Action / Drama / War / Western

Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 79%
IMDb Rating 7.4 10 6422


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February 06, 2016 at 02:46 AM


James Stewart as Charlie
George Kennedy as Col. Fairchild
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723.83 MB
25 fps
1hr 45 min
P/S 0 / 7
1.52 GB
25 fps
1hr 45 min
P/S 5 / 6

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by aimless-46 9 / 10

Well-acted, beautifully realized story of a peace-loving family's struggle to survive the Civil War

It is intriguing how some comments confidently classify "Shenandoah" (1965) as an anti-war film and others see it as pro-war propaganda (insert Vietnam here). The anti-war advocates must be basing their position on the film's similarity to "Friendly Persuasion" while the propaganda pundits appear to have been influenced by the fact that screenwriter James Lee Barrett would write the script for "The Green Berets" a couple years later. But given that the screenplay was written in 1963 and actual production completed by late 1964, it is unlikely that Vietnam (pro or con) was much of a factor. National consciousness was a couple years away from regarding that little adventure as something of real significance.

I think the real strength of "Shenandoah" is that it maintains the same kind of uneasy neutrality that the Anderson family holds to throughout the film. It shows good and bad people on both sides as the family attempts to just distance themselves as much as possible from the conflict. That they are not entirely successful in doing so hardly sends a clear message of either pacifism of patriotism.

Director Andrew V. McLaglen's films are some of the least political you are likely to find, the exception being his frequent focus on strong women. In "Shenandoah", neither Charlie Anderson (James Stewart) nor his six sons are a match for daughter Jennie (Rosemary Forsyth). The father-daughter dynamic purposely gets a disproportionate amount of screen time as Jennie is shown to be the child most like the father and the only one who routinely stands up to him. This merits the most attention if one is looking for subtle political messages in the film.

Stewart is the only cast member with more screen time than Forsyth. Her romantic scenes with Doug McClure are also first rate, with a touch of comic relief as you begin to realize that he has little idea what he is getting himself into. And their reunion scene at the prisoner of war train is handled extremely well.

Civil war buffs will generally enjoy this film as it presents the war from the (until then unprecedented) point of view of a southern family who did not buy into the frenzy for secession in 1861 and remains resolute even as their property is overrun with union troops. It wouldn't be until "Cold Mountain" that another film would present the reality of a not so united southern home front. Eastern Tennessee and western Virginia remained pro-union, and Winston County, Alabama seceded from the state and attempted to stay in the union.

Of course the buffs will find many inaccurate historical details. At one point the doctor mentions losing a son the year before at Gettysburg, yet much later Carter notes that the besieged troops at Vicksburg are eating rats (the Gettysburg battle ended the day before Vicksburg surrendered). And just after Jennie drives away the federal procurement agents with a single shot rifle, the family rides off equipped with the latest lever action models.

Like McLaglen's "The Rare Breed", "Shenandoah" is somewhat of a chick flick, making it a novelty among historical action adventure films.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.

Reviewed by ([email protected]) 10 / 10

Jimmy Stewart is my favourite actor and this is his best film

I must have seen this film 10 times and every time it leaves a lump in my throat, its something about Jimmy Stewarts acting and the storyline that I find so believable and so sad. The three scenes that really get me are when he speaks about his missing son being the apple of his eye, when he confronts the soldier who accidentally shoots his son and most of all the final scene in the Church. I know some people may find the film sentimental but I just feel that its the best ever , even better than Its A Wonderful Life. I think as you get older and you have your own family the things that J Stewart say have real meaning and therefore I recommend anyone with a soul to watch this film and enjoy a sentimental but ultimately uplifting film

Reviewed by bkoganbing 8 / 10

Timing is everything

If James Stewart had done Shenandoah twenty years earlier he would have had the role that Glenn Corbett has of the son challenging the Anderson family neutrality policy at the dinner table. The Anderson patriarch would have been played by Lionel Barrymore.

Charley Anderson is a man raising a family with six sons and a daughter all on one family farm. He owns no slaves as did many in the South back in those Civil War days. Some of his sons want to get into the Civil War as a matter of regional pride. He doesn't think that's reason enough or a real good idea in any event.

But when youngest son Philip Alford is taken by the Union soldiers because he was wearing a lost Confederate hat he found, Stewart sets out to get his son back. The journey is filled with the heartbreak and tragedy visited on a man who never wanted to get involved in a war he considered none of his business.

There sure were easier places you could be neutral in the Civil WAr. In New England you had little danger of invasion and Florida saw no great land battles of the Civil War. But the Shenandoah Valley was one of the major theaters of war back in the day. Viewers of Shenandoah know that and when the film is over we know that the Anderson family and the rest of the people living there will have more to deal with.

Shenandoah became a long running Broadway musical in the Seventies starring John Cullom. But I think more people identify with it as a James Stewart project.

Saddest moment in the film, the deaths of Patrick Wayne and Katherine Ross. Very poignant indeed.

Funniest moment is easily when Doug McClure is looking for the hand of Rosemary Forsyth from James Stewart. Funny, but also wise in terms of what makes a long term relationship possible.

Shenandoah still holds up very well forty years later as grand family entertainment.

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