The Patriot is a 2000 war movie that Robert Rodat wrote. Ronald Emmerich directed this three-hour movie starring various high profile actors. The movie portrays the events that were taking place in South Carolina during the American Revolution War. It was filmed in South Carolina where these events used to take place.
The main actors in this movie include Mel Gibson (Benjamin Martin), Heath Ledger (Gabriel Martin), Joely Richardson (Charlotte Selton), Jason Isaacs (Col. William Tavington), Chris Cooper (Col. Harry Burwell), Tom Wilkinson (Gen. Lord Charles Cornwallis), and Adam Baldwin (Apt. Wilkins).
The other high profile characters in the movie include Reverend Oliver, Anne Howard, Jean Villeneuve, Dan Scott, John Billings, Occam, Peter Howard, Thomas martin among others. The movie portrays the American’s victory over their English armies.
In this movie, Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson), a South Carolina farmer and a hero of the French and Indian war is shown as being reluctant to join the Revolutionary war of 1776 (The American Movie Database, para. 1). Martin is a widower and lives with his seven children in South Carolina.
One of his sons, Gabriel, becomes a member of the Continental army contrary to his acknowledgment. One day, Gabriel comes home wounded from war and the British army comes for him to hang him. His younger brother tries to release him from the British army but Tavington shoots him.
Benjamin, with the help of his other two sons, manages to rescue Gabriel after killing a number of the British soldiers. Benjamin then is drawn into the revolutionary conflict against his anti-war feelings. He makes a vow to exterminate Tavington before the end of the bloody battle and allows his children to go to his wife’s sister while he links with his old friend Colonel Burwell, and, pilots the local army in the conflict against the British forces.
In the end, Benjamin succeeds in killing Tavington and Cornwallis moves back and admits defeat. The arrival of French forces to confront the weakened British army in the battle of Yorktown is what compelled the opponents of the Americans to give in.
The Patriot has both historical accuracies and inaccuracies. The writer of this movie wanted to bring out the events that took place during the American revolutionary war when the American people were fighting to get their independence from the British government. The movie uses characters that represent the real people during this revolutionary war but with changed names (Lindahl, para.3).
Many of the battles in the film are also historically accurate as well as other events, which the writer did not openly mention. It is important to note that the movie is not a historical documentary and therefore contains some historical inaccuracies. The author had to fictionalize the characters and some events in order to tell the best drama story.
The battles presented in this movie are historically accurate in that they are those that took place during the American Revolutionary war. These battles include those at Camdem, Charleston, Cowpens, Guilford Courthouse and Yorktown.
The author used Benjamin Martin to represent other personalities who played a significant role during the revolutionary war, but also added some other elements to him to suite other prominent historical figures, and, the approach shown in the movie of using the band of soldiers to draw British Army in the last battle is the same approach that Daniel Morgan used in the Battle of Cowpens. General Charles Cornwallis was an actual historical character making this movie historically accurate. It is also true that Cornwallis mentored Lt.
The other events depicted in the movie that are historically accurate include Martin’s raid on Fort wilderness, Tavington’s acts of burning a militia leader’s home and killing his son, use of projectiles during the revolutionary war, and the existence of slave colonies during the revolutionary war. It is also true that slaves became free after participating in the Revolutionary war for one year. These and many other events in the movie show the historical accuracy of this movie.
The movie also has some historical inaccuracies. Because the movie is not a historical documentary, the author added some fiction, which makes it historically inaccurate.
The movie gives a number of misrepresentations of the battles and other incidences surrounding the American Revolutionary war as well as the personnel used. The movie does not use the actual historical characters in presenting the message. The author had to incorporate many characters in Benjamin in order for him to represent more than one of the historical characters.
The battles in South Carolina were also brutal than portrayed in the movie. The movie also shows Benjamin killing Tavington but this did not happen historically. General Cornwallis also never lost any battle in the field as the movie portrays. In the movie, the British army releases the members of the militia group an issue that never happened with the army in history. These and many other events portray the historical inaccuracies of this movie.
