Glory and The Movie Glory

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 805 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: Mar 20, 2024

Words: 805|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: Mar 20, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Historical Accuracy
  2. Portrayal of the African American Experience
  3. Significance in American History and Film
  4. Conclusion

Glory is a 1989 American war film directed by Edward Zwick, starring Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes, and Morgan Freeman. The movie is based on the true story of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, the first formal unit of the Union Army to be made up entirely of African American men during the American Civil War. The film is not only a compelling portrayal of the struggles and triumphs of the 54th Massachusetts, but also a thought-provoking commentary on the themes of race, honor, and the human spirit. This essay will explore the historical accuracy of the movie Glory and its portrayal of the African American experience during the Civil War, as well as its significance in the context of American history and film.

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Historical Accuracy

Glory has been praised for its attention to historical detail and its portrayal of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. The film accurately depicts the challenges faced by the regiment, including discrimination, lack of proper equipment, and the initial refusal to grant equal pay to African American soldiers. The movie also showcases the bravery and resilience of the men of the 54th, as they train and fight alongside their white counterparts, ultimately proving themselves on the battlefield.

According to historian James M. McPherson, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, Glory "faithfully evokes the ethos of the Civil War period." McPherson notes that the film's portrayal of the 54th Massachusetts accurately reflects the historical record, capturing the regiment's determination to prove themselves in the face of prejudice and adversity.

While the movie takes some liberties with certain events and characters for dramatic effect, such as the portrayal of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw and the sequence of the assault on Fort Wagner, overall, Glory is widely regarded as a faithful representation of the experiences of the 54th Massachusetts during the Civil War.

Portrayal of the African American Experience

Glory is significant for its portrayal of the African American experience during the Civil War, shedding light on the often-overlooked contributions and sacrifices of black soldiers in the conflict. The film depicts the 54th Massachusetts as a group of men who are not only fighting for their country but also for their own dignity and freedom. The characters in the movie grapple with issues of identity, pride, and the desire for equality, providing a poignant and powerful representation of the African American struggle during this pivotal period in American history.

Historian and author David W. Blight has praised Glory for its portrayal of the African American soldiers, noting that the film "allows the viewer to see and feel the Civil War as a black soldier might have experienced it." By humanizing the members of the 54th Massachusetts and exploring their individual stories and motivations, the movie effectively conveys the complexity and depth of the African American experience during the war.

Significance in American History and Film

Glory holds a significant place in both American history and film. The movie serves as a tribute to the bravery and sacrifice of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry and all African American soldiers who fought for the Union during the Civil War. By bringing their story to the forefront, Glory contributes to a more complete and inclusive understanding of the war and its impact on American society.

Furthermore, the film has been credited with sparking renewed interest in the history of African American soldiers in the Civil War. Following the release of Glory, there was a surge in scholarly research and public awareness of the contributions of black soldiers to the Union cause. This increased attention has led to a greater recognition of the vital role played by African American troops in the outcome of the war and the advancement of civil rights in America.

From a cinematic perspective, Glory has been celebrated for its powerful storytelling, compelling performances, and emotional resonance. The film received critical acclaim and several award nominations, including five Academy Award nominations and three wins, including Best Supporting Actor for Denzel Washington. Glory's impact on the portrayal of African American history in film cannot be overstated, as it has set a standard for historical accuracy and representation in the genre.

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Glory is a remarkable film that not only honors the legacy of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry but also provides a poignant and authentic portrayal of the African American experience during the Civil War. The movie's historical accuracy, attention to detail, and thematic significance have solidified its place as a seminal work in both American history and cinema. Glory stands as a testament to the courage and resilience of the men of the 54th Massachusetts, ensuring that their story will continue to resonate with audiences and historians for generations to come.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Glory and The Movie Glory. (2024, March 20). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 23, 2024, from
“Glory and The Movie Glory.” GradesFixer, 20 Mar. 2024,
Glory and The Movie Glory. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 23 Jun. 2024].
Glory and The Movie Glory [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 20 [cited 2024 Jun 23]. Available from:
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