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  • This is a wonderful psychological study of a Civil War draft resister who simply does not want to kill anybody. Ashby Gatrell leaves his family, whom he dearly loves, and spends the Civil War hiding in a cave, and living off the land. The film is also a psychological study of the effects of loneliness and fear on a person. Ashby becomes close to nature, killing animals only to survive, and the film's few light moments deal with Ashby sharing food and living space with four footed rivals. The film's most fascinating moments are the ones without dialog which show Ashby during his day to day struggle to survive. It is also an acting tour de force for Martin Sheen, who is effectively the only character in the movie. Sheen brilliantly evokes Ashby's loneliness and depression, during the long years of the war, and at war's end equally brilliantly shows Gatrell's manic happiness that is only a step away from madness.
  • This 1971 Movie was filmed during the peak of the Vietnam Anti-War movement is practically a one man show starring Martin Sheen as a concientious objector and deserter during the American Civil War in the 1860's and how his survival tactics against in the isolated mountains of West Virginia.There's also great background music and beautiful nature photography along with Martin Sheen's exquisite acting ability considering he's the about the only person in the film with the exception of a few faceless voices,he also expresses himself well concerning the psychological trauma he faces after years of isolation hiding in the mountains.It's an interesting, must see Superb Anti-War film!!
  • I like a film like this! Absolutely no attempt is made to impress the viewer. It's just a simple, episodic story about a man who strikes out on his own and must live with the attendant isolation, loneliness, and danger. (The title sequence of my copy says 'Eagle's Wings, a film by Clyde Ware'. Apparently, it's gone under three different titles.)

    There's a little humour thrown in. Sheen's character has to deal with a bear claiming squatter's rights, uppity fish, skeptical raccoons. (It's interesting how we never see the other human characters, save for a dying soldier. And I'm sure one voice-over belongs to Wayne Rogers!) Musical score provided by what sounds like the Sunday Afternoon Hippie Bluegrass Garage Band. Yet this only adds to the film's simple charm.

    The IMDb commentator who could only say "ugh" about this film really should just stick to all the bloated Hollywood blockbusters he can consume.
  • andrewscottrose20 August 2008
    Surprising how timely this movie is, with whats going on in this world. I would highly recommend it to any young man or woman who is thinking about going off to war.... you may think twice about it and perhaps be just as courageous as Ashby Gatrel was. It takes a strong constitution to live such a primitive existence and resist fighting for your wife and kid. I admire everyone involved with the making of this movie. It's important. "Wouldn't it be amazing to do what Ashby did?", those were my thoughts while watching this movie. "What did he do?", you ask. Well, nothing much really - and I found that to be amazing. He lives in a cave, fishes with his hands, and fights off a bear. He has a Pentecostal moment also, where he finds the Lord and runs naked amongst the beauty of the mountains. He sneaks a peek at a battle field, and awkwardly sneaks into his house to look over his sleeping wife and daughter. I think he was bored a lot, and I related. The movie ends in a complete melt down, reminiscent of my own. Art imitating life, or life imitating art? Who knows, but this movie is very close to my own life. Seeing that I'm human, this movie is close to yours also. Enjoy listening to the drums and bugles play.
  • hhrdc2 February 2014
    Much of the movie was filmed in my home county of Doddrige County, WV. As a young Boy Scout we hiked to the cave shown in the movie. I love watching the movie and identifying houses and places that I know. Also, I liked the movie. Not much dialog but the impact of loneliness on a man in hiding who doesn't want to kill is evident in every scene. I got an old copy of the VHS, but I'd love a DVD. I think Sheen does a great job of portraying the emotional impact of isolation on a man, as well as the intense internal conflict that results from not wanting to go to war on one hand, but having to leave family and friends behind on the other hand. I even like the soundtrack.
  • This film was shown in the UK many, many years ago under the title 'The Forests Are Almost Gone Now.' It made a profound impact on me in three ways. First, as a US Civil War movie which didn't rely on blood & guts, second as an (obvious) allegory on Vietnam and third, for the way in which it kept my attention from start to finish despite the lack of characters and action in the conventional movie sense.

    Although it was made before Martin Sheen became a big name star, I doubt if he ever gave a better performance than in this movie.

    I have been searching for it high and low and would have thought that in the era of DVDs & internet downloads, it would be readily available. Not so. The only format it appears to be available in is VHS formatted for the USA, and therefore incompatible with Europe.

    Surely, someone, somewhere has (or knows who has) the rights to this. It wouldn't cost much to make it available as an Amazon or iTunes download and thus satisfy not only fans of the film who would love to see it again, but also introduced it to a new generation deprived of what is IMHO one of the best war (or anti-war) films ever made.
  • E. of C.6 October 1998
    This film has the dubious distinction of being considered the worst film I have ever seen in my life.