Entertainment

The Best US Civil War Movies Ever Made 

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Originally by Ranker Community
Updated December 30, 2019 20.2k votes 3k voters 99k views 48 items

List Rules Movies must take place during the US Civil War.

A list of the best films about the US Civil War. The Civil War remains the bloodiest war in American history, resulting in the loss of 620,000 soldiers and many many more civilian casualties. Naturally, the conflict - which still echoes in contemporary US culture and politics - has provided source material for a rich variety of different films, including the iconic Gone With the Wind and numerous other award-winning, undisputed "classics," such as Glory and Dances with Wolves.

Many of these films also have books and classic literature as their source material, including The Red Badge of Courage and Gods and Generals, based on the non-fiction book The Killer Angels.

If you're looking for some good Civil War movies to watch with your friends, or want to learn a little something about American history by watching famous films based on that historical period, this list of the best movies about the Civil War is a great place to start. This list is open, so if your favorite Civil War film has been left off, please add it at the bottom of the page. And don't forget to vote for your favorite Civil War films, so they get to the top of the list.
1
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Robert Duvall, Mira Sorvino, Jeff Daniels

Released: 2003

Directed by: Ronald F. Maxwell

Gods and Generals is a 2003 American film based on the novel Gods and Generals by Jeffrey Shaara. It depicts events that take place prior to those shown in the 1993 film Gettysburg, which was ...more

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#25 of 80 The Most Patriotic Movies of All Time #47 of 304 The Best Military Movies Ever Made

2
Shenandoah is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best US Civil War Movies Ever Made
James Stewart, Katharine Ross, George Kennedy

Released: 1965

Directed by: Andrew V. McLaglen

Shenandoah is a 1965 American film starring James Stewart, Doug McClure, Glenn Corbett, Patrick Wayne, and, in her film debut, Katharine Ross. The picture was directed by Andrew V. McLaglen. The ...more

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#51 of 396 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #19 of 47 The Greatest Western Movies of the 1960s #264 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys

3
The Red Badge of Courage... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best US Civil War Movies Ever Made
Audie Murphy, James Whitmore, Andy Devine

Released: 1951

Directed by: John Huston

The Red Badge of Courage is a 1951 war film made by MGM. Directed by John Huston, it was produced by Gottfried Reinhardt with Dore Schary as executive producer. The screenplay is by John Huston, ...more

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#127 of 379 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #15 of 30 Movies Based On Books You Should Have Read In 7th Grade

4
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North and South

Released: 1985

North and South is the title of three American television miniseries broadcast on the ABC network in 1985, 1986, and 1994.The 1985 first installment, North and South, remains the seventh-highest ...more

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#102 of 125 Movies That Should Never Be Remade #18 of 40 The Best '80s Western Movies

5
Gone with the Wind is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best US Civil War Movies Ever Made
Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Olivia de Havilland

Released: 1939

Directed by: Sam Wood, George Cukor, Victor Fleming

Gone with the Wind is a 1939 American epic historical romance film adapted from Margaret Mitchell's Pulitzer-winning 1936 novel. It was produced by David O. Selznick of Selznick International ...more

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#163 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies The Most Memorable 'Gone with the Wind' Quoteslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

6
Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best US Civil War Movies Ever Made
VisualSubterfuge added Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field

Released: 2012

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Lincoln is a 2012 American epic historical drama film directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Daniel Day-Lewis as United States President Abraham Lincoln and Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln. The ...more

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#158 of 379 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #12 of 82 The Best Movies Based on Non-Fiction Books

7
Dances with Wolves is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best US Civil War Movies Ever Made
Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Charles Rocket

Released: 1990

Directed by: Kevin Costner

Dances with Wolves is a 1990 American epic western film directed, produced by, and starring Kevin Costner. It is a film adaptation of the 1988 book of the same name by Michael Blake and tells ...more

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#247 of 351 The Best Movies Based On Books #18 of 396 The Best Western Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

8
The Horse Soldiers is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best US Civil War Movies Ever Made
John Wayne, William Holden, Althea Gibson

Released: 1959

Directed by: John Ford

The Horse Soldiers is a 1959 film that was directed by John Ford and starred John Wayne, William Holden and Constance Towers. John Lee Mahin and Martin Rackin produced the movie and wrote its ...more

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#53 of 396 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #65 of 162 The Best Western Movies on Amazon Prime #17 of 99 The Best John Wayne Movies of All Time, Ranked

9
The Good, the Bad and th... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best US Civil War Movies Ever Made
Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef

Released: 1966

Directed by: Sergio Leone

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is a 1966 Italian epic Spaghetti Western film directed by Sergio Leone, starring Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and Eli Wallach. The screenplay was written by Age ...more

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#1 of 396 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #174 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #45 of 379 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked

10
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Natalie Portman, Nicole Kidman, Jude Law

Released: 2003

Directed by: Anthony Minghella

Cold Mountain is a 2003 epic drama film written and directed by Anthony Minghella. The film is based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Charles Frazier. It stars Jude Law, Nicole ...more

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#118 of 396 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #410 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

11
Ride with the Devil is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best US Civil War Movies Ever Made
Mark Ruffalo, Tobey Maguire, Jewel

Released: 1999

Directed by: Ang Lee

Ride with the Devil is a 1999 American film directed by Ang Lee. The storyline was conceived from a screenplay written by James Schamus, based on a book entitled Woe to Live On, by author Daniel ...more

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#134 of 396 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #9 of 56 The Best '90s Western Movies

12
The Undefeated is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best US Civil War Movies Ever Made
John Wayne, Merlin Olsen, Rock Hudson

