Two Civil War Movies You Need to Add to Your Collection

Just like I waited many years for a Gods and Generals Director’s Cut, I have waited just as long for two other Civil War movies to be released to DVD. Though I would check online every once in a while, they were never available. The two films I am talking about were made-for-television in the late 90’s, both for TNT, titled The Day Lincoln Was Shot (1998) and The Hunley (1999). Both of these films, along with frequent showings Gettysburg, made Ted Turner’s television network one of the go-to places for movies about the War Between the States, and no doubt contributed to my love of the conflict that I have today. Once upon a time ago, I had both of these films recorded off of TV onto VHS tapes, but as time passed, the two movies slipped into oblivion, and have not been located for at least six or seven years; they will never be found in my house, most likely taped over many moons ago.

However, with my latest search today, I discovered that both movies were released by Warner Brothers in March, and are available via their website and other online outlets. On Ebay and Amazon, they generally go for more than $25, but if you buy from WB directly, they are $19.95. I have spent a lot of money on movies lately, and with my trip to Manassas coming up to cover the Gods and Generals film premiere, I may have to wait on purchasing these for a little while, but I would like to have them by September for when I start teaching my course on the Civil War. This is just a shout-out and heads-up to those who have watched these movies, and have been looking for them, eagerly, like I have.

The Day Lincoln Was Shot was my favorite of the two, and starred Lance Henriksen as Abraham Lincoln and Rob Morrow as John Wilkes Booth. From what I remember, and this was quite some time ago, both were amazing in their roles, especially Henriksen, who still stands out to me today as the best Lincoln portrayal I have ever seen. The latter of the two, The Hunley, was also memorable, as it detailed the ill-fated first submarine mission in America, when Armand Assante, who plays a Confederate named Captain Dixon, tries to sink a Union ship in the blockade of Charleston Harbor. Donald Sutherland also makes an appearance, as well as one of my favorite character actors Sebastien Roche.

These are two films you do not want to miss!

6 Comments Add yours

  1. good movies, but, only buy Blu ray these days

  2. Wes says:

    I heard about these in the past but have never seen them. I will have to get them. Ted Turner produced another Civil War film before G&G and Gettys called Ironclads about the battle between the Monitor and Merrimac ships. I hope that gets a DVD release soon.

    1. gcaggiano says:

      It’s now or never for these films, because of the 150th.

  3. Steven says:

    I’m really glad “The Hunley” is on DVD now! Despite some inaccuracies (Assante, although good, was too old for the Dixon character), this is one of my favorite films on the Civil War. For a late 90s telefilm, it was very well done with story, character. Shoot, even the CG effects were believable! Next paycheck might be partially devoted to getting it.

    I haven’t seen a lot of “The Day Lincoln was Shot,” so might have to look into seeing it. I do hope that “Ironclads” gets released! Despite the unneeded romantic subplots, I thought it was very good as well. Got the old VHS of that one, but since I don’t have a place to plug in the VCR at the moment…

    God bless!

  4. Chuck says:

    Henriksen is much too short to play Lincoln. Gregory Peck is still my favorite on-screen Lincoln.

  5. Barn says:

    Don’t hold your breath for Blu-rays – the fact that these were released on the Warner Archive program suggests it is highly unlikely. The transfers are very nice though. I had these on VHS-to-DVD transfers and it’s great now to have them in this quality, two superb films.

    I can only echo the sentiments regarding Ironclads.

    I like Henriksen and Peck, but for me Hal Holbrook was stupendous.

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