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Gettysburg (Blu-Ray/DVD Combo)


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Product Description

Product Description

From executive producers Tony Scott and Ridley Scott comes a special about the battle that changed the course of the Civil War and the future of the Nation.

"The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here." Abraham Lincoln's iconic Gettysburg Address frames this epic, feature-length HISTORY special, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. GETTYSBURG looks at this battle from a visceral new perspective, that of the everyday soldiers who fought there, in a confrontation that changed the fate of our nation. Stripping away the romanticized veneer of past treatments, this special conveys new information and honors the sacrifice of those, both North and South, who fought and died there. Raw, immersive and emotional, this groundbreaking event puts viewers inside the three-day battle where over 50,000 men paid the ultimate price.

This combo pack includes the entire action-packed special in both immersive high-definition Blu-ray as well as DVD.

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The epic battle of Gettysburg, fought over a three-day period at the beginning of July 1863, was bloody, brutal, and bitter--making it ideally suited to the History Channel's testosterone-fueled documentary approach. Viewers familiar with offerings like Battles B.C., Patton 360, and multiple others will recognize this style: loud and kinetic, flashy and unsubtle, Gettysburg blends reenactments, photos, CGI (used to depict and dissect the weaponry that made the Civil War's body count so high in general, with some 50,000 casualties at Gettysburg alone), Sam Rockwell's macho voice-over narration, actors reading the reminiscences of the participants, and a variety of expert talking heads holding forth. For the most part, it works; historians and Civil War buffs have already noted some of the factual errors, important omissions, and other problems with the material, but those less versed in the details will come away from this 94-minute program (which was executive produced by noted directors Tony and Ridley Scott) with a good deal of information about the confrontation that inspired President Abraham Lincoln's immortal address, referenced near the end of the documentary. Typical of the History Channel, some of this information is delivered in hyperbolic, melodramatic fashion. Gettysburg was "the largest battle ever fought in the Western Hemisphere," while the cannons that blasted away at Gen. Robert E. Lee's men during the fateful attack known as Pickett's Charge was "the largest artillery barrage ever" in that same sphere; numerous other events are the biggest, the most iconic, the most important, and so on. The overheated writing does Gettysburg no favors, but director Adrian Moat and the other filmmakers' decision to focus on a variety of individuals on both sides was a wise one. Thus we learn about characters like Maj. Gen. Dan Sickles of the North, who had killed his wife's lover before the war and successfully used "the first plea of temporary insanity in U.S. history" to win acquittal; Pvt. Amos Humiston, another Yank, who died on the streets of the Pennsylvania town with nothing to identify him except a photo of his three sons; Confederate Lt. Gen. Dick Ewell, who had vowed revenge after losing a leg earlier in the war; Col. James Wallace, a Marylander who was both a Union officer and slave owner; and numerous others. In the end, it's these portraits that help distinguish the program from the many, many others of its ilk. --Sam Graham --This text refers to the DVD edition.

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Amazon.com: 9 reviews
37 of 44 people found the following review helpful
Flashy but Inaccurate Aug. 31 2011
By R. K. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
It's flashy, I grant that. But "ground breaking?" Not hardly. Still, I watched the whole thing, just to see how they did. Answer: not so hot.

Just a few examples of errors: the narrator said the late Stonewall Jackson was General Lee's second in command -- General Longstreet was Lee's second in command; having Ewell on a horse, rather than in the carriage he actually rode after losing his leg; Clara Barton established the Red Cross (only the American Red Cross--the Red Cross was established by Henry Dunant in Geneva, Switzerland in 1863).

Ignoring John Buford's cavalry defense until General Reynolds could get there, nothing about Hood's brigade against Chamberlain on Little Round Top, claiming all of the Confederate cavalry was missing at the beginning (just J.E.B. Stuart's cavalry, the rest were there), claiming General Joseph R. Davis was from Vicksburg (he was from Biloxi), nothing at all about the third day cavalry battle between Custer and Stuart -- the errors and omissions just piled up.

It was not totally bad. The doctor who found his nephew dead the first day, then tended the wounded without sleep; a tip of the hat to the first military intelligence unit, coverage of Culp's Hill -- they were reasonably good. However, this battle was too large to cover in an hour presentation (with commercial breaks), and it shows.

I'll not be buying this one. Save your money and get Ken Burns' The Civil War, and the motion picture Gettysburg (preferably the director's cut). They're far more accurate and emotive.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Ken Burn's meets Top Gun Nov. 11 2011
By Smallyellowrodents - Published on Amazon.com
I enjoyed Gettysburg for the most part. I thought it had good production values and decent CGI. The focus on a few less known people in the battle did not concern me as it seems to have others. Buford, Lee, Pickett, Longstreet and Chamberlein have been the focus of a myraid of media presentations. As much as I admire Chamberlein, I think shining the light on others on the vast stage that was the Battle of Gettysburg is overdue.

Having lived in the heart of Iron Brigade territory seeing the "Black Hats" and Rufus Dawes play a large part of the show was welcomed. Seeing Culps Hill as a focal point was also a nice change. Many people think the Battle of Gettysburg revolves around Little Round Top and Picketts Charge. That this did not wander over the same worn ground of the 20th Maine and the Kemper, Armistad and Garnett's Brigades, I find refreshing.(As a Minnesota Boy how about something on the 1st Minnesota some time...they had key role on the 2nd day that would make a good story.)

All right some of the history was shaky at best and Sam Rockwells narration and the writing was melodramatic at times. But come on this is the History Channel, their stock is Ice Road Truckers and Pawn Stars. I will show this to my Boy Scout Troop before they we go out to Gettysburg in 2012 and guess what. They will be far more excited by this then the Ken Burn's still pictures and Shelby Foote nuggets. (Which I love, but 15 years olds would fall asleep.) You need to take it for what it is and roll with it. I woud recommend this for someone looking for something beyond the more fact based lecture type of documentary, this aims to entertain and then sneak in a few facts. It succeeds for the most part.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant documentary with a unique approach to telling the Gettysburg story Nov. 20 2013
By Bruckner - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Brilliantly produced documentary on the Battle of Gettysburg. Other documentaries take a timeline approach, walking you through the three days and discussing the different places on the battlefield. This DVD focuses less on what happened at any given place and more on the incredible violence and desparation of the fighting. It takes several individuals who were part of the battle and tells their stories. Most documentaries tell the story; this one makes you feel it.

This video also explains the different types of weapons and ammunition - the minnie ball, cannister, etc. - which helps you to understand how 50,000 soldiers were killed or wounded in a small combat zone over just three days of fighting.

The video is very violent, much closer to the beginning minutes of "Saving Private Ryan" than any other documentary I've seen. Watching this DVD gives you a much better understanding of the battle's significance to the soldiers themselves and makes this historic battle a much more personal experience.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Great Take July 5 2013
By Zachariah Kitzman - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Usually Gettysburg is viewed from the same 3 perspectives Lee's victory on the first day, little round top, and pickets charge. This looks at other key aspects of the battle that are often largely ignored. This is a great watch and very well done. Thank you Riddley Scott.
Four Stars Nov. 23 2014
By E. ONeill - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Very nice and accurate PBS historical drama

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