The movie, “Glory” by director Edward Zwick, is about Colonel Robert Shaw (played by Matthew Broderick) commanding the first all-African American regiment called the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. Alongside him is his old friend Cabot Forbes (played by Cary Elwes) that helps him train the regiment in the skills they need to successfully perform in battle. The regiment includes John Rawlins (played by Morgan Freeman), Private Trip (played by Denzel Washington), Thomas Searles (played by Andre Braugher), and Private Jupiter (played by Jihmi Kennedy).
The movie provides many details in regards to the experience of the men within the 54th regiment and the actions they had to perform. “Glory” by Edward Zwick, despite minor inaccuracies, is overall historically accurate due to the small details such as Shaw’s death to the more major ones like the portrayal of the attitude towards the Africans apart of the regiment A major part of the historical accuracy stems from the cinematic view of the treatment of the men within the regiment. Upon assembling of the regiment, the African Americans are harshly treated by Irish Sergeant Major Mulcahy with the use of vulgar language such as, “you bloody Hindus” or “you are ugly Mexican- Africans”. Even Colonel Shaw himself states, “You know the Irish are noted for their fondness of the colored”. Not only was there mistreatment within the regiment, but the government was as well.
In the movie, there is a scene that shows Colonel Shaw telling his men that he was informed by higher-ups that since his men are colored, they will get paid $10 dollars a month instead of $13 dollars a month like the white men. What proceeds after is the regiment not accepting their payment. In real life, the regiment did continued to not accept their allowance until the Union government would pass a law that provided equal pay to all the colored men.
The 54th regiment also has a struggle in receiving the proper clothing and shoes in battle because did not want to provide for colored men. As the movie progresses, the Africans begin to face less discrimination, but the sour attitude towards them still is there in the background. Another major accuracy was the scene taken place at Fort Wagner. The scene at Fort Wagner was an attack made by the regiment. They got the closest than other another regiment.
The movie accurately portrayal it because yes the regiment did get close and it helped them earn respect from white soldiers, but they did lose half of their men with many casualties. Other minimal details such as pidgin the regiment spoke and Shaw’s death with him being shot 3 times in the movie and being buried in a pit with his deceased soldiers adds to the realistic aspect within the movie.Although there was accuracy to the movie, it did have some flaws. For example, when Colonel Shaw was presented with the notion of leading the 54th, he did not take it immediately like the movie shows. A majority of the characters in the regiment were fictional such as Trip and John Rawles. Some of the fictional characters in the regiment were runaway slaves, but in reality, a majority of the African Americans in the 54th regiment were freed educated men like Thomas Searles.
Other than these inaccuracies, the movie still provides a taste of the conflicts during the Civil War. The movie “Glory” by director Edward Zwick is about the journey of the 54th regiment and provides a small glimpse into one of the many conflicts of the Civil War. The movie itself, despite some inaccuracies, is overall historically accurate in the portrayal of Civil War life for the regiment. The mistreatment of colored men and the sacrifices took to prove themselves at Fort Wagner showed the struggle that even freedmen like the character Thomas Searles had to face. I enjoyed watching the movie and being provided with some information about the regiments experience and Colonel Shaw himself. It also gives an overall view of what the life was like back then during the Civil War when our nation was torn which is what I liked the best. Although it did have some faults in regards to the information, it was still a fantastic movie.