GLORY recounts the bravery of a group of Civil War soldiers often overlooked by history--the 54th Regiment of Massachusetts, a troop of free black men who fought to help win liberty for their enslaved brothers. Based on the historical novels ONE GALLANT RUSH by Peter Burchand and LAY THIS LAUREL by Lincoln Kirstein and the letters of Robert Gould Shaw, the film follows the youthful Colonel Shaw (Matthew Broderick) as he takes responsibility for readying these soldiers for battle. Shaw, a privileged young Boston Brahman, finds the job harder than expected because many of the men balk at taking orders from him. Private Trip (Denzel Washington) is especially resistant to Shaw's leadership, but over time the two come to an understanding as they endure the hardships of the war. On July 18, 1863, Shaw volunteers the 54th for the honor of leading the charge against Ft. Wagner, a mission that means almost certain death, with Trip carrying the regiment's colors into battle. This gritty and realistic vision of the horrors of war is a moving and critical examination of a lost piece of history. Beautifully shot and triumphantly acted (by a cast that also includes Morgan Freeman, Cary Elwes, and Andre Braugher), director Edward Zwick's film serves as a tribute to the courage and selfless bravery of the black soldiers of the Civil War.
1989 - Academy Awards - Best Sound Winner
1989 - Academy Awards - Best Supporting Actor Winner
1989 - Academy Awards - Best Cinematography Winner
Edward Zwick - Director/producer/screenwriter
Cary Elwes - Actor/In USA
Matthew Broderick - American Actor, FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF (1986)
Denzel Washington - American actor, GLORY/TRAINING DAY
Donovan Leitch Jr. - British actor/singer, AND GOD CREATED.../I SHOT ANDY WARHOL
James Horner - Composer, COMMANDO (1985)
Morgan Freeman - American Actor
Andre Braugher - American Actor/"Glory"
Director Edward Zwick's GLORY follows the 54th Regiment of Massachusetts, a troop of free black men who fought for freedom during the Civil War. When a wealthy white Bostonian takes charge of the unit, he faces the challenge of earning their respect and support as he prepares the soldiers for battle.
Theatrical release: December 15, 1989. Filmed on various locations in Massachusetts and Georgia. There is a monument to the 54th Infantry in the Boston Commons, sculpted by Augustus Saint-Goudens. Black soldiers, in fact, had a difficult time enlisting in the Northern army, which at first did not welcome them; when the Unionists finally changed their mind, African Americans often responded to the earlier slight by refusing to join. Of the 186,107 black soldiers in the Union army, 37,300 died; many of them were front-line men in the most dangerous positions. Seventy-five years after the Civil War, during World War II, many blacks still fought in segregated regiments. GLORY features the first screen appearance of Andre Braugher. Screenwriter Kevin Jarre has a cameo as a Connecticut soldier. Jane Alexander has a cameo as Shaw's (Matthew Broderick) mother. Donovan Leitch Jr. is the son of musician Donovan. Edward Zwick, the director of GLORY, was the cocreator, with Marshall Herskovitz, of television's THIRTYSOMETHING and ONCE AND AGAIN
"...Spectacular choreography..." - 03/01/1990 Sight and Sound, p.135
"...Beautifully acted, pageantlike....[The] cast is superior....This is a good, moving, complicated film..." - 12/14/1989 New York Times, p.C15
"...GLORY is an eloquent, heart-tugging Civil War epic....Remarkable as a period piece and for Freddie Francis's vivid cinematography....Splendid..." - 01/11/1990 Los Angeles Times, p.F1
"...A clutch of undeniably moving performance..." - 07/01/2000 Total Film, p.114