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"Glory": Unbridled Commitment

Glory dramatizes the true story of the first black regiment to fight for the North during the Civil War. The 54th Regiment from Massachusetts was a rag-tag company of inexperienced soldiers who volunteered to fight the oppression of their African-American kin.

The soldiers were not valued by their white colleagues, and initially were not issued guns or uniforms. They were assigned only to non-combat posts. When Colonel Robert Shaw (Matthew Broderick) took command of the men, he worked to get them equal status. Eventually, the men were outfitted with weapons and Union uniforms and allowed to fight.

This scene begins as the volunteers endure basic training at Readville Camp. Shaw receives an important letter from Washington D.C. Even though it is late at night he asks that the men be gathered immediately. The half-trained volunteers are assembled in the midst of a heavy rain. As they stand soaking wet in the mud, Shaw reads the letter.

"In accordance with President Lincoln's wishes, you men are advised that the Confederate Congress has issued a proclamation."

As he gazes out into a sea of brown faces, the Colonel continues, "Any Negro taken at arms against the Confederacy will immediately be returned to the state of slavery. Any Negro taken in Federal uniform will be summarily put to death."

He once again looks up at his men, many of whom are freed or runaway slaves and cherish their freedom.

Shaw continues reading. "Any white officer taken in command of Negro troops shall be deemed as inciting servile insurrection and shall likewise be put to death."

Assuming many (if not most) will not want to continue serving, Shaw looks up from the letter and says, "Full discharge will be granted in the morning to all those who apply."

After dismissing the men, he turns to Major Forbes, who is white, and says, "If you're not here in the morning, I understand."

Trip (Denzel Washington), a runaway slave with a chip on his shoulder, turns to a soldier who's been wondering when the uniforms will arrive and says, "Still want that blue suit, nigger?"

Through the stormy night a solitary black volunteer walks slowly back and forth in the drenching rain keeping sentry. Meanwhile, Major Forbes can be seen on his bunk staring into space. Colonel Shaw is seen pondering what the morning will bring, while smoking a cigar.

At daybreak, Shaw emerges from his quarters buttoning his uniform jacket as the trumpeter blows reveille and the flag is raised.

Major Forbes announces, "Sir, formed and ready, sir."

Expecting a depleted regiment, Shaw quietly asks, "How many are left?"

Forbes looks straight ahead and does not face his commander. Shaw continues to walk forward and turns to see the entire company standing at attention. No one has left.

He gazes into their faces and in amazement blurts out, "Glory, Hallelujah!"

Elapsed Time: 00:24:45 to 00:29:00

Content: Rated R for graphic violence and some profanity

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