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Breaker Morant (1980)

'Breaker' Morant (original title)
Three Australian lieutenants are court martialed for executing prisoners as a way of deflecting attention from war crimes committed by their superior officers.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 4 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Capt. Alfred Taylor
...
...
Lt. Col. H.C. Denny (as Charles Tingwell)
Terence Donovan ...
Capt. Simon Hunt
Vincent Ball ...
Col. Ian 'Johnny' Hamilton
...
Sgt. Maj. Drummond
...
Cpl. Sharp
Russell Kiefel ...
Trooper Christiaan Botha
...
Lt. George Ramsdale Witton
Rod Mullinar ...
Major Charles Bolton
Alan Cassell ...
Rob Steele ...
Capt. Donald Robertson
Chris Smith ...
Cameron Sergeant
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Storyline

During the Boer War, three Australian lieutenants are on trial for shooting Boer prisoners. Though they acted under orders, they are being used as scapegoats by the General Staff, who hopes to distance themselves from the irregular practices of the war. The trial does not progress as smoothly as expected by the General Staff, as the defence puts up a strong fight in the courtroom. Written by Kasper Sevaj <kaspsev@dorit.ihi.ku.dk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"If you encounter any Boers, you really must not loot 'em and if you wish to leave these shores, for pity's sake don't shoot 'em." "THE BREAKER" See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

3 July 1980 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Breaker Morant  »

Box Office

Budget:

AUD 650,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Of the two Anglo-Boer wars that were fought, it is the Second Anglo-Boer war that is depicted in this movie. Known as the first "dirty war" of the 20th century, it was fought between 11 October 1899 until 31 May 1902. The Second Anglo-Boer war is also known as the Anglo-Boer War to South Africans and out of South Africa as the South African War but is most commonly known around the world as The Boer War. Afrikaans names for the war include Anglo-Boereoorlog (The Anglo-Boer War), Tweede Vryheidsoorlog (The Second War of Liberation) and Engelse Oorlog (The English War). It was this war that led to independence for South Africa who formed the Union of South Africa seceding from the British Commonwealth Empire. There were two Anglo-Boer Wars, the first Anglo-Boer War was fought between December 1880 and March 1881. The period of the two wars combined are known as the Boer Wars. See more »

Goofs

In the film the defendants are allowed to gather in a common room until lights out to socialize and meet with their lawyer and other visitors. In reality there were six defendants in total, including Captain Taylor, who were held in strict solitary confinement from their arrest through sentencing and were not allowed to communicate with each other at all. See more »

Quotes

George Wittow: Did you write that, Harry?
Harry Morant: No, no. It was a minor poet, called Byron.
Peter Handcock: Never heard of him.
Harry Morant: I did say he was a minor poet.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Introducing Lewis Fitz-Gerald as George Witton See more »

Connections

Referenced in Edward Woodward Interview (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Soldiers of the Queen
(Instrumental) (uncredited)
Written by Leslie Stuart
Arranged by Phil Cuneen and Jack Grimsley
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A Plot for Warriors of Any Epoch
2 March 2005 | by (Austin, Texas USA) – See all my reviews

After first encountering "Breaker" Morant during a bout of insomnia in 1984 on cable, I have repeatedly come back to this film as one of my all-time classics--covering war, politics, tactics, transitions to manhood involved in all wars--and injustice.

Although set during the Boer War, the account of three officers tried for murder during a war in which the opponents were dressed as civilians has its obvious parallels to the 21st Century. It is absolutely amazing how similar a court marshal can be out on the "velt" of South Africa, in Washington, D.C., or during a purely uniformed war in which all protagonists are easily identifiable.

Three Australian volunteers for the "Bushvelt Carbineers", recruited to fight against civilian-clad commandos (reportedly the first use of the term), find themselves charged with murder, and set as an example by the British in order to prevent Germany from entering the war on the side of the Boer (Dutch) inhabitants of South Africa. In one incredulous encounter between a British officer and Lord Kitchener, the officer spouts the British line "they lack our altruism" (referring to German interests in the gold and silver mines of South Africa), to which Lord Kitchener grudgingly responds, "Quite." A sham trial from start to finish, the Australians are defended by military attorney with experience in "land conveyancing and wills" to which one of those charged, "the latter might come in handy." The film is replete with irony and tragicomic circumstances, as this "new war for a new century" presages many of the conflicts that would come later in the 20th century, and many of the clear paradoxes and trying aspects of the war against terror--again, in which one side is not uniformed, does not conduct war according to any known "rules" of "civilized warfare" (an oxymoron if ever there was one). It has lost none of its cutting edge in the 25-odd years since its release.


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