12 Best Civil War Movies

I love to prepare myself for an upcoming trip – apart from reading travel guides, I find it most enjoyable to prepare myself visually and mentally for my destination with films. Or rather, it is often the case that films “prepare” me for a journey years in advance. Like films about the south of the USA, for example. To get you in the mood for the upcoming travel reports, here’s my list of the Top 12 Southern movies plus other series and films worth seeing.

The tragicomedy takes us to a small town in Louisiana, where 6 women meet regularly in a beauty salon and together they master the ups and downs of life with a good portion of humour and cynicism and men become a minor matter. A film that made me laugh and cry at the same time more than once. It may be from the 80s, but it’s still fun! With star cast: Shirley McLaine, Julia Roberts, Sally Field, Dary Hannah, Dolly Parton,…and many more.

Quote from the movie:

“If we don’t get stuck in the mud, we’ll come out stronger than ever.”

11th Sweet Home Alabama

Funny comedy in which Reese Witherspoon, an up-and-coming fashion designer in New York, plays the city’s most eligible bachelor (the son of the mayoress in NY). When he finally asks her to marry him, there is only one problem: on paper, she is still married to her childhood sweetheart…which is why she has to return to her hometown, a provincial town in Alabama, to finally get him to give her a divorce. Which of course isn’t as easy as she thought…with the title song “Sweet Home Alabama” the perfect movie for a girls’ evening 😉

female soldier in a group of soldiers
  1. the jury

One of the most exciting novel adaptations by John Grisham: A black family man (Samuel L. Jackson) shoots the two rapists of his daughter and is himself accused of murder. The defense is taken over by an ambitious young lawyer (Matthew McConaughey), supported by a law student (Sandra Bullock). By taking over the case he makes more than just the Ku Klux Klan his enemy…

  1. the help

Based on the novel “Good Spirits” by Kathryn Stockett. The whole thing takes place shortly before the 1962 civil rights movement: Young Skeeter returns from college to her Southern home in Jackson, Mississippi. While she strives for a career as a journalist, her old girlfriends are now married, have children and plenty of free time. They leave the care of the children and the household to their black maids. When Skeeter realizes how badly her upper-class girlfriends treat their employees and how they want to make sure that the maids are only allowed to use separate toilets, Skeeter reaches the peak of injustice. She decides to interview the black maids and publish her views on work and their employers in a book – which is a dangerous undertaking at a time when strict racial segregation is still deeply rooted in the deep South. … The film describes a piece of American history impressively, but also with a lot of humour – a really great film!

8th Mississippi Burning

According to a true story: in 1964 three civil rights activists disappear in the south. Two FBI agents (Gene Hackman & Willem Dafoe) are sent from Philadelphia to the South to investigate the case. On the spot, however, open racism prevails, blacks are intimidated and the local police authorities are linked to the Ku Klux Klan. Lynch law is the order of the day here. After only a short time, the FBI agents are convinced that the young civil rights activists have been murdered and try with all means and against all resistance to find out who is behind it … It has been a long time since I have seen this film, but it is one of those films that are hard to forget – it is too haunting, authentic and shocking for that. Especially when you realize that it’s not just a real criminal case, but that in the South at that time things actually happened the way they are shown in the film.

7th Walk the Line

Belongs to the music history of the southern states like Elvis Presley: This is about the first 30 years in the life of country and folk legend Johnny Cash, the “Man in Black”: Great movie with great actors and successful vocal interludes!

6th Forrest Gump

“Run Forrest Run!” I don’t think I need to say much about that movie 😉 One of my favorite movies, which is mostly set in the southern states, but also takes us on a trip across the United States. Grandiose, funny, sad – just a movie you could watch over and over again.

  1. the butler

From a young plantation worker in the southern states to a butler in the White House in Washington DC: the film tells the true story of Cecil Gains, who works in the White House from 1952 and is in the personal service of the respective president. The film not only takes us on a foray through the White House and its presidents, but also through the history of the USA and especially the civil rights movement. The touching story gripped me from the very beginning and kept me enthralled until the very last minute!

4 Gone with the wind

Yes, this is THE Southern classic par excellence and one of the greatest love stories of all time: It’s about the tragic love between Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler during the American Civil War. The epic lasts four hours, which is why I only watch the movie once every few years, to be honest 😉 If you want to know how the story about Scarlett and Rhett continues, I can only recommend the sequel “Scarlett” (although the book is much better than the movie).

  1. the notebook – like a single day

Hach ja…Wie ein einziger Tag ist sooo schön (and sad)! We experience how an old man reads a story from a notebook to an old lady suffering from Alzheimer’s in a nursing home. The story is about the love story of Noah and Allie, who meet as teenagers in North Carolina in 1940. From different backgrounds, the two have to struggle with various obstacles on their path together, not least the beginning of the Second World War, which separates them for the time being…

  1. 12 Years a Slave

Definitely one of the best films this year: A drama about the true story of the African-American Solomon Northup, who is kidnapped and enslaved in 1840 as a free and respected citizen and from then on has to work on plantations in Louisiana. With which his 12 years of martyrdom begin…The Oscar-winning film did not let me go for a long time afterwards, so moving, shocking and brutal the film describes one of the darkest chapters of American history. Wet eyes are guaranteed!

  1. torches in the storm

(Trailer from the movie intro) – And now we come to my number 1: Torches in a Storm or North & South as the mini-series is called in the original, is and remains my absolute favorite among all the movies that are set in the southern states. John Jake’s trilogy has all the ingredients for the perfect film: it’s about love, war, intrigue and betrayal. But most of all it’s about the friendship of two families, the Mains from the South and the Hazards from the North, who have to decide which side they’re on in the turmoil of the American Civil War…Then as now, the story grabs me every time, maybe I’m hopelessly nostalgic and romantic, but I still love the series! 🙂

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