W: Kevin Jarre [based on the books "Lay This Laurel"
by Lincoln Kirstein, "One Gallant Rush" by Peter Burchard & the letters of Robert Gould Shaw]
DP: Freddie Francis
Ed: Steven Rosenblum
Mus: James Horner
PD: Norman Garwood
Cos: Francine Jamison-Tanchuck
Matthew Broderick (Col. Robert Gould Shaw), Cary Elwes
(Cabot Forbes), Denzel Washington (Pvt. Trip), Morgan Freeman (John Rawlins), Jihmi Kennedy (Sharts), Andre Braugher (Searles), John Finn (Sgt. Mulcahy), Donovan Leitch
Sanitised schoolbook historical account of the first
black regiment and their contribution to the American Civil War efforts under the command of the young, inexperienced Colonel Robert Gould Shaw.
While it's clear to see that liberties have been taken
with fact for dramatic purposes, the film holds interest with it's tense battle scenes and strong performances, especially Denzel Washington as former slave Private Trip.
In fact, all the performances from the black members
of the cast are impressively strong, but the white characters (Broderick, Elwes, etc.) are quite poorly written, either as bullying commanding officers or racist thugs, which may have
well been as the cloth was cut during the time and accurately portrays civil war politics, but maybe the message would have been stronger had the perspective been shown solely from the
black soldiers, all as equals, so not to make any point or reference to race, colour and creed.
Nevertheless, a very good war picture, rather
old-fashioned for the late 1980's, but beautifully photographed and meticulously produced.