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I think Matthew Broderick was a good casting decision. The way I see it, his character is supposed to appear weak and soft. The movie opens with him going down over a scratch in the middle of a battle, faking dead beause he is scared shitless. He even comments upon the fear that his own weakness will affect the performance of his regiment. I think the movie makes the point that the army would not give command of a black regiment to a charismatic or brilliant leader. No John Wayne-type for them black folks. Hell no, give them that weak papas boy... Then, the movie slowly shows how he develops as a commander and gains the respect of his regiment. Think about the contrast (and development) in his character from his first scene in the movie and his last scene in the movie. I think the movie makes a point by using Matthew Broderick in the main lead. Namely "Don't judge a book by its covers"...
Good film, but a little too forcedly melodramatic and sentimental. Especially the score.
Totally agreeing with Zeltaebar here. At first I thought "Hell no, Broderick? Really?", but he was perfect for this role and pretty brilliant at it. Freeman, awesome as always, and Washington, fantastic.
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In 4 official lists
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This movie ranks #31 in AFI's 100 Years...100 Cheers
This movie ranks #75 in 101 War Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #92 in Academy Award - Best Cinematography
This movie ranks #804 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die