Period Dramas-The American Civil War Era 1849-1865

by eliza_gaskell | created - 20 Feb 2011 | updated - 23 Oct 2012 | Public

This is a list of movies or/and mini series set in the American Civil War 1849-1865.

While doing the list for the Period Drama-The Victorian Era, there were numerous movies set in the American Civil War era. Hence the main reason for this list, the next reason is the Victorian Era was becoming larger than anticipated. ***please note some productions are before ,and after the civil war...give or take a few years***

For those who are serious about Period Dramas and deem a movie/mini series worthy to be listed, add your comments.

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1. Queen (1993)

282 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

A plantation owner's son falls in love with a slave named Easter and together they have a Mixed race daughter named Queen. As Queen grows up, she faces the struggle of trying to fit into ... See full summary »

Stars: Ann-Margret, Patricia Clarkson, Tim Daly, Ossie Davis

Votes: 1,289

quiet a departure for Halle Berry. Some parts lag, others parts just don't seem to fit together. And yet Halle's acting is the beginning to flourish, especially when she expresses her love for her first born son.

2. North and South, Book I (1985)

561 min | Drama, History, Romance

Two friends, one northern and one southern, struggle to maintain their friendship as events build towards the American Civil War.

Stars: Kirstie Alley, Georg Stanford Brown, David Carradine, Philip Casnoff

Votes: 8,911

Look at the costumes of the women: wide hooped dresses and curls in their hair, men with cravats and look at the weaponary. History in the the way the third part to this series without Patrick Sawzye is not even worth watching

3. Little Women (1994)

PG | 115 min | Drama, Family, Romance

87 Metascore

The March sisters live and grow in post-Civil War America.

Director: Gillian Armstrong | Stars: Susan Sarandon, Winona Ryder, Kirsten Dunst, Claire Danes

Votes: 44,808 | Gross: $50.08M

this is set after the civil war, though does not appear with all the rosy cheeks, healthy glow that war has affected the March family. Nevertheless the Mrs March and her girls are at home waiting for their father to come home from war

4. True Women (1997 TV Movie)

PG-13 | 183 min | Action, Adventure, Biography

Covering nearly fifty years of mid-19th-century turmoil, from the tumultuous Texas Revolution to the early women's suffrage movement, "True Women" is a gripping tale of endurance, love, and above all, gritty female determination.

Director: Karen Arthur | Stars: Dana Delany, Annabeth Gish, Angelina Jolie, Michael York

Votes: 1,966

Loved Angelina's strong character in the movie, where she plays a southern belle

5. Gone with the Wind (1939)

Passed | 238 min | Drama, History, Romance

97 Metascore

A manipulative woman and a roguish man conduct a turbulent romance during the American Civil War and Reconstruction periods.

Directors: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Sam Wood | Stars: Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Thomas Mitchell, Barbara O'Neil

Votes: 268,772 | Gross: $198.68M

The one and only. The ultimate post, present and after civil war epic told from the point of view of Scarlet O'Hara. Fantastis production despite it's near behind the scene dilemna

6. Sommersby (1993)

PG-13 | 114 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance

A farmer returns home from the Civil War, but his wife begins to suspect that the man is an impostor.

Director: Jon Amiel | Stars: Richard Gere, Jodie Foster, Lanny Flaherty, Wendell Wellman

Votes: 18,197 | Gross: $50.08M

young man comes home to his family after the civil war...but is the man the claims to be? Loosely based on the French book & film film "The Return of Martin Guerre" (1982). Didn't really mind this production.

7. Glory (1989)

R | 122 min | Biography, Drama, History

78 Metascore

Robert Gould Shaw leads the U.S. Civil War's first all-black volunteer company, fighting prejudices from both his own Union Army, and the Confederates.

