Glory (Blu-ray) (1989)

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Released 4-May-2016

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category War Audio Commentary-Edward Zwick (Director)
Featurette-The True Story of Glory Continues (45:18)
Featurette-Original Theatrical Making-of Featurette (7:36)
Featurette-The Voices of Glory (11:18)
Deleted Scenes-2
Featurette-Virtual Civil War Battlefield
More…-BD Live
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1989
Running Time 122:14
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Edward Zwick

Starring Matthew Broderick
Denzel Washington
Cary Elwes
Morgan Freeman
Andre Braugher
Jihmi Kennedy
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music James Horner

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
French Dolby TrueHD 5.1
German Dolby TrueHD 5.1
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French Audio Commentary
German Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
English Audio Commentary
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Captain Robert Gould Shaw (Matthew Broderick), son of a wealthy and influential Boston abolitionist family, is wounded during the Battle of Antietam in 1862. On his return home he is made the colonel of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, the first all-black regiment in the Union Army that is created after President Lincoln’s emancipation of the slaves. There is opposition to the idea of an all-negro regiment, many believing that it will never be allowed into battle. Indeed, Shaw has to fight to get his regiment weapons, boots and uniforms, but even when sent towards the war zone the 54th are only used for menial tasks, such as labouring, and they are offered only a labourer’s pay, not the pay soldiers are entitled to. Under pressure from Shaw, the army general finally allows the 54th into action, and they acquit themselves well. But they are still looked down upon, so Shaw volunteers the regiment to lead the attack on Fort Wagner, an attack that will leave half the regiment as causalities but which will finally prove the worth of coloured troops and open up the recruitment of others to fight for the Union.

     Glory is based on true events and it is everything a historical epic should be: an intelligent script, interesting characters, great acting, a fabulous score, intense action scenes and social commentary. The director is Edward Zwick and Glory was his first epic feature film although he has gone on to make other impressive epic films including Legends of the Fall (1994) and The Last Samurai (2003). In Glory he displays a sure hand in the battle sequences which are intense and exciting but the film works as a whole because of the wonderful cast. Other than the young and idealistic Shaw, played wonderfully by Matthew Broderick in one of his best performances, and his friend and second in command Major Cabot Forbes (Cary Elwes), the story of Glory is told through the eyes of four very different black soldiers who share a tent; John Rawlins (Morgan Freeman), an older man, Thomas Searles (Andre Braugher), the bookish intelligent free man from Boston, Jupiter Sharts (Jihmi Kennedy), an uneducated southern ex-field hand, and the rebellious runaway slave Trip (Denzel Washington). Washington won a best supporting actor Oscar for this role and it is well deserved for he is pitch-perfect, giving an incredible depth to a character who could have come across in lesser hands as only angry and surly. If one scene justified the Oscar it was the one where Washington is being whipped, the camera lingering on his face with its mixture of bravado and humiliation until a tear rolls down. This is magic filmmaking, but it is not the only scene in the film that can bring a tear to your face as well

     Glory won two other Oscars, one for sound design and one for cinematography, DP Freddie Fields’ second Oscar having won previously for Sons and Lovers (1960). The images of the union camps, of soldiers manoeuvring in line in the fields, of the smoke and destruction of battle and of the final, climactic charge are beautifully rendered and linger in the memory. The other memorable aspect of the film is the epic score by James Horner that perfectly complements the moods of the film. Horner has a massive 158 credits on the IMDb, and won two Oscars for Titanic (1997), but he is clearly at home with historical epics also having scored, for example, Braveheart (1995) and Troy (2004). It would be impossible to imagine Glory without Horner’s score, so closely are the visuals and music integrated.

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Transfer Quality


     Glory is presented in the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     This is quite a soft and grainy picture, especially in wide shots, but I suspect that this is the source material, not the HD authoring. Close ups are, however, clear and detailed, the colours subdued but natural. Blacks are fine and shadow detail very good. Skin tones are natural, brightness and contrast consistent.

     There are some minor marks but otherwise I did not notice any artefacts.

     Subtitles are offered in a range of European languages, plus Arabic. There is also English for the vision impaired, plus subtitles in French, German, English and Dutch for the audio commentary.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     Feature audio options are English, French and German, all Dolby True-HD 5.1, plus the audio commentary, Dolby Digital 2.0.

     As notes above, the film won an Oscar for sound design. It is not as aggressive as more recent film mixes but the dialogue is clear and the sound stage comes to life during the battle sequences with gunshots, yells, cannons and explosions reverberating around the room. The sub-woofer added depth to explosions and cannons, as well as the music.

     The score by James Horner is epic and majestic, a wonderful support for the visuals.

     There are no lip synchronisation issues.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Director’s Commentary

     Edward Zwick is not the most fluid speaker but he is passionate about the film and talks about the reenactors, the production design, using rain, smoke and mist, the low budget, the music, the cast, things he would have done differently, errors and reshoots. Certainly worth a listen.

Virtual Civil War Battlefield

     Using the mouse, click on text screens to get information about various Civil War battles including the commanding generals, numbers of soldiers, causalities and result. Some also have a video explanation by a professor of history.

The Voices of Glory (11:18)

     Consists of film footage, black and white photographs, comments by historian James O. Horton and readings from letters sent by soldiers of the 54th Massachusetts about the prejudice they faced and the pay dispute.

The True Story of Glory Continues (45:18)

     Made in 1991 and narrated by Morgan Freeman this is an excellent piece, a history of the 54th Massachusetts from formation to disbanding, including their war campaign after the events of Fort Wagner, the pay issue, their legacy and the current reenactors; it uses black and white photographs, film footage, paintings and sketches.

Original Theatrical Making-of Featurette (7:36)

     Made in 1989 this is an old style extended promotion piece with historical background, film and behind the scenes footage and brief comments by the director, 4 main cast members, two producers and the stunt coordinator.

Deleted Scenes

    Two deleted scenes with an optional commentary by the director. He explains where the scenes would have fitted into the film and gives the reasons they were deleted. One scene he likes but he is quite candid, saying one of the scenes was his worst work in the film! The scenes are:

BD Live

     Access other content via the internet.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The US Region A Blu-ray of Glory is the same as ours except for some dub and subtitle options. The Region B UK release is identical to ours, right down to the disc menus.


     Glory is a wonderful film, still moving, entertaining and very relevant today with its depiction of prejudice and heroism. One of the very best Civil War films, a tribute to all involved.

     The video is good, the audio impressive. The extras are genuine and impressive. The film has been released previously on DVD and reviewed on this site here. Most of the extras are repeated from the previous DVD release although we miss out on the Isolated Music Score although the Virtual Civil War Battlefield is new.

     Any fan of the film or war epics will welcome the arrival of this fabulous film in a good Blu-ray package.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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