Most Important Black Films – #5 Glory

 

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Glory is based on the true story of the 54th Massachussetts Infantry, one of the Army’s first all black units.  Led by Robert Shaw, the unit played an important role in the battle for Fort Wagner (Civil War).

On to the tale of the tape…

Relevance:  The real life military unit this film is based on would be more than enough to earn a high ranking in this category right?  So how about the trilogy of black actors that headline the 54th: Denzel, Morgan Freeman, and Andre Braugher (in his film debut)?  Good Lord…

Legacy:  Seems strange to point out 20 years down the line, but this film was a nice career milestone in cementing both Denzel and Morgan as A-list, household names.  Seriously, as hard as it is to elevate one black actor to the top of the food chain, how many films in history can legitimately argue they elevated two?

Craft:  Morgan Freeman and Denzel Washington throwing down in the same film?!?  Come on!  Seriously, I was way too young to know if the term ‘Oscar bait’ was being used back then, but with its subject matter and star power, Glory remains a very watchable Civil War film.

Crossover:  Denzel’s first Oscar.  The film also won Academy Awards for Cinematography and Sound Editing.

Apollo:  Trip’s lashing (Denzel’s Oscar scene) is the natural choice; personally I was always moved the most by the campfire scene the night before the battle.  That Denzel speech (“Y’alls the onliest family I got.  I love the 54th.”) really hits a nerve with me.

The film countdown continues later with the emergence of a new voice…

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