Director: Edward Zwick | Stars: Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes, Morgan Freeman

Votes: 114,546 | Gross: $26.83M

Seen this movie several time, and never get tired of watching it. The stand out are the cast-Danzel Washington, Mathew Brodrick and Morgan Freeman. A great story based on true events. One of the most vivid scene is where Danzel is being whipped because he stole a pair of boots...why because the bias attitude of army storeman withheld boots to the 54th Regiment

8. Cold Mountain (2003)

R | 154 min | Adventure, Drama, History

73 Metascore

In the waning days of the American Civil War, a wounded soldier embarks on a perilous journey back home to Cold Mountain, North Carolina to reunite with his sweetheart.

Director: Anthony Minghella | Stars: Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Renée Zellweger, Eileen Atkins

Votes: 133,583 | Gross: $95.64M

Pity about the starring roles with Nicole Kidman and Jude Law. Don't get me wrong. I think they are superb actors but for me, I found something was missing. The stand out actors in this film, in my view, is Renée Zellweger and great Brendan Gleeson. Surprised to see Natalie Portman and Cillian Murphy in small roles. ***TRIVIA*** Brendan Gleeson and Cillian Murphy both acted together before in "28 Days Later" (2002)

9. Uncle Tom's Cabin (1987 TV Movie)

110 min | Drama

The life of an aging black slave, Tom, and the people with whom he interacts.

Director: Stan Lathan | Stars: Avery Brooks, Kate Burton, Bruce Dern, Paula Kelly

Votes: 443

10. Dances with Wolves (1990)

PG-13 | 181 min | Adventure, Drama, Western

72 Metascore

Lieutenant John Dunbar, assigned to a remote western Civil War outpost, befriends wolves and Indians, making him an intolerable aberration in the military.

Director: Kevin Costner | Stars: Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene, Rodney A. Grant

Votes: 224,397 | Gross: $184.21M

11. Roots (1977)

TV-14 | 588 min | Biography, Drama, History

A dramatization of author Alex Haley's family line from ancestor Kunta Kinte's enslavement to his descendants' liberation.

Stars: LeVar Burton, Robert Reed, John Amos, Louis Gossett Jr.

Votes: 15,224

the best story of slavery and liberation from the perspective of the men and women who were enslaved.

12. The Birth of a Nation (1915)

Not Rated | 195 min | Drama, History, War

The Stoneman family finds its friendship with the Camerons affected by the Civil War, both fighting in opposite armies. The development of the war in their lives plays through to Lincoln's assassination and the birth of the Ku Klux Klan.

Director: D.W. Griffith | Stars: Lillian Gish, Mae Marsh, Henry B. Walthall, Miriam Cooper

Votes: 20,810 | Gross: $10.00M

13. A Woman Called Moses (1978– )

240 min | Biography, Drama

A film about the life and career of the African American abolitionist and slave escape leader, Harriet Tubman.

Stars: Jason Bernard, Clifford David, Judyann Elder, John Getz

Votes: 204

14. A Southern Yankee (1948)

Not Rated | 90 min | Comedy, History, War

A hapless bellboy in a St. Louis hotel near the end of the Civil War is recruited by the Union secret service to impersonate a notorious Confederate spy.

Director: Edward Sedgwick | Stars: Red Skelton, Brian Donlevy, Arlene Dahl, George Coulouris

Votes: 454

15. Freedom Bound (2009 TV Movie)

G | 58 min | History

Choice, hope, and escape from slavery are highlighted in stories spanning three centuries. Examine the options for slaves willing to risk their lives for freedom. Where could they run? Whom... See full summary »

Director: Abigail Schumann | Stars: David Arehart, Jared Armstead, Jeremy Armstead, Brian Ashlock

16. Raintree County (1957)

Approved | 160 min | Drama, Romance, War

A student falls in love with a Southern belle, but their relationship is complicated by her troubled past and the onset of the Civil War.

Director: Edward Dmytryk | Stars: Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor, Eva Marie Saint, Nigel Patrick

Votes: 3,191

Starring the gorgeous Liz Taylor as the young rich New Orleans girl, Susanna Drake. Basically the story is about a young man John Wickliff Shawnessy, who marries the wrong woman. Instead of marrying his childhood sweetheart Nell Gaither (Eva Marie Saint), he weds Susanna Drake. Worth watching for the strong performances and ofcourse the late Liz Taylor. ****SPOILER***I didn't agree with the ending, where Susanna takes her own life and Nell latches onto the grieving John like a spider. Could of handled the ending a bit better, instead of ending it in 5 minutes.

