Ed Zwick’s Glory - An Exemplary Model for Historical Films
“History, I am convinced, is not just something to be left to the historians.” - Warren Susman
 From a critic’s point of view, what is there not to scrutinize when a white, Jewish filmmaker is responsible for a historical film about African-Americans during the Civil War? One which happens to have a brave young Boston Brahmin as the supposed leader of a colored battalion? Surely he does not have the license to create a film based on a heritage with which he has no affinity. Director Ed Zwick was apprehensive with the task and struggled with his entitlement to create such a film.
I was afraid initially that a young, white, liberal, Jewish director would be presuming a lot to talk to them [African-American actors] about their slave antecedents. In fact, what I discovered in rehearsal and everyday shooting was that they approached the situation with extraordinary humor and generosity. And I realized that if I was to act out my ancestors in the shtetl in Poland, that I would approach it in a similar way.
In retrospect, it is both fortunate and honorable that Zwick overcame his misgivings and came to this realization, because the finished product can serve as an exemplary model for future historical films. While not entirely perfect in form or substance, reputable critics ultimately praise Glory’s end result.
 James McPherson, author of Pulitzer Prize winner Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, analyzed Glory with the crucial understanding of its role as a film and not a documentary. Accordingly, McPherson had this to say about Zwick’s work: “Glory is not only the first feature film to treat the role of black soldiers in the American Civil War, [but] also the most powerful and historically accurate movie about that war ever made." He also credited the film for its overall attention to detail, particularly dealing with the precision of the battle scenes. The critic does point out that Glory is by no means flawless, citing historical discrepancies; nevertheless, a sound approval is given.
 From a supportive angle, Morgan Freeman, an academy-award-nominee black actor, fully backs every aspect of the project. Freeman was not only ecstatic about the idea for the film, but he also defended Zwick and screenwriter Kevin Jarre from criticisms about the film’s alleged "whiteness." In rebuttal to a charge by Roger Ebert that Glory concentrates too much on the white point of view, Freeman claimed:
I don’t have a problem with that. You cannot reasonably ask a white writer to do it differently. Now, if we’re going to start citing some unfortunates, it might be unfortunate that a black writer didn’t write it, but if a black writer had written it, there’s a good chance he wouldn’t have found a producer. So there you are. This is a movie that did get made, and a story did get told, and that’s what is important.
Reportedly, Freeman was so adamant...