10 Best Civil War Films

Thursday, January 27 by Audrey Johnson

The 10 best Civil War films show the reasons behind the war, its devastation and the state of the U.S. onc fighting ceased. These films provide a glimpse of the far-reaching effects of the war and what normal citizens were required to do to survive the war that pitted brother against brother and friend against friend.

  1. “Cold Mountain.” This Civil War movie follows a pair of lovers as they face the devastation the war causes at home and on the front. Inman, played by Jude Law, deserts the war effort to get home to Ada, played by Nicole Kidman. As Inman struggles to survive, Ada finds out just how much she can handle. For uniquely portraying how the Civil War affected every American, “Cold Mountain” is one of the best Civil War films.
  2. Gone With the Wind.” Although normally touted as a great love film, this movie also brilliantly depicts the Southern view of the war. The tale follows Scarlett O’Hara as she struggles to retain her past as a Southern belle, and how that struggle ruins her future. The scene depicting the burning of Atlanta is famous and the best example of why the movie is one of the best films about the Civil War
  3. “The Red Badge of Courage.” The film adaptation of the famed novel contains the same fear, courage and heroism as appeared in the book. For showing what the emotional aspects of what it took to fight in the war, the film is one of the best movies about the Civil War.
  4. “Gods and Generals.” This movie uniquely focuses on the first eighteen months of the war. While perhaps four hours is a little too long, the movie never becomes boring. Depicting the beginning of the War, “Gods and Generals” is a great Civil War movie.
  5. “Gettysburg.” Focusing on the famed battle in the War, this movie is often identified as the holy grail of Civil War movies. With awe-inspiring battle scenes, this is one of the best Civil War movies of all time.
  6. “Glory.” “Glory” is one of the few films that show the involvement of African-Americans in the Civil War. The movie depicts the involvement of a group of volunteer, black infantryman at the battle of Fort Wagner. Its focus on such a unique event makes it one of the best Civil War movies.
  7. “Shenandoah.” A farmer is forced to become involved in the war when Union soldiers capture his son. The film shows how every American was involved in the war, despite their unwillingness. Great performances and scenery make it a great movie about the Civil War.
  8. “Andersonville.” This movie shows the hellish conditions of a Civil War camp for Union P.O.W’s. By the end of the war, the camp would house more than 30,000 soldiers, despite being created for 8,000. Their lack of water, food and basic necessities meant that few prisoners left the camp alive. For showing the Confederate’s cruelty, “Andersonville” is a great Civil War movie.
  9. “Ride with the Devil.” Rather than show the larger picture of North vs. South, this Civil War film depicts the clan warfare initiated by the war in the West. And by West, the film means Kansas. For depicting how war can cause hostility in even the most remote regions, “Ride with the Devil” is one of the best Civil War movies.
  10. “The Birth of a Nation.” This film shows how the war separated friends as well as the consequences of the war on members of both sides. What makes this film unique is its depiction of the South’s response to losing the war, namely the rise of the KKK. “The Birth of a Nation” provides a look at how the U.S. changed after the War.