17. Lincoln (1988)

188 min | Drama, History, War

After arriving in Washington in 1861 after his election, Abraham Lincoln struggles with personal and political problems during his Presidency.

Stars: Sam Waterston, Mary Tyler Moore, Richard Mulligan, Deborah Adair

Votes: 356

18. Tad (1995 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 120 min | Drama, History

Biography on Abraham Lincoln, who lost one of his sons during presidency.

Director: Rob Thompson | Stars: Kris Kristofferson, Jane Curtin, Bug Hall, Jean Louisa Kelly

Votes: 90

19. Gettysburg (1993)

PG | 271 min | Drama, History, War

In 1863, the Northern and Southern forces fight at Gettysburg in the decisive battle of the American Civil War.

Director: Ron Maxwell | Stars: Tom Berenger, Martin Sheen, Stephen Lang, Richard Jordan

Votes: 24,785 | Gross: $10.77M

20. Wicked Spring (2002)

PG-13 | 102 min | Drama, War, Western

During the 1864 battle of the Wilderness, three Union soldiers and three Confederate Soldiers get seperated from their units as twilight engulfs the ravaged battlefield. The men wander ... See full summary »

Director: Kevin R. Hershberger | Stars: Brian Merrick, DJ Perry, Terry Jernigan, Aaron Jackson

Votes: 692

21. Gods and Generals (2003)

PG-13 | 219 min | Biography, Drama, History

30 Metascore

The rise and fall of legendary war hero Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson as he leads the Confederacy to great success against the Union from 1861 to 1863.

Director: Ron Maxwell | Stars: Stephen Lang, Robert Duvall, Jeff Daniels, Donzaleigh Abernathy

Votes: 14,670 | Gross: $12.87M

22. Ironclads (1991 TV Movie)

Unrated | 94 min | War

A naval battle between two large ships: the "Monitor" and the "Merrimack".

Director: Delbert Mann | Stars: Virginia Madsen, Alex Hyde-White, Reed Diamond, Philip Casnoff

Votes: 222

23. The Blue and the Gray (1982)

381 min | Drama, History, War

America just before and during the Civil War, as seen through the eyes of an artist correspondent.

Stars: Stacy Keach, John Hammond, Julia Duffy, Robin Gammell

Votes: 1,371

24. Andersonville (1996)

167 min | Drama, History, War

The story of the most notorious Confederate prisoner of war camp in the American Civil War.

Stars: Jarrod Emick, Frederic Forrest, Ted Marcoux, Carmen Argenziano

Votes: 1,710

25. Louisiana (1984 TV Movie)

186 min | Drama, History, Romance

Virginia Tregan returns to her home in the U.S. Deep South from a sojourn in Paris only to discover that her family plantation and its holdings have been lost. She determines to recoup her ... See full summary »

Directors: Philippe de Broca, Jacques Demy, Etienne Périer | Stars: Margot Kidder, Ian Charleson, Andréa Ferréol, Lloyd Bochner

Votes: 93

26. The Horse Soldiers (1959)

Approved | 120 min | Adventure, Romance, War

In 1863, a Union outfit is sent behind Confederate lines in Mississippi to destroy enemy railroads but a captive southern belle and the unit's doctor cause frictions within ranks.

Director: John Ford | Stars: John Wayne, William Holden, Constance Towers, Judson Pratt

Votes: 8,591

27. The Hunley (1999 TV Movie)

TV-14 | 94 min | Action, Drama, History

During the siege of Charleston of 1864, Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley becomes the first submersible to sink an enemy warship in wartime.

