There are so many movies, which present rather captivating and educative information about the Civil War. Some of them focus on loving affairs during the times of the war; some movies touch upon the historical issues and battles; and some movies just concentrate on certain situations and events in order to represent the peculiarities, which are inherent to wars.
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Some of these movies are Gettysburg, The Birth of a Nation, Gods and Generals, The Red Badge of Courage, and Gone with the Wind; the last movie deserves our attention in this paper, because of numerous reasons. Gone with the Wind is a historical movie about the War between the States, the Reconstruction, and the inequality that was inherent to those times with all its cruelty and unfairness.
With the help of this movie, people can easily observe that slavery and racism were considered to be one of the most integral parts of the Civil War.
The epic drama under consideration is about the life of Scarlet O’Hara, a fictional character, during a certain period of time – before the times of the Civil War till the times of Reconstruction. First, the movie presents a clear picture of pre-Civil War life: its every day problems, balls, public meetings, etc. Of course, people faced certain difficulties caused by racial and ethnical inequality: black people had to work and be slavers for white ones.
However, these problems turned out to be nothing in comparison to the events, which are waiting for them in near future. The Civil War frustrated so many dreams, and no one could overcome the difficulties.
To my mind, Scarlet O’Hara is one of those characters, who helps to comprehend how serious and terrible the war and its outcomes are. At the beginning of the movie, when Scarlet is flirting with the twins, she just cannot comprehend why so many people are constantly talking about the upcoming war. She finds this war simple, stupid, and unnecessary. However, with time, when this stupid war takes so many loved people, Scarlet cannot but be angry with it. She does not know what to do and how to save her family and herself.
When the Civil War starts, we see that Scarlet helps numerous people, who have been injured during the actions. She tears to pieces her dress in order to bind the wounds; she tries to hold on herself and be useful to people. This transformation from a young girl, who does not care about the war and its outcomes into a woman, who is ready to kill in order to protect her house and her family, a woman, who can overcome numerous troubles in order to help and save or relief someone’s life.
Without any doubts, the Civil War caused numerous stresses and pressure on people. Those people, who want to continue their lives and save their children’s future, have to be strong, have to be courage. So, first of all, Gone with the Wind helps to comprehend the emotional level of the Civil War and the Reconstructions: people’s emotions, troubles, tears, and lives, which were taken by the war.
However, emotional aspect of the war is not the only one that is perfectly described in the movie. Historical events should be also mentioned in this discussion. This masterpiece gives a clear picture of the South; this Civil War saga and the description of a woman, who represents poverty, wealth, war, and war’s consequences, demonstrate the historical development of the events.
In this movie, it may really seem that Yankees are quite good people, and the representatives of the Confederation turn out to be evil. However, in the process of watching it, we can realize that Yankee are not that safe and kind, and they are the people, who are ready to spoil all Confederates’ gentility.
Gone with the Wind is considered to be a worthwhile piece of writing that touches the minds and souls of millions of people. In fact, it is not my opinion only. Lots of critics have the same point of view and share it with the readers and listeners. “The perfect story for a nation that had just struggled through an economic depression, it attract readers and viewers everywhere.” (Young 213)
The point is that the writer of the novel and the director of the movie made a wonderful attempt to use true facts and unite them with the fictional ones. In fact, Sherman’s troops were on their way to the Carolinas, however, in the movie, they return to Atlanta, and this fact does not coincide with the reality.
Of course, there are certain misunderstandings, which take place between the reality and the fiction that was created by ordinary people. “Eventually, the cultural/nationalistic division between North and South becomes rather confused; in the second part of the film, an intertitle speaks of white Northern and Southern veterans coming together against African Americans ‘in common defense of their Ayran birthday.” (Stokes 181)
Well, I cannot but agree that the historical information, presented in the movie, is not really reliable. However, I also cannot but mention that it is a story not about the Civil War only. This movie helps us to see what made people go to actions and give their lives for safer future. There were so many circumstances, which had to be taken into consideration, in order to realize that the war was not a simple obligation.
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It was something more that touched so many people. Freedom and independence – these are the two things, which any person appreciates most of all. During the Civil War, black people wanted to find their independence and become free. So much blood, so many tears, and so many lives… Because of such terrible outcomes, the results could not disappoint people, and we and our future generation should be proud of those actions, which were taken during the times of the Civil War and Reconstruction.
Gone with the Wind is regarded to be one of the best epic movies about love, lost, hate, and war. People cannot avoid certain things and cannot influence their development. Wars are the things, which can be caused by several people, and other millions of people will be suffered from them, losing their relatives, lovers, and friends. Beautiful actors, great play, and interesting settings – all this make the movie worthy of attention and admiration.
People should have a chance to know more about the Civil War that was crucially important in the life of every American. Watching the movie is one of the ways to become aware of the historical facts. In fact, the wars have nothing pleasant to share with people, this is why a bit of fiction and attention to other interesting for people details will certainly make watching any historical movie more captivating and easier.
Stokes, Melvyn. D. W. Griffith’s: The Birth of a Nation: A History of “the Most Controversial Motion Picture of all Time. Oxford University press US, 2007.
Young, William, H. The Great Depression in America: A Cultural Encyclopedia. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007.