The Civil War, on the silver screen

Mar 03, 2014
Daniel Day Lewis looks the part in “Lincoln.”

Belfast — In support of the Local & Legendary: Belfast in the Civil War series of events, the March theme of Friday Night Flicks at the Belfast Free Library is the Civil War. All of the movies will be presented at 7 p.m. in the Abbott Room of the library, 106 High St. The screenings are free of charge.

Steven Spielberg's award-winning film “Lincoln” will open the series on March 7. The 2012 film stars Daniel Day Lewis as President Abraham Lincoln, balancing the effort to win the war with his campaign to pass a constitutional amendment banning slavery. Sally Fields and Tommy Lee Jones also are members of the impressive cast.

The Civil War was fought in many places, not just the fields of its most famous battles. “Ride With the Devil,” screened on March 14, takes place in Missouri, where pro-Confederate settlers waged a guerilla war against the Union. Tobey Maguire and Skeet Ulrich star as a pair of friends caught up in the struggle in this film from 1999.

On March 21, Matthew Broderick, Morgan Freeman and Denzel Washington, in an Academy Award-winning role, star in “Glory,” the story of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry, the first all-black unit to fight in the Civil War. “Glory,” from 1989, is an inspiring epic that shines a light on a piece of history that has often been neglected.

The final selection, on March 28, is a change of pace in more ways than one: “The General” is a silent action-comedy. Buster Keaton wrote, directed and starred in the story of a railroad engineer who, when his train is stolen by Yankee soldiers, sets out singlehandedly to rescue it. Listed by the American Film Institute as one of the 100 greatest films of all time, “The General” got its art direction inspiration from the Civil War photography of Mathew Brady.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or

Ang Lee’s “Ride With the Devil” tells the tale of guerrilla warfare in Missouri, the only slave-holding state that sided with the Union. From left are Tobey Maguire and Skeet Ulrich.
Denzel Washington has Morgan Freeman’s back — and won an Oscar — in “Glory.”
Buster Keaton inhabits Civil War times in “The General.”
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