Field of Lost Shoes

Field of Lost Shoes is a 2014 American war drama film directed by Sean McNamara and written by Dave Kennedy and Thomas Farrell. The film stars Nolan Gould, Lauren Holly, Jason Isaacs, Tom Skerritt, Keith David and David Arquette. It is based on the true story of a group of cadets from the Virginia Military Institute who participated in the Battle of New Market against Union forces during the American Civil War. The battle was fought in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia on May 15, 1864. The film's title refers to the large number of soldiers' boots left on the battlefield due to the muddy conditions during the battle. Ten cadets died in the battle.

Field of Lost Shoes
Field of Lost Shoes poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySean McNamara
Written by
  • Dave Kennedy
  • Thomas Farrell
Produced by
  • Dave Kennedy
  • Thomas Farrell
CinematographyBrad Shield
Edited byJeff Canavan
Music byFrederik Wiedmann
Release date
  • April 13, 2014 (2014-04-13)
CountryUnited States

The film was released in Europe under the title Battlefield of Lost Souls.



The film's shooting locales include Powhatan, Virginia, Virginia Military Institute (VMI) and Lexington, Virginia.[2] The film's world premiere was held on May 19, 2014 at the GI Film Festival.[3][4]


Reviews were mostly negative. The film received a 28 on the film review aggregate website Metacritic[5] and a 40% on Rotten Tomatoes with an audience score of 50%.[6]

The film was roundly criticized for its misleading depiction of Southern attitudes toward slavery. In a review of the film, Jeffrey Evan Brooks, author of alternate history novels about the Civil War, criticized the portrayal of the VMI cadets as being opposed to slavery. A reviewer for the Hollywood Reporter wrote "Amazingly, none of the staunch Southerners seem to hold any negative feelings toward blacks, defending the Institute’s beloved cook “Judge” (Keith David) from persecution and stopping to rescue a young slave woman trapped under a fallen carriage."[7] Writing for the Orlando Sentinel, critic Roger Moore noted that "cadets sympathetically help slaves at every turn, even though this was the patrician class that insisted upon the war and the preservation of that 'peculiar institution.'"[8] Nick Shager's review in The Village Voice was entitled "Civil War Drama Field of Lost Shoes Argues No Confederates Were Racist."[9]

Further criticism came in a 2019 report by Tom Nash and Kristin Reed on the government transparency news site MuckRock. The authors, noting the revisionist nature of the film, found that the state of Virginia had given one million dollars in public money to fund the film.[10]


  1. ^ a b c "'Field of Lost Shoes': Film Review". September 25, 2014. Retrieved April 7, 2021.
  2. ^ "Battle of New Market brings Hollywood to Lexington, VMI". June 8, 2013. Archived from the original on June 12, 2013. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
  3. ^ "Reel Stories! Real Heroes!". GI Film Festival. Retrieved May 11, 2014.
  4. ^ "Opening Night At The GI Film Festival: Field Of Lost Shoes". Task & Purpose. May 27, 2014. Retrieved June 29, 2020.
  5. ^ "Field of Lost Shoes". MetaCritic. Retrieved September 17, 2021.
  6. ^ "Field of Lost Shoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 17, 2021.
  7. ^ "'Field of Lost Shoes': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 17, 2021.
  8. ^ Moore, Roger. "'Field of Lost Shoes' is a sentimental look at Civil War battle". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved September 17, 2021.
  9. ^ Schager, Nick. "Civil War Drama Field of Lost Shoes Argues No Confederates Were Racist". The Village Voice. Retrieved September 17, 2021.
  10. ^ Nash, Tom. "$1 million in Virginia public funding sponsored "Lost Cause" film in 2013". MuckRock. Retrieved September 17, 2021.

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