Scene 1: Antietam
1. What first impresses Robert about the army?
2. What is the difference between this war and the
3. What is the purpose of the war according to Robert?
4. How does the attitude of Robert and the audience
change from the beginning to the end of the first scene?
Scene 2: Running for President
1. How do the Union soldiers greet the new black regiment?
2. What do we learn of the characters of Trip and
Thomas from their first meeting?
3. Is Rawlins more like Trip or Thomas? In what
ways does he differ from both?
Scene 3: Training
1. Why does Mulcahy say that he is so tough on the soldiers, particularly
Thomas? What effect does his explanation have on Shaw?
Scene 4: I Owe Them My Freedom
1. Why does Robert ignore Thomas at the beginning of the scene?
2. Is Robert unnecessarily cruel to the private
during rifle practice?
3. Does Robert need to climb down off of his horse
as Forbes suggests?
4. How does Robert defend his actions to Forbes?
Scene 5: And More Training
1. What do Mulcahy's taunts to Thomas suggest about the limitations
of Thomas's education?
2. Why do both Mulcahy and Rawlins try to protect
Trip in this scene?
3. Is Thomas a broken man by the end of this scene?
Would it have been better for Robert or Mulcahy to have been more
sympathetic to him?
Scene 6: Time to Ante Up
1. What is Trip's criticism of Thomas and Rawlins?
2. Why does Rawlins think Trip is so angry? Does
he think Trip can change?
3. Why is Rawlins grateful to the white soldiers?
4. What does Rawlins think he owes to the war effort?
Scene 7: Worthy of Battle
1. Identify the parts of the scene that show the need for the
various harsh training measures.
2. What is the difference between the Thomas we
see in the bayonet scene and the Thomas we see at the end of this
scene? How would he describe what he has learned?
Scene 8: Getting Clean
1. Why doesn't Trip want to accept the honor of bearing the regimental
2. What does Trip think will be the outcome of
the war? Why does Robert disagree?
3. What does Trip mean by "getting clean"?
Does he think that is possible?
Scene 9: Remember What You See Here
1. Why has the attitude of the white soldiers changed by the beginning
of this scene? Is it a fulfillment of Robert's vision of the war
in the opening scene of the movie?
2. What is Robert's last request to the reporter?
Why does he think this is so important?
Scene 10: Picking up the Flag
1. Is it a sign of Trip's growth or the director's sentimentality
when Trip picks up the flag at the end of the movie?
2. Why is it appropriate that Thomas leads the charge
after Trip's death?
3. Do these soldiers die for nothing?
1. Is the title of the movie ironic or sincere?
2. The characters of Trip, Rawlins, and Thomas
might be said to reflect the ideas of Douglass, Washington, and
3. What do the main characters and the audience
learn from the movie about the character of freedom?