North and South TV Series Overview (1985)


North and South is the title of three American television miniseries broadcast on the ABC network in 1985, 1986, and 1994.

Set before, during, and immediately after the American Civil War, they are based on the 1980s trilogy of novels North and South by John Jakes.



North and South is a 1980s trilogy of best-selling novels by John Jakes which take place before, during, and after the American Civil War. The saga tells the story of the enduring friendship between Orry Main of South Carolina and George Hazard of Pennsylvania, who become best friends while attending the United States Military Academy at West Point but later find themselves and their families on opposite sides of the war. The slave-owning Mains are rural gentleman planters while the big-city Hazards live by manufacturing and industry, their differences reflecting the real divisions between North and South which ultimately led to war.

The first novel, North and South, was published in 1982, and was followed by Love and War in 1984. The trilogy was completed with Heaven and Hell in 1987. All three novels debuted on The New York Times Best Seller list, with North and South reaching No.1 within four weeks on 28 February 1982. All three novels were also ranked within the top ten hardcover fiction bestsellers for their respective years by Publishers Weekly. As of 2007, ten million copies of the trilogy remain in print.

TV Series

The saga tells the story of the enduring friendship between Orry Main of South Carolina (Patrick Swayze) and George Hazard of Pennsylvania (James Read), who become best friends while attending the United States Military Academy at West Point but later find themselves and their families on opposite sides of the war. The slave-owning Mains are rural planters from outside Charleston, South Carolina, while the Hazards, who reside in a small Pennsylvania mill town, profit from ownership of iron manufacturing and industry capital, their differences reflecting the divisions between North and South that eventually led to the Civil War.

  • The 1985 first instalment, North and South, remains the seventh-highest rated miniseries in TV history.
  • North and South: Book II (1986) was met with similar success.
  • The 1994 Heaven and Hell: North and South Book III was poorly received by both critics and audiences.


The initial 1985 miniseries cast Patrick Swayze as Orry Main and James Read as George Hazard with Lesley-Anne Down as Orry’s love interest Madeline and Wendy Kilbourne as George’s future wife Constance. Kirstie Alley played George’s outspoken abolitionist sister Virgilia, with Genie Francis as Orry’s “good” sister Brett and Terri Garber as his selfish and wicked sister Ashton, as well as Philip Casnoff as Elkanah Bent, George and Orry’s nemesis. All of these actors returned for the 1986 sequel, and the roles of George’s brother Billy Hazard and sister-in-law Isabel Hazard were recast with Parker Stevenson and Mary Crosby.

North and South (1985) also featured many well-known actors as guest stars, including Elizabeth Taylor as bordello proprietor Madam Conti, David Carradine as the sadistic Justin LaMotte, Hal Holbrook as US President Abraham Lincoln, Gene Kelly as Bent’s father Senator Charles Edwards, Robert Mitchum as Colonel Patrick Flynn, M.D., Johnny Cash as abolitionist John Brown, Jean Simmons as Orry’s mother Clarissa Main, Mitchell Ryan as Orry’s father Tillet Main, John Anderson as George’s father William Hazard, Jonathan Frakes as George’s older brother Stanley Hazard, Inga Swenson as George’s mother Maude Hazard, Robert Guillaume as abolitionist Frederick Douglass, Morgan Fairchild as Burdetta Halloran, David Ogden Stiers as Representative Sam Greene, and Olivia Cole as Madeline’s devoted but doomed servant Maum Sally. John Jakes’ wife Rachel also made an appearance in Episode 6 as Lincoln’s wife Mary. North and South: Book II (1986) saw the return of Carradine as LaMotte, Holbrook as Lincoln, and Stiers as Greene, as well as new guests Lloyd Bridges as Confederate President Jefferson Davis, Anthony Zerbe as Ulysses S. Grant, Nancy Marchand as Dorothea Dix, James Stewart as Miles Colbert, Wayne Newton as Captain Thomas Turner, and William Schallert as Robert E. Lee, with Linda Evans as Rose Sinclair and Olivia de Havilland as Mrs. Neal. 1994’s Heaven and Hell featured Peter O’Toole as “louche actor” Sam Trump and Billy Dee Williams as Francis Cardozo.

Filming of the miniseries resulted in four marriages among the cast and crew. Read and Kilbourne, who played opposite each other, married in 1988 and now have two children. Frakes and Francis, who had previously played opposite each other on the failed NBC soap Bare Essence, also married in 1988. Lesley-Anne Down married assistant cameraman Don E. FauntLeRoy in 1986. They met during filming of Book I when both were married to other people, and eventually obtained divorces. Garber married screenwriter Chris Hager, whom she met in 1985 when he worked as a grip on the set of North and South: Book II. They had a daughter, Molly, in 1986, and later divorced.


North and South (1985) was directed by Richard T. Heffron, from a script adaptation by Patricia Green, Douglas Heyes, Paul F. Edwards, and Kathleen A. Shelley. It was produced by David L. Wolper, Paul Freeman, Rob Harland, and Chuck McLain, with music by Bill Conti and Stevan Larner as cinematographer.

