Ah, the Eighties. They were a time, weren’t they? We had MTV, big hair, narrow ties, Ronald Reagan and a commie behind every rock. John Milius’ tale of teenage insurgents fighting a communist invasion of the United States is violent, at times goofily operatic and it’s probably a better movie than you’ve heard. That violence earned it the distinction of being the first PG-13-rated movie ever released.
Eighty-seven years after they founded this country with the institution of slavery still intact, the country celebrated the Fourth of July in the bloodiest way possible in any effort to resolve that question. The Turner Network’s film of the decisive Battle of Gettysburg is a rigorously faithful adaption of Michael Shaara’s novel The Killer Angels. Perhaps they were a bit too faithful. This movie occasionally suffers from a little of what I call “The Longest Day Syndrome,” which is the tendency for characters to pontificate on the importance of the events in the film as if they were reading from, well, the pages of Michael Shaara’s The Killer Angels.