The American Civil War was waged from 1861 to 1865, pitting North against South in one of history's bloodiest conflicts. The Civil War, or the War Between the States, as it has also been called, lasted four years, three weeks and six days, resulting in a frightful 1,030,000 casualties and forever changing history.
Civil War Movie Posters And Memorabilia
War has always been a fertile subject for Hollywood, and the American Civil War is no exception. Here are ten top Civil War movies and the collectible memorabilia they generated.
1. "Gone with the Wind" (1939). The mega blockbuster of Civil War films, "Gone with the Wind" is based on the sweeping 1936 historical novel by Margaret Mitchell. Set in the South, the David O. Selznick production was budgeted at a then-staggering $3.9 million and features Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Thomas Mitchell, Evelyn Keyes and Olivia de Havilland. One of the stunning achievements of the film was the simulated burning of Atlanta, accomplished via a $25,000 controlled inferno staged at MGM's backlot in Culver City, Calif., which consumed unwanted sets from "King Kong" (1933) and "The Garden of Allah" (1936). "Gone with the Wind" took home nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (Victor Fleming) and Best Actress (Vivien Leigh). "Gone with the Wind" (or simply GWTW) remains a huge favorite with collectors. A one-sheet poster style DP (27-by-41-inches), illustrated by Armando Seguso and depicting the Atlanta Bazaar scene, sold at auction for $20,000 in matted/framed condition. Other GWTW movie memorabilia and their winning auction bids include a signed David O. Selznick hardcover presentation script to costumer Walter Plunkett ($22,500), a big three-sheet movie poster (41-by-78-inches) in restored fine/very fine condition ($16,730) and an Atlanta National Bank prop check made for the movie ($8,125).
2. "Shenandoah" (1965). Andrew V. McLaglen directed this sentimental film in which the Civil War violently intrudes on the lives of a neutral Virginia farmer and his family. James Stewart heads the cast as crusty widower Charlie Anderson, with Doug McClure, Glenn Corbett, Patrick Wayne, Rosemary Forsyth, Phillip Alford and Katharine Ross in support. A standard one-sheet poster (27-by-41-inches) in fine condition sold at auction for $131.45, while a complete eight-card lobby set in fine/very fine condition brought a top bid of $103.97.
3. "Raintree County" (1957). Made for an estimated $5 million, "Raintree County" was filmed on location in Kentucky, Indiana, Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee, with MGM's backlot #3 in Culver City, Calif., serving as the fictional town of Freehaven in Raintree County, Ind. An Indiana schoolteacher (Montgomery Clift) marries Southern belle Susanna Drake (Elizabeth Taylor), joins the Union Army and searches for his missing wife and son amidst the chaos of the vanquished South. A 22-page pressbook, featuring the movie's entire media campaign, including sample poster and lobby card images, brought a top bid of $60.95 in very fine condition, while a complete set of eight theater lobby cards in fine condition sold for $89.63.
4. "Friendly Persuasion" (1956). Gary Cooper and Dorothy McGuire head the cast of this $3 million film in which a Quaker family's pacifism is sorely tested when Morgan's Raiders threaten their homestead in southern Indiana. Pat Boone scored a No. 5 hit on the pop charts with the movie's theme song "Friendly Persuasion (Thee I Love)." An insert poster (14-by-36-inches) in folded very fine condition sold at auction for $62. A two-page amendment movie contract signed by Gary Cooper brought a top bid of $310.70.
5. "Glory" (1989). Matthew Broderick stars as Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, the white commander of the all-African-American 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment during the Civil War. The bloody highlight of the picture is the famous 1863 battle at James Island, S.C., which was expertly filmed at Rose Dhu Island, Ga. "Glory" won three Academy Awards including Best Supporting Actor (Denzel Washington as Private Tripp), Best Cinematography and Best Sound. A one-sheet advance poster (27-by-40-inches) in rolled very fine condition realized a top bid of $48, while an eight-card lobby set in near mint/mint condition sold for $54.
6. "Journey to Shiloh" (1968). Seven young cowboys (James Caan, Michael Sarrazin, Don Stroud, Paul Petersen, Michael Burns, Jan-Michael Vincent, Harrison Ford) travel cross-country to enlist in the Confederate Army at the onset of the Civil War. Their search for glory soon turns into disillusionment, as they experience the horrors of history's first industrial war. Memorabilia from "Journey to Shiloh" is still inexpensive, with a standard one-sheet poster (27-by-41-inches) in folded very fine condition bringing a reasonable $15 at auction.
7. "The Red Badge of Courage" (1951). Stephen Crane's classic 1895 novel was first brought to the silver screen in 1951. Real-life World War II hero Audie Murphy stars as Henry Fleming, a young Union soldier who initially doubts his courage amidst the horror and carnage of his first Civil War battle. An insert poster (14-by-36-inches) in folded very good/fine condition sold at auction for $97.99. A complete eight-card lobby set in fine condition brought a top bid of $84.
8. "Gettysburg" (1993). Based on the 1974 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara, "Gettysburg" was a $25 million motion picture extravaganza re-creating the climactic July 1, 2, 3, 1863, Civil War battle in Adams County, Pa. Tom Berenger, Martin Sheen, Stephen Lang, Jeff Daniels and Richard Jordan head the cast, with an army of Civil War reenactors expertly staging the realistic battle scenes. A standard one-sheet poster (27-by-40-inches) in rolled very fine condition sold at auction for $74.
9. "Cold Mountain" (2003). Based on the 1997 best-selling novel by Charles Frazier, "Cold Mountain" stars Jude Law as W.P. Inman, a wounded Confederate Army deserter in the waning days of the Civil War who leaves his hospital bed and embarks on a perilous journey home to Cold Mountain, North Carolina, to reunite with his lost love, Ada Monroe (Nicole Kidman). "Cold Mountain" captured seven Academy Award nominations, with Renee Zellweger as Ruby Thewes bringing home the lone Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. A standard one-sheet double-sided poster (27-by-40-inches) in rolled very fine condition sold at auction for a reasonable $10.
10. "Dark Command" (1940). The American Civil War plays out in Kansas in this $1 million cinematic effort directed by the respected Raoul Walsh. Big John Wayne plays rugged Texan Bob Seton, who later battles Confederate guerilla leader William Cantrell (Walter Pidgeon), a character loosely based on the real-life William Quantrill and his band of marauders. "Dark Command" is a big favorite with collectors, mainly due to the towering presence of John Wayne. An insert poster (14-by-36-inches) in folded very good/fine condition brought $310.70 at auction, while an eight-card lobby set in fine/very fine condition sold for $657.25.
Auction results and photos courtesy of Heritage Auctions, Dallas, Texas.