Wolper also produced 1986’s North and South: Book II with his son Mark Wolper, as well as Stephanie Austin and Robert Papazian. Conti returned as composer, with Kevin Connor directing, Jacques R. Marquette as cinematographer, and a script by Heyes and Richard Fielder.

Heaven and Hell: North and South Book III (1994) was directed by Larry Peerce from a script by Suzanne Clauser. Hal Galli produced the miniseries, with music by David Bell and Don E. FauntLeRoy as cinematographer.


VHS and DVD Releases

North and South Books I and II were released on NTSC VHS in the United States. Book III was never released on VHS in the United States. Books I, II and III were released on PAL VHS in Europe.

All three Books were released on Region 1 DVD in October 2004. This release also included a bonus featurette with John Jakes and David Wolper talking about the books and the miniseries; James Read, Lesley-Anne Down, and Patrick Swayze discussing their characters; general thoughts of other cast and crew members; plus information about the historical background and trials of its reconstruction for the miniseries.

The Region 2 DVD release contained only Books I and II at first, but eventually Book III also became available, with the bonus featurette included. All volumes were sold as separate boxes, but later on they were also available in one box.


A soundtrack CD published by Varèse Sarabande in 1985 (VCD47250) contains tracks from the Bill Conti scores to North and South and The Right Stuff.

The Varèse Sarabande Soundtrack Club released the entire score to North and South (1985) in a four-CD box set on 25 February 2008. The tracks in this set are the original recordings used in the production of the series, with three discs devoted to Conti’s score and a fourth to the source music from the series. The entire score to North and South: Book II (1986) was released on 03 October 2008, and includes three CDs. On 04 December 2015, North and South: Highlights, a 76-minute disc featuring selections from the first miniseries score, was released. David Bell scored Heaven and Hell: North and South Book III using Conti’s thematic material.


  • To prepare for the role of George Hazard, James Read spent several weeks at Patrick Swayze’s horse ranch, where Swayze taught Read how to ride.
  • Since modern West Point bears little physical resemblance to the Academy of 1842, the West Point scenes were filmed at Jefferson College outside Natchez, Mississippi.
    • Local military school cadets and R.O.T.C. students involved in this mini-series were granted permission to grow their hair for six months for the proper period look.
  • James Read’s great-great-uncle, Sebaldus Hassler, fought and died with the Union Army, falling in battle at Vicksburg, Mississippi, on 20 May 1863.
    • Read’s great-great-grandfather, Sampson T. Groves, served in the First Ohio Volunteer Heavy Artillery until his honourable discharge on 25 July 1865, after which he lived to a ripe old age.
  • Production took two years, and involved eight thousand seven hundred pieces of wardrobe (lead actresses each wore twenty-eight to thirty-five different costumes), nine hundred forty scenes, a five hundred forty page teleplay, and twenty-five million dollars.
  • According to an extra from North and South, Book II (1986), during the big Manassas scene with pandemonium amongst the soldiers and the crowd, the wide angle shot was not staged, there was real panic.
    • Something had gone wrong, a gun went off when it was not suppose to, somebody else ran a direction they were not supposed to go, and it all caused a stir.
  • When the historic structures were correct, but the furnishings were not, or priceless antiques were so fragile they could not be used, the company brought in their own pieces, such as the bronze and marble statuary valued at more than two hundred thousand dollars that decorated the house used for the New Orleans bordello.
  • Having entered West Point in 1842, George Hazard and Orry Main were part of the Class of 1846, perhaps the most famous and most talented graduating class in West Point history.
    • George B. McClellan, Thomas J. Jackson, and George Pickett introduced themselves to George and Orry.
    • McClellan ranked second in that illustrious class.
    • Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson ranked seventeenth.
    • George Pickett (later famous for “Pickett’s Charge” at Gettysburg) ranked at the bottom of the class.
    • All of them rose to the rank of General.
    • Ranked first in that class, was Charles Seaforth Stewart. The highest rank Stewart achieved was Colonel.
  • The scenes filmed in downtown Charleston required very little set preparation.
    • Truckloads of dirt had to be brought in to cover the cement-paved streets.
  • Philip Casnoff was nearly passed over for the role of Elkanah Bent because the producers thought he was too short.
    • Casnoff won them over when he did a practice scene in which he slammed another actor against a wall and yelled at him viciously.
    • Casnoff noted that for the audition, he summoned his feelings of rage from being recently mugged in a parking lot.
  • Exterior shots of Mont Royal were taken at the mansion Boone Hall.
    • The interior were taken at another mansion, Stanton Hall.
  • Living history groups with the expertise to re-create the Mexican-American War battle of Churubusco (1847) filmed the battle in a field near Natchez, Mississippi.
    • In mid May 1984, fourteen re-enactor units from a dozen states took a week to stage the largest authentic encampment of Mexican War re-enactors ever held.
    • More than one hundred forty people arrived at their own expenses, bringing their own (mostly handmade) period-correct uniforms, hand weapons, and artillery, caissons, limbers, battery wagons, field ambulances, tenting, and camping equipment.
    • The production company provided water, hay, feed, and straw for horses, reimbursement for powder, and donations to each of the participating units.
  • With the exception of military or servants’ garb, none of the main characters wear the same thing twice in this mini-series.
    • Two exceptions are, Ashton (Terri Garber), who wears a purple dress for when she arrives, and departs Mont Royal, and Madeline (Lesley-Anne Down), who wears the same dress when she visits her father when he is on his death bed, and when she leaves Mont Royal after Ashton tells her that her mother was a prostitute.
  • The publicity shot of George Hazard (James Read) and Orry Main (Patrick Swayze) in uniform that is used as the main art work for the DVD collection, the flags behind them are a US flag and a Texas flag.
    • The photo was taken during the filming of the Churubusco scenes, and the only flags available on-set were the US and Texas flags.
  • Several actors and actresses also appeared in the Star Trek franchise.
    • Jonathan Frakes (Stanley Hazard) appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) as Commander William Riker.
    • Kirstie Alley (Virgilia Hazard) appeared as Lieutenant Saavik in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982).
    • Jean Simmons (Clarissa Main) appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) as a retired Starfleet Admiral.
    • John Anderson (William Hazard) appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987).
    • Mitchell Ryan (Tillet Main) appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987).
    • David Ogden Stiers appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987).
  • The scene showing the celebration of secession was filmed in Washington Park in Charleston, SC.
    • As the union soldiers exit the park, the multi stepped base of a monolith monument is seen in the background.
    • This is a monument to historic battles of the civil war.

