ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to His little ones (which includes at-home teens) through you, their parents and grandparents, in His name by His Word

(2003), PG-13
Analysis Date: February 22, 2003
CAP Score: 77
CAP Influence Density: 0.52

MinMax: --100

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ALERT: To fully understand this report you should first visit the topics suggested by the CAP Site Map (Table of Contents). Further, if you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is completely objective to His Word and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.

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If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

(PG-13) -- Hats off to the politically incorrect courage of the filmmakers and writers.

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy
Production: Turner Pictures
Distribution: Warner Bros.
Director(s): Ronald F. Maxwell
Producer(s): Moctesuma Esparza, Nick Grillo, Robert Katzn, Ronald F. Maxwell, Mace Neufeld, Robert Rehme, Ronald G. Smith, Ted Turner, Robert J. Wussler
Written by/Screenplay: Jeff Shaara (book), Ronald F. Maxwell (screenplay) Cinematography/Camera: Kees Van Oostrum
Music: Bob Dylan, Randy Edelman, John Frizzell
Film Editing: Corky Ehlers
Casting: Joy Todd
Production Design: Michael Z. Hanan
Art Coordination: Cheree Welsh
Viewed At: AMC - Hulen, Fort Worth, Texas

Maybe it was me and maybe it wasn't. Gods and Generals had two definite tilts to it. The first tilt seemed to be toward Southern sympathy. But that is a matter for the expert historians which I am not. I will not try to educate anyone with any manner of knowledge of our Civil War by detailing the actions and behaviors of the players in this epic of our Civil War period since James Robertson, America's premiere Civil War Historian stated "Gods and Generals is the greatest Civil War film I have ever seen, and I have seen every one of them." Since this movie is a textbook on film of our Civil War period up to Gettysburg I will not provide anything but a very brief summary of the storyline

The second tilt to the programming is one I can speak to with some credibility and will as the Summary/Commentary proceeds.

The second tilt is to faith in the Father. Openly. Unashamedly. I've told everyone a number of times about movies with Christmas presented in them but without Jesus. Not so in Gods and Generals. Jesus was not only present in the tributes associated with Christmas (indeed there was nothing notable about commercialization of Christmas), He was presented in song. Specifically, "Silent Night." Our Lord was not ignored in this movie. God was called upon many times and praised and men fully embraced submission to Him and the power that goes with it [2 Sam. 22:4; Acts 2:21]. Often was praise and glory given to Him [Ps. 57:7; Ps. 57:11]. Often it seemed as if the portrayal was how faith in God could intervene with the Civil War, not how our faith in God would be affected by the war. Constantly was a bold presence of faith and trust in God. "In God we trust."

Hats off to the politically incorrect courage of the filmmakers and writers -- this time -- for telling the truth, indeed the Truth about our Civil War period: of how men were not afraid to call on His name; how the United States of America is a born and raised Christian nation. History revisionists, the ones who want to write God out of the history books, are going to hate this movie since it accurately portrays our history as a Christian nation.

Gods and Generals is very violent, but not nearly as much as most war movies such as We Were Soldiers and Saving Private Ryan. There was very little gore. Lots of death as is inherent with our bloody past, as is inherent with one of the bloodiest wars in our history. But there was very little gore in this movie. Very little indeed.

Gods and Generals is also a very long movie. Two hundred and thirty one timed minutes from the first frame to the last frame before the credits. There is a 12 minute intermission toward the middle of the show but it requires 231 minutes of your time -- 3. 9 hours. I was dreading spending such a long time watching a movie, but I am glad I did.

The film centers around the lives and campaigns of confederacy generals Robert E. Lee (Robert Duvall} and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson (Stephen Lang) and three of the main battles during the first two years of the Civil war: the Battle of Manassas; the Battle of Chancellorsville; the Battle of Fredericksburg (glad they spelled it right - we lived in Spotsylvania, 10 miles from Fredericksburg for a couple years and have some spent ammunition from that battle). The film is based on the same-title book by Jeff Shaara, the second in an intended trilogy led by Gettysburg and hopefully to be concluded with The Last Full Measure based on a book also by Shaara.

There are many positive features to this movie. But I will leave them to you to discover if you decide it is acceptable by your own standards by what we reveal for you.

Gods and Generals earned a CAP final score of 77 which is equivalent to scores earned by PG movies in the CAP comparative baseline database of movies. The strongest warning, which this time I happen to agree with the MPAA, is war violence and long sustained sequences of it. While the Christian Spotlight reports there was no foul language or sexual content, I found eight uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary [Prov. 22:11] plus one use of God's name in vain but without the four letter expletive [Deut. 5:11]. And while there certainly was no gratuitous sexual programming in Gods and Generals there were two scenes of Jackson and his wife Mary Anna (Kali Rocha) in bed together but fully clothed in full-length night wear. Whether it is acceptable for your kids to see such programming in and as entertainment is not my call to make. It is your call. I just tell you about it so you can make an informed decision. Yes, Jackson and Mary Anna were married, but Stephen Lang and Kali Rocha were not.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ]. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.

  • 2 Sam. 22:4 I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.
  • Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
  • Ps. 57:7 My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.
  • Ps. 57:11 Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: let thy glory be above all the earth.
  • Prov. 22:11 He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for his friend.
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain [shav' {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity]: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. [With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or thoughtful discussion is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it.]

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it, enjoy it, want it]. [I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change [warp, distort, falsely represent] the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. [cause by teaching or example]
  • Ps. 119:133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.


    Gods and Generals (2003) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • many battle dead, repeatedly, no gore
  • many deaths by explosion, repeatedly, no gore
  • long battle sequences with much hand-to-hand combat, little to no gore
  • many battle deaths/dying, repeatedly, no gore
  • five instances of gore such as field hospital surgery
  • using dead bodies as bullet shields, no gore
  • lust for killing as vengeance
  • three executions for disertion, no gore

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
    eight uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary witih no uses of the most foul of the foul words
  • lying
  • terms of racial insult twice

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • man and woman in bed, clothed, twice (Jackson and wife, Anna)

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • smoking, 6 instances noted
  • drinking, one instance noted
  • use of booze and field antisthetic

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • one use of God's name in vain and without the four letter expletive

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • none noted (please note footnote #3)

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    NOTE: While the Summary/Commentary section of these reports is precisely that -- a summary in commentary format which can be and sometimes is subjective, the actual CAP Analysis Model (the Findings/Scoring section) makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse, for manufacture of justification for, or camouflaging of ignominious content or aberrant behavior or imagery with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme/plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure or example of behavior or thought from the sinful display or of the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. We make no attempt to quantify the "artistic" or "entertainment" value of a movie -- whether a movie has any positive value or "entertainment" value is up to mom/dad. The CAP analysis model is the only known set of tools available to parents and grandparents which give *them* the control they need, bypassing the opinion-based assessment of movies by others and defeating the deceit of those who would say anything to convince their parents otherwise. The model is completely objective to His Word. Our investigation standards are founded in the teachings and expectations of Jesus Christ. If a sinful behavior is portrayed, it is called sinful whether Hollywood tries to make it otherwise. That the sinful behavior is "justified" by some manufactured conditions does not soften nor erase the price of sin. Whether there is application of fantasy "justification" or "redemption" is up to mom/dad.

    "There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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    (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

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