This is the third of 3 reviews that are part of The Remembering James Horner Blogathon hosted by Bex over at Film Music Central and being . Tnx for letting me participate!
“There’s more to fighting than rest, sir. There’s character, there’s strength of heart. You should have seen us in action two days ago. We were a sight to see! We’ll be ready, sir. When do you want us? ” – Colonel Robert G. Shaw
Number of Times Seen – at least 5 times (Theater in ’89, cable, video, DVD and 22 Jun 2016)
Brief Synopsis – During the Civil War, a Northern Colonel is given the task of leading one of the first all Black volunteer regiments to fight in the war and must face fierce opposition from both the enemy and also from inherent prejudices of the North.
My Take on it – When I heard about Bex’s Blogathon, I was quite excited to participate because James Horner has scored some of my favorite movie music. I debated for a while which film(s) to watch and review because there are so many great ones; Titanic (1997), Apollo 13 (1995), Deep Impact (1998), Braveheart (1995) and Sneakers (1992) are among my favorites.
In the end, I chose to go with 3 that I have yet to review and although I recalled his scores from these films (and in two cases, his credits song), I can’t say that I knew them so well.
This is a movie that I probably haven’t seen in more than 15 years despite loving it after seeing it in the theater and a few times on cable.
They do a wonderful job conveying the difficulties that Shaw and his men faced and the story is told in a strait forward fashion letting us decide what were the benefits and detriments of creating such a regiment.
The lead cast is superb here with Matthew Broderick, Cary Elwes, Morgan Freeman, Andre Brauer and Denzel Washington giving amazing performances all around.
Freeman, Brauer and Washington’s characters are all amalgams of the kind of men who chose to volunteer for this regiment; runaway slaves, free men properly ensconced in Northern society and lower class free men who needed the money to support their families.
Washington won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor fir this film, but the best performance here clearly goes to Broderick who proved in one of his first grownup dramatic roles that he can seem both naive and courageous as he follows his convictions and his men into battle.
The battle scenes are extremely brutal and that makes things seem even more realistic and quite scary to watch.
The score by James Horner is able to capture the extremely emotional feelings of the film perfectly and is one of his best IMHO. This was one of only 5 times a pure film score was able to win a Grammy without an Oscar nomination for Best Score.
Check out the theme score and the credits score here:
I once again want to thank Bex for running this Blogathon and look forward to reading all the other entries!
Bottom Line – Excellent depiction of the difficulties that Shaw and his regiment faced during the war. Excellent cast. Freeman, Washington and Brauer are great as three stereotypical soldiers and succeed in showing us the different kind of men who volunteered to fight as free men. The battle scenes are brutal and therefore quite realistic and scary to watch. Washington won an Oscar for his role as a runaway slave returning to fight but he doesn’t give the best performance here; that honor belongs to Broderick. Broderick is superb in one of his first real grownup dramatic roles because he gives off both a naive vibe and a courageous one in order to follow his true convictions. Amazing score by Horner effectively captures the intense emotion feelings of this film. Highly recommended!
MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – This film has one of the longest credit rolls in history. The credits following the movie ran a full ten minutes and were shipped to theaters on a separate reel. The films cast is displayed three times, each in a different layout. (From IMDB)
Rating – Oscar Worthy (9/10)
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