[Screen It]


(2003) (Stephen Lang, Jeff Daniels) (PG-13)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Mild Moderate *Moderate *Mild Extreme
Minor None Mild None Minor
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
Minor Mild Moderate Moderate Extreme

Drama: Confederate forces try to defend Virginia at all costs from advancing Union armies during the first two years of the American Civil War.
It's 1861 and Robert E. Lee (ROBERT DUVALL) has been offered to lead the Union Army against upstart secessionists in the South. Instead, he opts to protect his home state of Virginia from the Northern forces. At the same time, VMI professor Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson (STEPHEN LANG) readies his young cadets to defend their homeland as well, while Jane Beale (MIA DILLON) of Fredericksburg sees her oldest sons head off for likely war.

From the North, Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (JEFF DANIELS) says good-bye to his wife, Fanny (MIRA SORVINO), and joins forces with his brother, Lieutenant Thomas Chamberlain (C. THOMAS HOWELL), as they head south for battle.

Saying good-bye to his wife, Anna (KALI ROCHA), and putting all of his faith in God, Jackson similarly heads off for the frontlines, where the likes of Irish immigrant Sgt. "Buster" Kilrain (KEVIN CONWAY) can't believe he's going to be fighting his own people on the other side. As the likes of black cook Jim Lewis (FRANKIE FAISON) and Jane's servant, Martha (DONZALEIGH ABERNATHY), look on, the various battles rage over the next two years as the Confederate forces attempt to repel the invading Union army.

Unless they're interested in the American Civil War or are fans of someone in the cast, it's not very likely.
For sustained battle sequences.
  • STEPHEN LANG plays a deeply religious Confederate general who loves his state more than his country and will do anything to defend it, as long as it's part of God's will.
  • ROBERT DUVALL plays Robert E. Lee, the Confederate General who never underestimates the enemy.
  • JEFF DANIELS plays a professor from the North who's called upon to lead a military division into Virginia to quell the uprising.
  • MIRA SORVINO plays Chamberlain's wife who's concerned about his safety.
  • KALI ROCHA plays Jackson's loving wife who worries about him.
  • MIA DILLON plays a mother who worries about her son's and her home when war invades her city.
  • DONZALEIGH ABERNATHY plays the black servant who works for Jane and defends the home from Northerners.
  • FRANKIE FAISON plays a black cook hired by Jackson to cook for him and his men who briefly questions how religious men can condone slavery.
  • KEVIN CONWAY plays an Irishmen who's distressed to see his own people fighting each other on either side of the war.
  • C. THOMAS HOWELL plays Joshua's brother who joins him in battle against the South.


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.

    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).

    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this historical drama that's been rated PG-13. Violence consists of all sorts of battle-related injuries and deaths (via gunfire, hand to hand combat and cannon fire, etc.), and while there are various instances of blood and related gore (and the sight of many dead bodies - usually from a distance), the scenes are nowhere near as graphic as those in "Saving Private Ryan." That said, some of them might still be unsettling, tense or suspenseful to some viewers.

    Profanity consists of a few minor expletives, while some imitative phrases are also present. Various characters drink and/or smoke, a woman briefly shows some cleavage and a married couple is seen in bed (but nothing more than kissing is seen). Meanwhile, varying degrees of bad attitudes are present, as are some tense family moments regarding war-related issues. Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

