Critics Consensus

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.



Total Count: 42


Audience Score

User Ratings: 60,074
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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 denied virtually every privilege and amenity that is matter of course for their white counterparts; as in armies past and future, they are given the most menial and demeaning of tasks. Still, none of the soldiers quit the regiment when given the chance. The unofficial leaders of the group are gravedigger John Rawlins (Morgan Freeman) and fugitive slave Trip (Denzel Washington), respectively representing the brains and heart of the organization. The 54th acquit themselves valiantly at Fort Wagner, SC, charging a fortification manned by some 1,000 Confederates. Glory was based on Lincoln Kirstein's Lay This Laurel and Peter Burchard's One Gallant Rush; the latter book was founded on the letters of Col. Robert Gould Shaw, the real-life character played by Matthew Broderick. The film won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for co-star Denzel Washington, and additional statuettes for Best Cinematography (Freddie Francis) and Sound Recording. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Matthew Broderick
as Col. Robert Gould Shaw
Cary Elwes
as Forbes
John Finn
as Mulcahy
JD Cullum
as Russell
Alan North
as Gov. Andrew
Bob Gunton
as Gen. Harker
Cliff De Young
as Col. Montgomery
RonReaco Lee
as Mute Drummer Boy
Jay O. Sanders
as Gen. Strong
Ray Godshall Jr.
as Dr. Thorpe
Raymond St. Jacques
as Frederick Douglass
Jane Alexander
as Shaw's Mother
Richard Riehle
as Quartermaster
Daniel Jenkins
as 'A' Company Officer
Abdul Salaam El Razaac
as "A" Company Soldiers
Peter Michael Goetz
as Francis Shaw
Pete Munro
as Surgeon
Benji Wilhoite
as Young Soldier
Ethan Phillips
as Hospital Steward
Mark A. Levy
as Bigoted Soldier
Randell Haynes
as Paymaster
Afemo Omilami
as Tall Contraband
Keith Noble
as Short Contraband
Dan Biggers
as Minister
Marc Gowan
as Dr. Rogers
Bob Minor
as Contraband Soldier
Joan Riordan
as White Woman
Saundra Franks
as Black Woman
Mark A. Jones
as 54th Soldier
Mark Margolis
as 10th Conn. Soldier
Paul Desmond
as 10th Conn. Soldier
Richard Wright
as 10th Conn. Soldier
Chad Dowdell
as Wounded Soldier (uncredited)
Lance Norris
as Man In Crowd (Boston)
Michael Smith Guess
as 'A' Company Soldier
Abdul Salaam El Razzac
as 'A' Company Soldier
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Critic Reviews for Glory

All Critics (42) | Top Critics (10)

Audience Reviews for Glory

  • Jun 18, 2014
    I will have to praise this American war drama directed by Edward Zwick and starring Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes and Morgan Freeman. It had everything you need for a good movie! Stunning cinematography , inspirational screenplay written by Kevin Jarre, based on the personal letters of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, outstanding acting with powerful characters, dramatic music... like following instructions of "How to make a good movie" manual. Wasn't perfect, but, it is one of the better war movies I've seen in my lifetime! The story is about the first formal unit of the US Army during the American Civil War to be made up entirely of African-American men, as told from the point of view of Colonel Shaw, its white commanding officer. They were the first unit of what became known as the United States Colored Troops and known for their heroic actions at Fort Wagner. The film was nominated for five Academy Awards and won three, including Denzel Washington for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Private Trip. Amazing! It won many other awards, including from the British Academy, the Golden Globe Awards, the Kansas City Film Critics Circle, Political Film Society, the NAACP, among others. It is sad that this movie made only $26,828,365... still, it was considered a moderate financial success, taking into account its $18 million budget. A wonderful story of black soldiers which did not have commercially convenient white hero... it was a tale of the 54th Regiment, not Colonel Shaw, but at the same time the two were inseparable.
    Panta O Super Reviewer
  • Nov 11, 2013
    A powerful and inspirational Civil War epic, Glory is a brilliantly crafted film from director Edward Zwick. The story follows the formation of the first all-black volunteer Union Army regiment of the Civil War, and their exploits at the Battle of Fort Wagner. Starring Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, and Cary Elwes, the performances are all especially good; particularly Washington, who gives a career performance. And, the writing does an excellent job at developing the characters. Additionally, the sets and costumes are all exceptionally well-done, giving an authentic feel to the film. The battle sequences are also extraordinary, portraying a gritty and realistic picture of warfare. And enough cannot be said about James Horner's magnificent score, which is incredibly passionate and spiritual. Based on a remarkable true story, Glory is a compelling film about courage and bravery.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • May 13, 2013
    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.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Nov 10, 2012
    This sweeping epic is the movie that solidified Denzel Washington as an academy award winner and a bankable leading man. Glory is the Civil War story of the all-black members of the 54th Regiment of the Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, headed by Matthew Broderick's Col. Robert Gould Shaw. This is a powerful movie of courage and heroism with an academy award winning performance from a Denzel Washington. Beautifully filmed and directed by Ed Zwick. A must see.
    Jasen L Super Reviewer

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