"Glory" recounts the true story of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw (Broderick), son of Massachusetts abolitionists, who's appointed to lead the first black regiment for the Union in the Civil War. Before this group is able to prove their mettle in battle, Shaw must fight injustice within the Union hierarchy, as superior officers doubt the regiment's ability to fight and seem unwilling (at first) to even equip them properly. Ultimately, Shaw's faith in his men is borne out heroically.
Edward Zwick's vivid Civil War epic boasts terrific battle sequences, but what really sets this movie apart is the incredible acting glimpsed in between the gunfire. Broderick brings to Shaw a nuanced mix of determination and vulnerability, while the Oscar-winning Washington virtually steals the picture playing a defiant enlisted man. (This performance would make him a star overnight.) Freeman also shines as a wise, seasoned regimental sergeant. In one winning package, “Glory” delivers both rousing entertainment and a vital history lesson.