Satisfactory Essays

Glory captures the heroism of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw and the first black

regiment in the Civil War, the Massachusetts "Fighting" Fifty-fourth. An

extremely talented cast and crew earned three Academy Awards (cinematography,

sound and supporting actor) and five nominations for their work in Glory. The

outstanding cinematography, sound, score and acting recreate the events leading

up to the Union attack on Fort Wagner on July 18th 1863.

Matthew Broderick portrays the young Bostonian abolitionist Col. Robert G.

Shaw who takes command of the Fifty-fourth, following the Emancipation

Proclamation. Shaw along with Cabot Forbes (Cary Elwes) leads a band of ex

slaves, servants and other black volunteers including a rebellious runaway slave

Trip (Denzel Washington), Shaw's educated childhood friend Thomas Searles (Andre

Braugher), and a former grave digger Rawlins (Morgan Freeman). Together these

men face the adversity of a racist Union Army, struggling to prove themselves

worthy of their government issued blue uniforms.

After months of training and exploitation for physical labor, the Fifty-

fourth gains the opportunity to fight in an attack on Fort Wagner on the beaches

of South Carolina. Poised to dispel the belief that blacks would not be

disciplined under fire, the Fifty-fourth leads the almost suicidal attack on Ft.

Wagner. There Col. Shaw valiantly falls and the Fifty-fourth, suffering great

losses, displayed the courage that persuaded the Union to enlist many more black


Matthew Broderick delivers a noteworthy performance in the role of Col.

Shaw, which Leonard Maltin calls his most ambitious part. In an interview for

the New York Times, Broderick spoke of his method acting,

"The first step [in preparing for the role of Robert Gould Shaw in Glory]

was to try to learn as much as I could about the real person. That was mostly

from letters, photographs, descriptions and a poem by Emerson. The thing I had

to do was bring myself into that situation. I didn't want to be an imitation of

what I thought Shaw must have been like."

Broderick's acting talent has been noted on Broadway as well as in films.

Broderick won a Tony Award for his performance in "Brighton Beach Memoirs" in

1983, a year after his film debut in Max Dugan Returns. (Maltin, 102) But it was

his role as a computer hacker in War Games and his role as a handsome young teen

touring Chicago in Ferris Bueller's Day Off that alerted moviegoers to his


Denzel Washington has received critical acclaim for his role as Trip (as

well as an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor). Denzel commented on the role of

Trip in an interview with the New York Times.
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