Gods and Generals 2003

Critics score:
8 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: An inert pageant of waxen figures that fails completely as drama even as it insults the sensibilities of anyone not clinging to rosy memories of the slave-era South. Read more

Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press: Few of [the actors] are able to compete with the wigs and the platitudes. Read more

Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper: Four hours including the intermission, I felt like I was seeing the Civil War in real time for awhile there. Read more

Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune: The movie we see here, though admirable in parts, is numbing as a whole. Read more

Stephen Holden, New York Times: A lumpy three-and-a-half-hour glob of Civil War history. Read more

Bill Stamets, Chicago Reader: Maxwell continues his textbook emphasis on military maneuvers, but despite literally thousands of Civil War reenactors recruited for the film, the wide-screen canvas fails to map the tactics or evoke the terror of battle. Read more

Ted Fry, Seattle Times: A movie that crams in so many faces, chronological details and endlessly ham-handed stretches of dialogue that the impact of the legitimately moving segments is considerably diminished. Read more

Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: At times, the film can feel like a historical pageant, stiff and heavy-handed. Read more

Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times: All that yapping! -- great swaths of quotations from the Bible and the classics, countless ringing speeches, endless stretches of flowery dialogue. Read more

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: A trial to sit through: stiff, ponderous, fluttering in its 'poetry,' and crudely simplistic as an apologia for the Confederate ideology. Read more

Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail: General Boredom meets Major Tedium on the Civil War fields of Virginia. Read more

Jane Sumner, Dallas Morning News: Despite boring patches, this $56 million epic is a noble effort. Read more

Ron Stringer, L.A. Weekly: Maxwell illuminates the processes of denial and the cultivations of self-image by which these famously decent men, in defense of indefensible prerogative, sent thousands upon thousands ... to their deaths. Read more

John Anderson, Newsday: A shameless apologia for the Confederacy as a divinely inspired crusade for faith, home and slave labor. Read more

Rex Reed, New York Observer: A technically proficient but emotionally vacuous historical pageant. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: If ever there was a movie that could cause even the most restless sleeper to fall into a deep slumber, this is it. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: The kind of movie beloved by people who never go to the movies, because they are primarily interested in something else -- the Civil War, for example -- and think historical accuracy is a virtue instead of an attribute. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: It's a plodding, episodic film, reverent and sanctimonious, and its pro-Southern viewpoint -- a time-honored Hollywood tendency -- makes Gone With the Wind look like a Northern polemic. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: It was made strictly by and for Civil War buffs who insist that every pious speech and every skirmish is worthy of filming, even if the end result suffers from serious battle fatigue. Read more

Time Out: The procession of monotonous, oddly gore-free battles breaks frequently for bloated speechifying. Read more

Mike Clark, USA Today: Bad actors or normally competent ones (Jeff Daniels, Stephen Lang) serve up stilted deliveries of stilted dialogue in a near-flashback to the filmstrips we used to see in school. Read more

Robert Koehler, Variety: American history transformed into a museum movie, consistently making the flawed human characters at the heart of the Civil War into flawless figures Olympian in their statuesque remoteness. Read more

Michael Atkinson, Village Voice: Ballooning, jingoistic goat spoor. Read more

Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post: A viewing of this epic is likely to leave all but the geekiest Civil War buffs feeling as itchy and as restless as if they themselves were wearing woolen underwear -- soggy, unwashed, vintage 1860s, government-issue woolen underwear. Read more

Stephen Hunter, Washington Post: One doesn't come away from it with any sense of what the victory cost in human terms or what it's like to face a rank of men shooting at you, or to jam a bayonet into somebody's guts or have one jammed into your guts. Read more