North and South Series

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s):
    • Richard T. Heffron … (6 episodes, 1985).
    • Kevin Connor … (6 episodes, 1986).
    • Larry Peerce … (3 episodes, 1994).
  • Producer(s):
    • Paul Freeman … producer (6 episodes, 1985).
    • Rob Harland … associate producer (6 episodes, 1985).
    • Chuck McLain … executive producer (6 episodes, 1985).
    • David L. Wolper … executive producer (6 episodes, 1985).
    • Stephanie Austin … associate producer (6 episodes, 1986).
    • Robert A. Papazian … producer (6 episodes, 1986).
    • David L. Wolper … executive producer (6 episodes, 1986).
    • Mark Wolper … associate producer (6 episodes, 1986).
    • Hal Galli … producer (3 episodes, 1994).
    • David L. Wolper … executive producer (3 episodes, 1994).
    • Mark Wolper … executive producer (3 episodes, 1994).
  • Writer(s):
    • Douglas Heyes … (developed for television by) (6 episodes, 1985).
    • Douglas Heyes … (written for television by) (2 episodes, 1985).
    • John Jakes … (from the novel by) (6 episodes, 1985).
    • Paul F. Edwards … (written for television by) (2 episodes, 1985).
    • Patricia Green … (written for television by) (2 episodes, 1985).
    • Kathleen A. Shelley … (written for television by) (2 episodes, 1985).
    • Richard Fielder … (teleplay) (6 episodes, 1986).
    • Douglas Heyes … (developer) (6 episodes, 1986).
    • John Jakes … (novel) (6 episodes, 1986).
    • Suzanne Clauser … (teleplay) (3 episodes, 1994).
    • John Jakes … (novel) (3 episodes, 1994).
  • Music:
    • Bill Conti … (6 episodes, 1985).
    • Bill Conti … (6 episodes, 1986).
    • David Bell … (3 episodes, 1994).
  • Cinematography:
    • Stevan Larner … (6 episodes, 1985).
    • Jacques R. Marquette … (6 episodes, 1986).
    • Don E. FauntLeRoy … (3 episodes, 1994).
  • Editor(s):
    • Michael Eliot … (6 episodes, 1985).
    • Scott C. Eyler … (6 episodes, 1985).
    • Eric Boyd-Perkins … (6 episodes, 1986).
    • John W. Carr … (6 episodes, 1986).
    • Susan Heick … (6 episodes, 1986).
    • David Saxon … (6 episodes, 1986).
    • Eric A. Sears … (6 episodes, 1986).
    • Paul LaMastra … (2 episodes, 1994).
    • Jerrold L. Ludwig … (2 episodes, 1994).
  • Production:
    • David L. Wolper Productions.
    • Warner Bros. Television.
  • Distributor(s):
    • American Broadcasting Company (ABC) (1985) (USA) (TV) (original airing).
    • American Broadcasting Company (ABC) (1986) (USA) (TV) (original airing).
  • Release Date:
    • Series 01: 03 November 1985 to 01 December 1985 (US).
    • Series 02: 04 May 1986 to 08 June 1986 (US).
    • Series 03: 16 February 1994 to 02 March 1994 (US).
  • Rating:
    • Series 01: PG.
    • Series 02: 15.
    • Series 03: 12.
  • Running Time:
    • Series 01: 9 hours 21 minutes (total running time).
    • Series 02: 9 hours 30 minutes (total running time).
    • Series 03: 4 hours 21 minutes (total running time).
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

Video Link(s)

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