Entertainment Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era  

Ranker Film
741 votes 133 voters 2.6k views 24 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
64 12
Glory is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, Matthew Broderick
Glory is a 1989 American drama film directed by Edward Zwick and starring Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes and Morgan Freeman. The screenplay was written by Kevin Jarre, based on ...more
2
50 13
Gettysburg is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
Martin Sheen, Tom Berenger, Sam Elliott
Gettysburg is a 1993 epic film written and directed by Ronald F. Maxwell, adapted from the novel The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara, about the Battle of Gettysburg. The film starred Tom ...more
3
51 17
Dances with Wolves is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
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
47 24
Gone with the Wind is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
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
34 14
Cold Mountain is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
Natalie Portman, Nicole Kidman, Jude Law
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
6
35 15
Gods and Generals is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
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
7
29 14
The Free State of Jones is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
Matthew McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mahershala Ali
8
28 14
Gangs of New York is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
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
9
20 8
The Red Badge of Courage is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
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
10
23 11
Shenandoah is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
James Stewart, Katharine Ross, George Kennedy
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
11
17 9
Ride with the Devil is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
Mark Ruffalo, Tobey Maguire, Jewel
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
12
9 4
North and South is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
ScribbleScrabble added
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
13
11 6
Field of Lost Shoes is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
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
14
9 4
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
Rickster79 added Clint Eastwood, Viggo Mortensen, Mark Strong
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
15
9 5
The Conspirator is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
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
16
14 12
Little Women is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
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
17
12 10
Sommersby is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
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. The story is adapted from the historical account of 16th ...more
18
10 8
The General is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
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
19
6 4
The Blue and The Gray is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
ScribbleScrabble added The Blue and The Gray
20
6 9
Jezebel is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
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
21
6 9
Beloved is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
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
22
4 7
The Journey of August King is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
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.
23
3 7
The Colt is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
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.
24
2 7
Skin Game is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Great Movies Set in the Civil War Era
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