 1989 Academy Awards for his outstanding performance). Even though only Denzel Washington won an Oscar for his performance in this film, Matthew Broderick, if anyone, should have won the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Even though he was recognizable through his English accent, his facial hair, and his mid-19th century clothing, his portrayal of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw proved that he is not just Ferris Bueller and he is not just meant for comedic roles.
August 28, 2011

Super Reviewer

    1. John Rawlins: [part of the prayer group] Lord, we stand before you this evening, to say thank you! And we thank you, father, for your grace, and your many blessings! Now I run off, leaving all my young'uns and my kinfolk, in bondage. So I'm standing here this evening, Heavenly Father, to ask your blessings on all of us. So that if tomorrow is the great getting-up morning, if that tomorrow we have to meet the Judgement Day, O Heavenly Father, we want you to let our folks know that we died facing the enemy! We want 'em to know that we went down standing up! Amongst those that are fighting against our oppression. We want 'em to know, Heavenly Father, that we died for freedom! We ask these blessings in Jesus' name. Amen!
    – Submitted by Adam O (19 months ago)
    1. Sgt. Mulcahy: [berating Private Trip] You half-wit black bastard! Did they truly cut your balls off at birth? I'm gonna work on you, you bastard, until I get you broken.
    – Submitted by Adam O (19 months ago)
    1. Col. Robert Gould Shaw: Dear Mother, They learn, learn quickly, faster than white troops it seems to me. They are almost grave and sedate under instruction and they restrain themselves. But the moment they are dismissed from drill every tongue is relaxed and every ivory tooth is visible and you would not know from the sound of it that this is an army camp. They must have learned this from long hours of meaningless, inhuman work oo set them free so quickly. It gives them great energy. And there is no doubt we will leave this state as fine a regiment as any that as marched. As ever, your son, Robert.
    – Submitted by Adam O (19 months ago)
    1. Col. Robert Gould Shaw: Good morning gentlemen, I am Colonel Robert Gould Shaw. I am your commanding officer. It is a great pleasure to see you all here today. It is my hope that the same courage, spirit, and honor, which has brought us together, will one day restore this Union. May God bless us all.
    – Submitted by Adam O (19 months ago)
    1. John Rawlins: That's right, Hines. Ain't no dream. We runaway slaves but we come back fightin' men. Go tell your folks how kingdom come in the year of jubilee!
    – Submitted by Adam O (19 months ago)
    1. Trip: [addressing the 54th the night before battle] I ain't much about no prayin', now. I ain't never had no family, and... killed off my mama. Well, I just... Y'all's the onliest family I got. I love the 54th. Ain't even much a matter what happens tomorrow, 'cause we men, ain't we?
    – Submitted by Adam O (19 months ago)
View all quotes (14)

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