This is a Civil War film, the story of the first and only black regiment, the 54th Massachusetts Cavalry, to actively participate in the bloody business of war. A young white officer from a wealthy Boston family (Matthew Broderick) takes on the grueling job of getting these men ready for battle. He is tough, untried, but idealistically driven to turn these men into soldiers and he does.
This is the heart of the story, watching the unit grow from roughshod to ready, forming bonds of friendship that reveal their own inner problems. The common desire to engage the enemy, thereby breaking down a unique military prejudice, is another absorbing part of the story.
The cast and characters grab your heart and keep it until the final second. A must see.
Also starring Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman. Check out reviews at Rotten Tomatoes.