  • Some Union men drink from a large jug of some sort (presumably alcohol inside it).
  • Whiskey is given to a man who's been severely wounded.
  • Liquor is poured into a wounded man's mouth. He's later given a mixture of whiskey and morphine.
  • A few men with bloody wounds are briefly seen (but nothing too bad) during a battle, while we also see some blood on Jackson's glove after he's shot in the hand.
  • We see many dead men and horses on a battlefield (nothing gory).
  • We briefly see a soldier with blood on his face.
  • We briefly see blood squirt out when a person is shot.
  • We see a soldier who appears to be missing an arm (his coat is very bloody) who asks to head to the back of the group.
  • Another soldier appears to have been shot in the eye (lots of blood there, but only briefly seen).
  • We see a long shot of many dead bodies on the battlefield (nothing gory).
  • The wounded are taken into a makeshift hospital and are bloody, as is the surgeon (and his clothes) who's working on them. We also see a small pool of blood on some piano keys from a man's bloody hand and arm. We also briefly see the surgeon working on a man's chest wound (but not long enough to note any detail).
  • We briefly see blood on a man's shirt as he's shot along with other deserters by a firing squad.
  • A man's hands and clothes are bloody when he's hit by shrapnel.
  • Depending on one's stance or viewpoint of the clash, members of either opposing side could be viewed as having bad attitudes, and some viewers might not like the film's portrayal of one side or the other.
  • Although not considered inappropriate at the time, Jackson refers to a Native American as a "redskin."
  • Later, a man refers to black people as "darkies," but is reprimanded for that.
  • Union men loot Fredericksburg.
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" or "Blood/Gore" might also be unsettling or suspenseful to some viewers, but mostly younger kids and those with low tolerance levels for such material.
  • Lawrence and others use dead human bodies as shields from bullets while trying to hide among the dead bodies at night (as we hear bullets whizzing by and/or hitting those dead bodies).
  • Some suspenseful music plays as Confederate forces try to sneak up on Union camps.
  • Rifles/Pistols/Cannons/Bayonets: Used to fire upon and wound or kill many people and damage property. See "Violence" for details.
  • Phrases: "You dang fool," "Damn you," "Go to Hell," "Darkie" (Negro) and "Redskin" (Indian).
  • None.
  • A mild amount of dramatic and some suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • None.
  • At least 5 damns and 1 use each of "My God," "My Lord" and "Oh God" as exclamations.
  • Jackson and his wife briefly kiss while in bed (but nothing more than that is seen and there's no nudity, although sex is implied as we later hear that she had a baby from their time together).
  • A female dancer briefly shows a little bit of cleavage in her low-cut dress.
  • Various characters smoke cigars, pipes or cigarettes in various scenes.
  • Jackson asks another officer if he uses tobacco. The man says he doesn't, not in any form. Jackson says he doesn't either, that he likes it too much.
  • Various families say good-bye to their men who head off to war.
  • Fanny isn't happy that Lawrence is headed off to war.
  • We hear that Jackson's first wife and newborn child died sometime in the past.
  • A young girl tells Jackson that she hasn't seen her father for over a year.
  • A wife sees her sick and wounded husband die before her (knowing he was going to die).
  • The Civil War and the historical accuracy of this presentation.
  • The sort of warfare that was waged back then.
  • What each side was fighting for.
  • Slavery.
  • Jackson's comments that his religious beliefs allows him to feel as safe in battle as in bed.
  • We see shots being fired back and forth between opposing sides (from a distance). We also see a few bodies on the ground (from a distance). We then see cannons being fired with explosions landing around various people (and we then see more dead or wounded people on the ground). This battle goes on for a while, with many more people being wounded or killed by gunfire and cannon fire (only a few people are bloody). During this, Jackson is hit on the hand with a shot and various people are shot from a close range by cannon fire (but nothing gory). Hand to hand combat then breaks out (people hitting others with rifles and bayonets), while many more people are shot. We then see the aftermath and see many dead people and horses on the ground. We hear that 111 Confederates were killed and another 370 were wounded.
  • As Union forces try to make their way into Fredericksburg, Confederate forces open fire on them, shooting and wounding or killing many of them. Cannon fire then lands in the city and damages some property. This continues for quite a while with more shooting and cannon explosions.
  • Another battle breaks out with more gunfire and cannon fire between the opposing sides (and many more people are wounded or killed - but there's very little blood). During this, Lee and others are knocked down by an explosion, but are okay. Another wave of Union soldiers rushes a hill and is hit by gunfire and cannon fire. We later see a great deal of building damage in the city.
  • Three deserters are shot dead by a firing squad (we briefly see blood and their bodies then fall into a pre-dug ditch).
  • Confederate forces attack Union camps and shoot various men and engage in hand to hand combat with them (little blood, but there are many deaths via gunfire and cannon fire). This goes on for several minutes.
  • Confederate forces open fire on their own men at night, hitting and wounding or killing some of them. An explosion then knocks various men down as they try to carry out one of their wounded leaders (who later dies from that).

  • Reviewed February 6, 2003 / Posted February 21, 2003

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