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A review of the movie “Glory”

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The movie glory focuses on the 54th massachusetts regiment of all black soldiers during the civil war. It is based on letters sent by Robert Gould Shaw, who was born in Boston on October 10, 1837, to his parents. He was born to wealthy abolitionist parents, who had been aquainted with such people as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Harriet Beecher Stowe and the famous abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass.

The movie starts off with a war scene where Robert Gould Shaw (played by Mathew Broderick) serves as a Captain with the Second Massachusetts Infantry at the Battle of Antietam where he is wounded. After being found by John Rawlins (played by Morgan Freeman) he returns to his parents. Here it is announced that there shall be an all black volunteer regiment formed with the help of Frederick Douglass, and Robert Shaw has been nominated for colonel. At first, it seems like Shaw is a bit hesitant but he soon agrees. The 54th is born.

The movie now follows along with 3 soldiers, as well as Shaw, and his second in command, Major Cabot Forbes, played by Cary Elwes. The first is soldier is Trip, played by Denzel Washington, a bull headed soldier who seems to want to fight the world. The second is the calm and educated Thomas Searles, played by Andre Braugher. The last is John Rawlins who later becomes Sergeant Major, the first rank holding black officer. The viewer begins to see conflicts between member’s of the regiment, and between Shaw and his fromer friend Forbes.

To train these “undisciplined” soldiers, Shaw decides to bring in a tough Irish sergeant major named Mulcahy, played by John Finn, to help toughen them up. Mulcahy portrays a typical drill instructor and is especially hard on Thomas Searles. After Mulcahy gets done with the soldiers, the regiment is as disciplined as any in the army. While the training is underway, a conflict about shoes comes up. The black soldiers have not been supplied with shoes, although they urgently need them, because the 54th regiment is thought of as a joke. Trip was caught “running away”, and was whiped as punishment. As Shaw finds out from Rawlins, that Trip was only looking for shoes, he decides to go to his leading officer and not leave until a shipment is promised. It is a success.

At first, members of the Fifty-fourth are used for nothing more than manual labor until Shaw convinces his commander through the use of blackmail that they should be transferred to a combat command. When they finally are transferred, they are involved in their first real battle at James Island, South Carolina on July 16, 1863 to be followed by the attack on Fort Wagner two days later. At Fort Wagner, the 54 really shows what they have, and how “strength of heart” is stronger than any kind of rest. The soldiers are motivated and fight hard for freedom. Many of the soldiers die, as well as Robert Gould Shaw. From that day on, the 54 was honored because of its bloody fight against the confederates.

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