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"My Ten Favorite Antebellum Movies/Miniseries"


Below is a list of my favorite movies or miniseries about the Antebellum period in the United States:




1. "North and South" - Based on the first of John Jakes trilogy about two families in the mid-19th century, this six-part miniseries stars James Read and Patrick Swayze as two friends from Pennsylvania and South Carolina who meet at West Point. The two friends and their families become embroiled in the events that overwhelmed the United States during the last twenty years before the outbreak of the Civil War. The best of the three miniseries.




2. "The Chisholms" - This three-part miniseries tells the story the story of a western Virginia family who emigrate to California during the mid-1840s. Based on Evan Hunter's novel, it stars Robert Preston, Rosemary Harris ("Spider-Man" movies) and Ben Murphy. A big favorite of mine.




3. "A Woman Called Moses" - This is a two-part miniseries about the life of former slave Harriet Tubman. Starring Cicely Tyson, it tells the story of Tubman's life as a slave in Maryland and her years as a conductor on the Underground Railroad.




4. "Skin Game" - Released in 1971, this comedy-drama starred James Garner and Lou Gossett Jr. as a pair of antebellum con artists who scam slave owners by selling Gossett's character to them before escaping to split the profits. Things turn serious when they are found out and Gossett's character is sold to Texas.




5. "Westward the Women" - Robert Taylor portrayed a former frontiersman-turned-rancher, who led a wagon train of women from 1851 Missouri to California for a group of unmarried men eager for matrimony. Excellent western.





6. "Race to Freedom: The Underground Railroad" - Courtney B. Vance and Janet Bailey portray a pair of North Carolina slaves in 1851, who undertake a perilous journey to freedom in Canada. A TV-movie that is a lot better upon repeated viewings.





7. "The Journey of August King" - Jason Patric portrayed a widowed farmer in 1815 North Carolina, who ends up helping a runaway slave to freedom . . . at great cost to his fortune. An excellent and underappreciative woman.





8. "California" - Barbara Stanwyck and Ray Milland portray fractious lovers in the Gold Rush California of 1848 and 1849. This 1948 movie was Stanwyck's first in Technicolor and it was directed by John Farrow, husband of Maureen O'Sullivan and father of Mia Farrow.





9. "The House of the Seven Gables" - Based upon Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel (well barely), this 1940 melodrama is a story about love, hatred, betrayal and revenge set in New England between the 1820s and the 1840s. It starred Vincent Price, Margaret Lindsay and George Sanders.





10. "Huck Finn" - This 1993 version of Mark Twain's novel starred Elijah Wood and Courtney B. Vance as the Missouri boy and the runaway slave who encounter a series of adventures during their trip down the Mississippi River in the 1830s. Very entertaining, especially the two leads.

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