Watch Andersonville Trial
- 2 hr 30 min
Andersonville Trial is a historical drama film set during the American Civil War that was released in 1970. The movie chronicles the infamous trial of the Confederate officers who were in charge of the Andersonville prison camp. Over 13,000 Union soldiers held in Andersonville died due to inhumane conditions in the prison. The film features a star-studded cast, including Cameron Mitchell, William Shatner, and Jack Cassidy. Each of these actors plays a key role in the trial proceedings. Mitchell plays the role of Major General Lew Wallace, the presiding judge of the military commission tasked with trying the Confederate officers. Shatner plays the role of Captain Wirz, the Swiss-born officer in charge of Andersonville who is on trial for war crimes. Cassidy portrays the role of Major Crawford, who served as one of the prosecutors in the trial. The movie opens with a brief history of the Andersonville prison camp and the atrocities that occurred there. We are then introduced to the military commission, which convenes to try Wirz and six other Confederate officers accused of war crimes. The trial has significant political implications, as it threatens to undermine the fragile peace between the North and South. The trial is conducted in a military court, where the rules of evidence are much more relaxed than in a civil court. This creates a challenging environment for the defense and presents some interesting legal and ethical questions to the audience. For example, can a defendant be convicted based on the testimony of witnesses who were themselves complicit in atrocities committed against prisoners? The prosecution often makes use of these types of witnesses, which causes conflict between defense counsel and the judge. The trial also presents challenges for the judge, Major General Lew Wallace. As a Civil War veteran himself, Wallace is acutely aware of the brutality of war and is sympathetic to both the Union soldiers who suffered in Andersonville and the Confederate officers on trial. The judge must balance his own personal feelings with the need to conduct a fair trial and uphold the law. As the trial unfolds, we get glimpses into the lives and motivations of the key players. Wirz, for example, is a man of conscience who believes that his duty to his country and his soldiers outweighs any moral objections he may have to the treatment of Union prisoners. Cassidy's character, Major Crawford, is portrayed as a staunch advocate for justice who believes that the officers on trial must be held accountable for their crimes. Throughout the movie, tension builds as each witness takes the stand and the trial moves closer to its eventual conclusion. Without spoiling the ending, it can be said that the movie does a fantastic job of keeping the audience engaged and on the edge of their seats throughout. Overall, Andersonville Trial is a gripping and thought-provoking historical drama that provides a fascinating glimpse into the legal and ethical dilemmas surrounding the trial of Confederate war criminals. With a strong cast, nuanced characters, and excellent pacing, this movie is a must-see for anyone interested in the Civil War or American history in general.