This 100%-Rated Old War Movie Could Easily Be a Perfect Western

This 100%-Rated Old War Movie Could Easily Be a Perfect Western
Image credit: Universal Pictures

With the performance of a lifetime from Jimmy Stewart.


  • This is a iconic 1965 Civil War movie that deserves all the credit it got.
  • Jimmy Stewart's performance, and his character in general, is unlike anything he ever does on screen.
  • This war movie could easily be taken for a western if it weren't for one specific detail.

Westerns are still one of the most popular genres in movies and television, and it's easy to see why. We assume that the audience loves westerns mainly because of the brutal problem solving that is shown in them.

For example, you have a dilemma in your life and you don’t know what to do, then you see how confident the hero of the movie is and you just use it as a tool to hype you up and solve all your life issues. Not bad, huh?

But not to get carried away here, we think the magic of westerns is, of course, in the overall atmosphere. But it seems that not only classic westerns can give us the so beloved vibes.

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There's a movie with the star of westerns, Jimmy Stewart, that's perfect for fans of the genre, even though it's not a western per se. The film in question is 1965's legendary Shenandoah. As fans got used to Stewart playing classic roles, he proved once again that he could do anything.

Shenandoah is a Civil War epic that follows Stewart as Charlie Anderson, a man with a big family, living in the Shenandoah Valley in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The events in the movie take place in 1864, and the family is in danger as the Union invades from the North and the Confederacy from the South. Now all the problems start when Charlie's youngest son is mistakenly taken to prison and the whole family starts searching for him.

The thing about this movie, though, is that it doesn't take sides like a typical Western. And what's amazing about Stewart's character is that he actually has three of them: the Union, the Confederacy, and of course the most important one – his own family.

Now, there are a lot of thoughts about the fact that Shenandoah can be considered a western, but while it seems really okay to think that way, there is one thing that keeps you from doing that.

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One of the western-ish things about this movie is probably Jimmy Stewart’s participation. We have become so used to him playing tough, heroic guys that we seem to take even this completely different performance in Shenandoah as the same.

But this movie swaps the classic American Western landscapes for totally different pictures of Virginia during the war.

And while the questions that are at the center of the movie happen to appear in the western genre quite often, it's still debatable that a war movie should be considered anything more than, well, a war movie.

If you want to make up your own mind, you can watch Shenandoah on Prime.