The Patriot Presents the historic victory of the Americans against the British in the battle of Yorktown. This happened in 1781 when the forces of the Americans, led by General Washington, with the help of the French forces, led by Comte Rochambeau, forced the British army, led by Lieutenant General Lord Cornwallis, to surrender. This historically happened as it is shown in The Patriot.
The French army came in to give reinforcement to the American Army in fighting the British army and end its control over Yorktown and America as a whole. The American patriots were determined during this time to gain their independence. Lord Cornwallis surrendered on October 19, 1781. He surrendered to the American army through his second in command and this action ended the revolutionary war with Britain.
The writer of The Patriot tried to bring out the message of the revolutionary war in his own style. He tried to bring out the events as they happened during the Revolutionary war. Most of the events and actions of the patriots during this revolutionary period were true as presented in the movie (Leong, para. 1). It is true that most of the patriots, as shown through Benjamin, did not want to participate in this revolutionary war at first.
The historical accuracies presented in the film also support the authenticity of this film. The film shows that some colonists wanted independency, a rare tactic was employed to defeat the British at the battle of Hanna’s Cowpens, and the French assisted the Americans to make the war unsustainable for them. This was factual in the history of the Revolutionary war. Even though this was the case, the author presents gross misrepresentation of some events and characters in the movie making The Patriot a propaganda film.
The movie shifts blame between the two rival groups making the movie a propaganda film. Most of things that the movie portrays the redcoats doing, especially their deeds and purposes, were really those of the patriots towards the redcoats who were devoted to the king and the film illustrates the wicked character of Tavington on Britain’s Dragoon Colonel Banastre Tarleton.
However, it is of essence to note that even though Tarleton was not an angel, he was not the kind of giant that the film wants to portray him to be and he did not pass away in the conflict as portrayed in the film; however, he passed away some fifty years afterward.
There are also many misrepresentations in the movie that are misleading as far as the patriot’s history is concerned. The movie managed to depict happy slaves in the farms when in the real sense slaves where not easily granted freedom and were not happy. The author shows that the colonists beat the French and the Indians but this was not the case.
The riots in Charleston in the movie look very normal while in the real case they were brutal and bloody as they were a show of one against the loyal majority. Generally, the movie gives a wrong impression of the war and depicts the Britain army in a negative way, which was not the case. The filmmaker seems to shift the blame to the British and make them seem bad than they actually were.
Stereotypes are evident in this film. The film presents stereotypes about women and ethnic groups, including Africans (slaves) and the British army. The movie shows women performing a secondary role of taking care of children during the Revolutionary war. In reality, women were actively involved in the war and some of them joined the army to fight the British army. The movie also brings out stereotypes about the British army.
Whenever a British soldier comes to stage, he is backed up with all sorts of negatives and evils to make him appear bad. The patriot is presented with positive characters and inaccurate facts to make him appear good. The movie also shows the British army gathering people into a church and burning them all in it. As much as this shows the stereotypes that the movie presents towards the British army, it also presents religious stereotyping. In reality, the British army never burnt people in a church.
The events and personalities presented in this movie reflect what is happening in our society currently. Many militia groups have formed in many countries to fight the ruling governments. Brutality is a common happening and people witness bloody attacks that disrupt peace and development in these regions. Stereotypes still exist in our modern society. Racial discrimination, though reduced, is also common in some areas. These negative attributes have led to poor developments in our countries and regions.
In conclusion, The Patriot is a movie that depicts the events that were taking place during the American Revolutionary war. Even though this movie has some historical accuracy, it also has gross inaccuracies that misrepresent the events of this war; therefore, this reduces its overall credibility.
Leong, Anthony. “The Patriot Movie Review.” Media Circus Navigation. 2000. Web. 12 Dec. 2010. http://www.mediacircus.net/patriot.html
Lindahl, Lars. “The Patriot Review.” Killer Movies.com. Killer Movies, 1 July 2000. Web. 12 Dec. 2010. http://www.killermovies.com/p/thepatriot/reviews/ed1.html
The American Movie Database (IMDb). “Storyline for the Patriot.” IMDb.com. IMDb, n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2010. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0187393/