Director: John Gray | Stars: Armand Assante, Donald Sutherland, Alex Jennings, Chris Bauer

Votes: 1,103

28. The Day Lincoln Was Shot (1998 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 95 min | Biography, Drama, History

April 14, 1865. As four year of Civil War draw to a close, our country again faces unforgettable tragedy: the assassination of the President. Starring Lance Henriksen as the Great ... See full summary »

Director: John Gray | Stars: Rob Morrow, Lance Henriksen, Donna Murphy, Jean Louisa Kelly

Votes: 327

29. Journey to Shiloh (1968)

Approved | 101 min | Drama, War, Western

At the beginning of the Civil War, seven friends embark on a cross-country journey in order to join the Confederate army.

Director: William Hale | Stars: James Caan, Michael Sarrazin, Brenda Scott, Don Stroud

Votes: 752

30. The Ordeal of Dr. Mudd (1980 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 145 min | Biography, Drama, History

Country doctor Samuel Mudd is unfairly punished by the U.S. Government after he unwisely shelters a wounded John Wilkes Booth during the night after Abraham Lincoln's assassination.

Director: Paul Wendkos | Stars: Dennis Weaver, Susan Sullivan, Richard Dysart, Michael McGuire

Votes: 134

31. Amistad (1997)

R | 155 min | Drama, History

63 Metascore

In 1839, the revolt of Mende captives aboard a Spanish owned ship causes a major controversy in the United States when the ship is captured off the coast of Long Island. The courts must decide whether the Mende are slaves or legally free.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Djimon Hounsou, Matthew McConaughey, Anthony Hopkins, Morgan Freeman

Votes: 66,964 | Gross: $44.18M

not bad story, althought Matthew McConaughey seemed miscasted. Brilliant acting by Djimon Hounsou especially when he speaking for the first time in the court room

32. Ascension Day (2007 Video)

Drama, History

A drama focused on Nat Turner and the 1831 slave rebellion in Virginia.

Director: Akosua Busia | Stars: John Amos, Michael Bear, Paul Benjamin, Michael Bretten

Votes: 52

33. American Playhouse (1981– )
Episode: Solomon Northup's Odyssey (1984)

Not Rated | 115 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

This is based on a true story. Solomon Northrop is a black man in the mid 19th century before slavery was abolished. He's a born freeman who works as a carpenter and is also a part time ... See full summary »

Director: Gordon Parks | Stars: Avery Brooks, Rhetta Greene, Mason Adams, Ken Broadhurst

Votes: 147

34. How the West Was Won (1962)

G | 164 min | Western

56 Metascore

A family saga covering several decades of Westward expansion in the nineteenth century - including the Gold Rush, the Civil War, and the building of the railroads.

Directors: John Ford, Henry Hathaway, George Marshall, Richard Thorpe | Stars: James Stewart, John Wayne, Gregory Peck, Henry Fonda

Votes: 17,197 | Gross: $46.50M

35. The General (1926)

Passed | 67 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

When Union spies steal an engineer's beloved locomotive, he pursues it single-handedly and straight through enemy lines.

Directors: Clyde Bruckman, Buster Keaton | Stars: Buster Keaton, Marion Mack, Glen Cavender, Jim Farley

Votes: 73,366

36. In the Midst of Life (1963)

95 min | Drama, War

This Civil War anthology adapts three Ambrose Bierce stories "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," "Chickamauga" and "The Mockingbird."

Director: Robert Enrico | Stars: Roger Jacquet, Anne Cornaly, Stéphane Fey, Pierre Boffety

Votes: 84

37. Jezebel (1938)

Approved | 104 min | Drama, Romance

In 1850s Louisiana, a free-spirited Southern belle loses her fiancé due to her stubborn vanity and pride, and vows to win him back.

Director: William Wyler | Stars: Bette Davis, Henry Fonda, George Brent, Margaret Lindsay

Votes: 10,919

38. Friendly Persuasion (1975 TV Movie)

100 min | Drama

During the Civil War, a Quaker couple risks their lives by helping runaway slaves.

Director: Joseph Sargent | Stars: Richard Kiley, Shirley Knight, Clifton James, Michael O'Keefe

Votes: 21

39. Shenandoah (1965)

Approved | 105 min | Drama, War, Western

During the Civil War, a Virginia farmer and his family vow to remain neutral, but one of the sons is captured by Union soldiers, sending the farmer to his rescue.

