Glory Discussion Questions

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

'Glory' is an Academy Award winning movie by director Edward Zwick based on the true story of Robert Gould Shaw, a Union officer who led a black regiment during the American Civil War. This asset contains classroom discussion questions about this film.


Edward Zwick's 'Glory' is a 1989 movie starring Matthew Broderick, Morgan Freeman, and Denzel Washington about Colonel Robert Gould Shaw's experience as a Union officer who faced prejudice for volunteering to lead a regiment of black soldiers during the Civil War. The questions in this asset will guide classroom discussions about this movie.


The questions in this section help students understand the characters and setting.

  • Why do we know so much about Colonel Robert Gould Shaw? What are some examples of primary documents from the Civil War? Why are primary documents so important for understanding history?
  • How were Civil War battles fought differently than battles today? What do you think of their tactics? What might a Civil War veteran think of modern tactics?
  • Describe Shaw's first meeting with John Rawlins. What is their first impression of each other? Why do you think Rawlins volunteers to be part of the regiment? Why do Thomas Searles and Trip join?
  • How does Shaw react to being promoted to the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry? Why do you think he was chosen? What kind of a leader is Shaw? What is his attitude towards the men he leads? What are some challenges he faces?
  • How do other Union soldiers react to a black regiment? What are the consequences to black soldiers and white officers who lead them if they are captured by the Confederacy? Why do you think the Confederacy made this distinction? How do the soldiers respond to the threat? Why?


This section contains questions about the regiment's training, leadership, and journey towards becoming a cohesive group.

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