Denzel Washington, Mathew Broderick

Directed by Edward Zwick
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
December 15, 1995

Hold the hallelujahs for this botched Civil War epic about the first black fighting regiment in U.S. history, the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. Led by white officers, with Colonel Robert Gould Shaw of Boston in command, the Fifty-fourth faced virulent racism but distinguished itself in battle. Until now, Hollywood has never acknowledged the contribution black soldiers made in the Civil War (by war's end, they constituted twelve percent of the Union army). So what went wrong with this attempt to make amends?

It's start with Matthew Broderick, catastrophically miscast as Shaw. Working against his cutie-pie image, Broderick freezes his face into a somber mask while director-coscreenwriter Edward Zwick, creator of TV's thirtysomething, holds the camera on him for interminable close-ups in the vain hope that a thought will be readable on that bland countenance.

The black actors, especially Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington and newcomer Andre Braugher, fare better, but against daunting odds. Though the film has an evocative look reminiscent of Matthew Brady's period photographs, Zwick has stuffed the actors' mouths with numbing bombast. Glory is a shame.

Movie Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Bleeding Love”

    Leona Lewis | 2007

    In 2008, The X Factor winner Leona Lewis backed up her U.K. singing competition victory with an R&B anthem for the ages: "Bleeding Love," an international hit that became the best-selling song of the year. The track was co-penned by OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder (whose radio dominance would continue with songs such as Beyonce's "Halo" and Adele's "Rumour Has It") and solo artist Jesse McCartney, who was inspired by a former girlfriend, Gossip Girl actress Katie Cassidy. Given the song's success, McCartney didn't regret handing over such a personal track: "No, no," he said. "I'm so happy for Leona. She deserves it. There are really no bad feelings."

    More Song Stories entries »