Director: Andrew V. McLaglen | Stars: James Stewart, Doug McClure, Glenn Corbett, Patrick Wayne

Votes: 7,375

40. The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)

PG | 135 min | Western

69 Metascore

Missouri farmer Josey Wales (Clint Eastwood) joins a Confederate guerrilla unit and winds up on the run from the Union soldiers who murdered his family.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, Chief Dan George, Bill McKinney

Votes: 61,131 | Gross: $31.80M

I have tried to limit westerns in this list

41. Ride with the Devil (I) (1999)

R | 138 min | Drama, Romance, War

69 Metascore

During the American Civil War, two friends join the Bushwhackers, a militant group loyal to the Confederacy.

Director: Ang Lee | Stars: Tobey Maguire, Skeet Ulrich, Jewel Kilcher, Jeremy W. Auman

Votes: 12,361 | Gross: $0.63M

Not a bad movie, with Toby Mcguire (Jake Roedel) Skeet Ulrich and singer Jewel. Humours when folks thought Jewel's baby was Toby's but in actual fact it's Skeet's...sorry forget the character names in this movie

42. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

R | 178 min | Western

90 Metascore

A bounty hunting scam joins two men in an uneasy alliance against a third in a race to find a fortune in gold buried in a remote cemetery.

Director: Sergio Leone | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef, Aldo Giuffrè

Votes: 637,890 | Gross: $6.10M

1966 Italian epic spaghetti western film directed by Sergio Leone, with Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef. Some people may state the depliction of the Civil War was "b*llsh*t" in this film, I found it to be another man's point of view, which can be refreshing. I thoroughly enjoyed the blowing up of the bridge. And you just can't go past this film without mentioning the music by Ennio Morricone, marriage made in heaven

43. Drums in the Deep South (1951)

Passed | 87 min | Drama, History, Romance

Two old friends find themselves on opposite sides during the Civil War in a desperate battle atop an impregnable mountain.

Director: William Cameron Menzies | Stars: James Craig, Barbara Payton, Guy Madison, Barton MacLane

Votes: 276

44. Buck and the Preacher (1972)

PG | 102 min | Adventure, Drama, Western

A wagon master and a con-man preacher help freed slaves dogged by cheap-labor agents out West.

Directors: Sidney Poitier, Joseph Sargent | Stars: Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, Ruby Dee, Cameron Mitchell

Votes: 1,322

45. Mandingo (1975)

R | 127 min | Drama, History, Romance

A slave owner in the 1840s trains one of his slaves to be a bare-knuckle fighter.

Director: Richard Fleischer | Stars: James Mason, Susan George, Perry King, Richard Ward

Votes: 3,102

46. Freedom Road (1979 TV Movie)

186 min | Drama

Muhammad Ali, in a rare acting role, plays Gideon Jackson, an ex-slave in 1870's Virginia who gets elected to the U.S. Senate in Washington D.C. and battles other former slaves and white ... See full summary »

Director: Ján Kadár | Stars: Muhammad Ali, Kris Kristofferson, Ron O'Neal, Edward Herrmann

Votes: 132

47. Nightjohn (1996 TV Movie)

PG-13 | 92 min | Drama

Sarny, a 12-year-old slave girl in the ante-bellum South, faces a relatively hopeless life. Her chief duties at the plantation of Clel Waller are serving at table, spitting tobacco juice on... See full summary »

Director: Charles Burnett | Stars: Beau Bridges, Carl Lumbly, Bill Cobbs, Kathleen York

Votes: 324

48. Beloved (1998)

R | 172 min | Drama, History, Horror

57 Metascore

Based on the book by Toni Morrison, in which a slave is visited by the spirit of a mysterious young woman

Director: Jonathan Demme | Stars: Oprah Winfrey, Danny Glover, Yada Beener, Emil Pinnock

Votes: 6,768 | Gross: $22.85M

odd ball of a film produced and starring by Oprah Winfrey. Just proves not all Oprah touchs turns to gold

49. Race to Freedom: The Underground Railroad (1994 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 91 min | Drama, History