Released: 1969

Directed by: Andrew V. McLaglen

The Undefeated is a 1969 American Western film directed by Andrew V. McLaglen and John Wayne and starring John Wayne and Rock Hudson. The film portrays events surrounding the French Intervention ...more

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#30 of 47 The Greatest Western Movies of the 1960s #35 of 99 The Best John Wayne Movies of All Time, Ranked

13
Major Dundee is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best US Civil War Movies Ever Made
Charlton Heston, Richard Harris, James Coburn

Released: 1965

Directed by: Sam Peckinpah

Major Dundee is a 1965 Western film directed by Sam Peckinpah and starring Charlton Heston, Richard Harris, Jim Hutton, and James Coburn. Written by Harry Julian Fink, the film is about a Union ...more

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#29 of 46 The Best 60s War Movies #13 of 88 The Best Charlton Heston Movies of All Time, Ranked

14
Rio Lobo is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best US Civil War Movies Ever Made
John Wayne, Jennifer O'Neill, Jack Elam

Released: 1970

Directed by: Howard Hawks

Rio Lobo is a 1970 American Western film starring John Wayne. The film was the last film directed by Howard Hawks, from a script by Leigh Brackett. The film was shot in Technicolor with a ...more

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#47 of 396 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #28 of 45 The Best Western Movies of the '70s #25 of 99 The Best John Wayne Movies of All Time, Ranked

15
They Died with Their Boo... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best US Civil War Movies Ever Made
Olivia de Havilland, Errol Flynn, Anthony Quinn

Released: 1941

Directed by: Raoul Walsh

This film is a 1941 American western film directed by Raoul Walsh and starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland. Written by Æneas MacKenzie and Wally Kline, the film is a highly ...more

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#111 of 396 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #13 of 50 The Best 1940s Western Movies

16
The Hunley is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best US Civil War Movies Ever Made
Kaka Kiki added Armand Assante

Released: 1999

Directed by: John Gray

The Hunley is a 1999 television movie directed by John Gray and starring Armand Assante, Donald Sutherland, Alex Jennings, Michael Dolan and Christopher Bauer. The film is based on the true ...more
17
The Andersonville Trial ... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best US Civil War Movies Ever Made
William Shatner, Martin Sheen, Alan Hale

Released: 1970

Directed by: George C. Scott

The Andersonville Trial is a 1970 drama TV movie directed by George C. Scott and written by Saul Levitt.
18
Field of Lost Shoes is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best US Civil War Movies Ever Made
Jim_In_Texas added Werner Daehn

Directed by: Sean McNamara

Field of Lost Shoes is a 2014 American war drama film directed by Sean McNamara and written by Dave Kennedy and Thomas Farrell. The film stars Luke Benward, Lauren Holly, Jason Isaacs, Tom ...more
19
The Great Locomotive Cha... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best US Civil War Movies Ever Made
Fess Parker, Slim Pickens, Harry Carey

Released: 1956

Directed by: Francis D. Lyon

The Great Locomotive Chase is a 1956 Walt Disney Productions CinemaScope adventure film based on the real Great Locomotive Chase that occurred in 1862 during the American Civil War. The film ...more
20
The General is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best US Civil War Movies Ever Made
Boris Karloff, Mike Donlin, Glen Cavender

Released: 1926

Directed by: Buster Keaton, Clyde Bruckman

The General is a 1926 American silent comedy film released by United Artists. Inspired by the Great Locomotive Chase, which happened in 1862, the film stars Buster Keaton who co-directed it with ...more

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#193 of 1,009 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #98 of 232 The Best Black and White Movies Ever Made

21
Ironclads is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best US Civil War Movies Ever Made
Kaka Kiki added Ironclads Virginia Madsen, Reed Diamond, E. G. Marshall

Released: 1991

Directed by: Delbert Mann

Ironclads is a 1991 made-for-television movie produced by Ted Turner's TNT company about the events behind the creation of the CSS Virginia from the remains of the USS Merrimack and the battle ...more
22
The Birth of a Nation is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best US Civil War Movies Ever Made
Valdave added Lillian Gish, John Ford, Raoul Walsh

Released: 1915

Directed by: D. W. Griffith

The Birth of a Nation is a 1915 American silent epic drama film directed by D. W. Griffith and based on the novel and play The Clansman, both by Thomas Dixon, Jr. Griffith co-wrote the ...more

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#468 of 722 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #25 of 39 Great Historical Black Movies Based On True Storieslisted on List of Silent Movies

23
Free State of Jones is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best US Civil War Movies Ever Made
Randal Greenwood added Matthew McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mahershala Ali

Directed by: Gary Ross

Free State of Jones is a 2016 American film inspired by the life of Newton Knight and his armed revolt against the Confederacy in Jones County, Mississippi, throughout the American Civil War. ...more
24
Gettysburg: Three Days o... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best US Civil War Movies Ever Made
rocky 35 added Gettysburg: Three Days of Destiny Michael Riley, Andy Redmond, James Choate

Released: 2004

Directed by: Rob Child

Gettysburg: Three Days of Destiny is a 2004 drama film written and directed by Robert Child.
25
The Conspirator is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best US Civil War Movies Ever Made
George Bielby added Evan Rachel Wood, Alexis Bledel, Kevin Kline

Released: 2010

Directed by: Robert Redford

The Conspirator is a 2010 historical drama film directed by Robert Redford based on an original screenplay by James D. Solomon. It is the debut film of the American Film Company. The film tells ...more

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#170 of 236 The Best Movies Based on True Stories #264 of 320 The Best Political Films Ever Made