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The Best Gettysburg Movie Quotes

Updated February 5, 2019 200 votes 35 voters 1.1k views14 items

The best Gettysburg quotes make you realize how great the movie really is, even if you haven't seen it in a while. Let's rank the greatest quotes from Gettysburg, with the help of your votes. Starring Tom Berenger and Jeff Daniels, Gettysburg was directed by Ronald F. Maxwell and released in 1993.

What is your favorite Gettysburg quote? One memorable line was when General Robert E. Lee says, "The matter is concluded. Good night, General."Another great line from Gettysburg is, "When this is over, I do look forward to seeing you on the stage," spoken by Lt. Gen. James Longstreet.

Vote up your top Gettysburg quotes, regardless of what character they come from.

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    And That's Why

    Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: Tell me something, Buster. What do you think of Negroes?
    Pvt. Buster Kilrain: Well, if you mean the race, I don't really know. This is not a thing to be ashamed of. The thing is, you cannot judge a race. Any man who judges by the group is a pea-wit. You take men one at a time.
    Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: To me, there was never any difference.
    Pvt. Buster Kilrain: None at all?
    Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: None at all. Of course, I haven't known that many freed men, but those I knew in Bangor, Portland, you look in the eye, there was a man. There was a "divine spark," as my mother used to call it. That is all there is to it. Races are men. "What a piece of work is man. How infinite in faculties, in form and moving. How express and admirable. In action, how like an angel."
    Pvt. Buster Kilrain: Well, if he's an angel, all right then. But he damn well must be a killer angel. Colonel, darling, you're a lovely man. I see a great vast difference between us, yet I admire you, lad. You're an idealist, praise be. The truth is, Colonel, there is no "divine spark." There's many a man alive no more of value than a dead dog. Believe me. When you've seen them hang each other the way I have back in the Old Country. Equality? What I'm fighting for is the right to prove I'm a better man than many of them. Where have you seen this "divine spark" in operation, Colonel? Where have you noted this magnificent equality? No two things on earth are equal or have an equal chance. Not a leaf, not a tree. There's many a man worse than me, and some better, but I don't think race or country matters a damn. What matters, Colonel, is justice. Which is why I'm here. I'll be treated as I deserve. Not as my father deserved. I'm Kilrain, and I damn all gentlemen. There is only one aristocracy, and that is right here. And that's why we've got to win this war.

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    • 2

      These Maine Fellows

      Pvt. Buster Kilrain: Colonel? Colonel, darlin'. Rise up, me bucko. Oh, I'm sorry, darlin', but we've got a bit of a problem here, Colonel, would ye like to hear about it? Would ye wake up, sir? We got a whole company comin', sir. This way. I'll give ye time to wake up, but we've got quite a problem. Altogether, 120 men are comin'. We're to be havin' them as guests.
      Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: What?
      Pvt. Buster Kilrain: Yeah. Should be here any minute.
      Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: Who?
      Pvt. Buster Kilrain: Mutineers. Mutineers, Colonel, me lad. 120 men from the old 2nd Maine which has been disbanded.
      Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: 120 mutineers?
      Pvt. Buster Kilrain: Yes, sir. Ye see, what happened was the enlistment papers on the old 2nd Maine run out. So they were sent home. All except these 120 fellows who'd foolishly signed 3-year papers. 3 years, that is. So these poor fellows, they got one more year to serve, only, you see, they thought they was signin' to fight only with the 2nd Maine and the 2nd Maine only. So, they, uh, quit. They resigned, ye see. 120 men! Colonel? Are ye all right?
      Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: Yeah.
      Pvt. Buster Kilrain: Well, the point is, sir, these Maine fellows; they won't fight no more. And nobody can send them home and nobody knows what to do with them. Til they thought of us. Being as we are the only other Maine regiment in the V Corps. So they've been assigned to us. Yes, sir. I've a message here from the new commanding general. George Meade, sir, that's right! Our very own general of our very own corps has been promoted to command of the whole army. The latest, if ye keep track of them as they go by.


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      • 3

        Fond Of That Man

        Lt. Thomas Chamberlain: Lawrence. I just got back from the hospital. Godawful mess. They got no room. They got no shade, they got men lyin' everywhere! They're cuttin' off arms and legs right out there on front of everybody. They oughta not do that in public, Lawrence. Men oughta have some privacy at a time like that.
        Col Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: You see Kilrain?
        Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: Well, how is he?
        Lt. Thomas Chamberlain:  Well...Lawrence... he died. Yeah... He died this morning, 'fore I got there. A couple o' the fellows, they, they was with 'im. He said to tell you goodbye... And that he was sorry.
        Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: Yeah.
        Lt. Thomas Chamberlain: I tell you, Lawrence... I sure was fond of that man.
        Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: Yeah.


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          Good Night, General

          Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart: You wish to see me, sir?
          General Robert E. Lee: It is the opinion of some... excellent officers that you have let us all down.
          Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart: General Lee, sir, if you will please tell me who these gentlemen are...
          General Robert E. Lee:  There will be none of that. There is no time.
          Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart: Sir, I only ask that I be allowed to defend my...
          General Robert E. Lee: There is no time. General Stuart... your mission was to free this army from the enemy cavalry and report any movement by the enemy's main body. That mission was not fulfilled. You left here with no word of your movement, or movement of the enemy, for several days. Meanwhile, we were engaged here and drawn into battle without adequate knowledge of the enemy's strength or position, without knowledge of the ground. So it is only by God's grace that we did not meet disaster here.
          Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart: General Lee, there were reasons...
          General Robert E. Lee: Perhaps you misunderstood my orders? Perhaps I did not make myself clear. Well, sir... this must be made very clear. You, sir, with your cavalry, are the eyes of this army. Without your cavalry, we are made blind. That has already happened once. It must never, never happen again.
          Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart: Sir... since I no longer hold the General's...
          General Robert E. Lee:  I have told you, there is no time for that! There is no time! There is another fight comin' tomorrow, and we need you. We need every man, God knows. You must take what I have told you, and learn from it, as a man does. There has been a mistake. It will not happen again; I know your quality. You are one of the finest cavalry officers I have ever known, and your service to this army has been invaluable. Now... let us speak no more of this. The matter is concluded. Good night, General.

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