civil war Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era  

Ranker Film
285 votes 65 voters 1.3k views 21 items

List Rules Vote up the best period films set during the American Civil War that aren't necessarily about battle or even slavery.

The American Civil War was the bloodiest conflict in the history of the United States, as brothers fought each other in defense of their beliefs. The top Civil War period movies feature the human dramas that surrounded this divisive period in history. This is a list of the best movies set in the Civil War era including everything from The General to Little Women to Cold Mountain.

What films will you find on this list of movies set during the Civil War? In Dances with Wolves, Kevin Costner plays a Union soldier who becomes fascinated with the culture of Native Americans living on the frontier. This 1990 blockbuster took home seven trophies at the Academy Awards, including the award for Best Picture. Glory and Cold Mountain are both highly acclaimed Civil War period films. And then, of course, there's Gone with the Wind - this epic romance is set in the war-torn South.

Which movie set in the Civil War is the best? Give your favorites a thumbs up and please add any great films that are missing.

list ordered by

1
24 6
Glory is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
Glory Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, Matthew Broderick Glory is a 1989 American drama war film directed by Edward Zwick and starring Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes and Morgan Freeman. The screenplay was written by Kevin Jarre, ...more

2
23 6
Gettysburg is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
Gettysburg Martin Sheen, Tom Berenger, Sam Elliott Gettysburg is a 1993 epic war film written and directed by Ronald F. Maxwell, adapted from the novel The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara, about the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil ...more

3
24 7
Dances with Wolves is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
Dances with Wolves Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Charles Rocket 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

4
25 8
Gone with the Wind is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
Gone with the Wind Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Olivia de Havilland 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

5
19 5
Gods and Generals is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
Gods and Generals Robert Duvall, Mira Sorvino, Jeff Daniels 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

6
16 4
Cold Mountain is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
Cold Mountain Natalie Portman, Nicole Kidman, Jude Law Cold Mountain is a 2003 epic war 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

7
16 4
The Free State of Jones is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
The Free State of Jones Matthew McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mahershala Ali

8
10 2
Ride with the Devil is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
Ride with the Devil Mark Ruffalo, Tobey Maguire, Jewel Ride with the Devil is a 1999 American Civil War 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 ...more

9
12 4
Shenandoah is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
Shenandoah James Stewart, Katharine Ross, George Kennedy Shenandoah is a 1965 American Civil War film starring James Stewart, Doug McClure, Glenn Corbett, Patrick Wayne, and, in her film debut, Katharine Ross. The picture was directed by Andrew V. ...more

10
10 4
Gangs of New York is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
Gangs of New York Cameron Diaz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Liam Neeson Gangs of New York is a 2002 American fictionalized historical drama film set in the mid-19th century in the Five Points district of Lower Manhattan in 1863. The film was directed by Martin ...more

11
7 2
Field of Lost Shoes is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
Field of Lost Shoes Werner Daehn 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

12
7 3
Little Women is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
Little Women Kirsten Dunst, Christian Bale, Claire Danes Little Women is a 1994 American drama film directed by Gillian Armstrong. The screenplay by Robin Swicord is based on the Louisa May Alcott novel of the same name. It is the fifth feature film ...more

The Best War Movies Ever

13
6 2
Sommersby is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
Sommersby Jodie Foster, Richard Gere, James Earl Jones Sommersby is a 1993 romantic drama film directed by Jon Amiel and starring Richard Gere, Jodie Foster, Bill Pullman and James Earl Jones. Set in the Reconstruction period following the U.S. ...more

14
6 2
The Red Badge of Courage is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
The Red Badge of Courage Audie Murphy, James Whitmore, Andy Devine 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

15
4 2
Jezebel is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
Jezebel Bette Davis, Henry Fonda, Margaret Lindsay Jezebel is a 1938 American romantic drama film released and directed by William Wyler. It stars Bette Davis and Henry Fonda, supported by George Brent, Margaret Lindsay, Donald Crisp, Richard ...more

16
3 1
The General is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
The General Boris Karloff, Mike Donlin, Glen Cavender 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

17
3 2
The Journey of August King is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
The Journey of August King Thandie Newton, Maya Angelou, Sam Waterston The Journey of August King is a 1996 American drama film directed by John Duigan. It stars Jason Patric and Thandie Newton.

18
1 1
Beloved is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
Beloved Oprah Winfrey, Thandie Newton, Danny Glover Beloved is a 1998 American horror-drama film based on Toni Morrison's 1987 novel of the same name, directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Oprah Winfrey, Danny Glover, and Thandie Newton. The ...more

19
0 0
The Conspirator is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
The Conspirator Evan Rachel Wood, Alexis Bledel, Kevin Kline 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

20
1 2
The Colt is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
The Colt Steve Martin, Ryan Merriman, Steve Bacic The Colt is a 2005 television movie made for Hallmark Channel. The film is set during the American Civil War, and is based on the short story by Nobel Prize winner Mikhail Sholokhov.

21
0 1
Skin Game is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
Skin Game James Garner, Ed Asner, Louis Gossett Skin Game is a 1971 American independent comedy western starring James Garner and Louis Gossett, Jr. and directed by Paul Bogart and Gordon Douglas, The supporting cast features Susan Clark, ...more