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The Crossing (TV) More at IMDbPro »

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Gets it right (mostly)

Author: douglas lally from United States
2 December 2013

I first saw The Crossing in 2001, shortly after it was made, and loved it. Although I couldn't help thinking there were some inaccuracies to it, or certain things that were simply imagined. I had a chance to watch it again just recently and my opinions remain largely unchanged. For a made for TV film the production value is tremendous with a skilled cast and compelling direction. The film drives home the brutal reality of the war in the winter of 1776; Washington's army is depleted, down to perhaps 6,000 or so. He has virtually no support or leadership from Congress, dwindling supplies, and after a string of stinging defeats has been pushed across the river in absconded boats to Pennsylvania escaping the relentless British pursuit. In short, the American army is on the brink of collapse and with it goes any hope for Independence. The Crossing dutifully articulates the desperate struggle for GW and his army, the brutal winter in particular, which can be argued was their bigger enemy. Washington's gamble to divide his forces and attack the 1200 strong Hessian mercenaries camped at Trenton on Christmas Day 1776 is a remarkable feat of military/logistic heroism and human endurance. The film really does capture the misery those men must have suffered, freezing, sick, wet, just to get to the Hessians, and then fight them. Visually a great film with a nice pace and flow to it, and moments of real tension. I was actually surprised at the level of violence portrayed in the battle scenes but that's the way it was mostly fought; hand to hand. There are elements in the film that some have questioned as inaccurate or fabricated. Jeff Daniels characterization of GW infers a man with a short temper, rigorously demanding, and with utter contempt for his enemies; this persona is incongruent with what we know of Washington's character as somber, conservative, respectful, brilliant yet somewhat colorless man. GW was a professional soldier for most of his life but I thought Daniel's conceptualization of him rendered him as something of a hot headed rustic amateur. I also took issue with the portrayal of Horatio Gates as a seething fifth columnist. Gates, a former British officer who sought greater personal fortunes in the colonial army, was a poor battlefield commander but a brilliant quartermaster and administrator. Nevertheless, he held GW in low regard and felt himself better suited to lead the army. His contempt for Washington isn't in question. It's the confrontational, combative, nature of his exchanges with GW who naturally dismisses Gates for his insubordinate attitude. This too is in conflict with what we know of Gates. An opportunist, yes, but not a traitor and certainly not inclined to personally attack Washington as he does in the film. There are other historical facts simply left out such as the Hessian's foreknowledge of an imminent American attack, the fact that the army was actually split into three armies, and that the crossing was actually one of three crossings, not a singular event. However, all told a wonderful film with an engaging cast and few dull moments. Very well done.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A nail-biting historical drama

Author: Bevin Chu from Taiwan
19 May 2012

Amazingly well written, produced, directed, and acted dramatization of the historic events depicted in the famous oil painting, "Washington Crossing the Delaware," by German American artist Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze.

How often can one honestly refer to a costume drama as a "nail biter" or "cliff hanger?" Yet "The Crossing" is just that. The tension is nearly unbearable at times. The film skillfully communicates the anxiety that Washington and his officers must have felt as the hours slipped by and the fate of a nation literally hung in the balance.

Perhaps most amazing of all, this film, a must see for every patriotic American, was written by Howard Fast, a card carrying member of the Communist Party of the USA. How's that for irony?

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A Fine Christmastime Film

Author: brtv from United States
29 November 2010

The creation of the United State was perhaps the other great miracle that happened at Christmas. Produced so well on what must have been a tight budget production calendar, the director makes fine use of both location & effects here to make it feel cold and damp. The film is based on the book of the same name. I will need to check it to search for the scene where an aid to GW speaks to him about taking the surrender personally from the dying enemy general. General Washington was not interested in this "courtesy of war" and finds the term angering. The dialog is far off the otherwise stirring story line for sure. It deals oddly with "war is all about profit and nothing else". What is the point of this useless scene unless it was to make some obscure 1999 political point. Selling a "room at the inn" to a wondering young couple about to have a baby on that first Christmas may have been about profit for the innkeeper, but what did it become for the rest of us is the real question. This is a Christmas movie waiting to be discovered even if some of the facts are pushed together for drama & time, and the special effects team believed the DP when he said their exposed gear would be "fixed in the edit room". There are so many more right calls than not in this moving TV film that does this story proud.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Good history lesson

Author: edjavega from Barcelona, Spain
28 January 2006

This TV movie is a good history lesson about a very desperate time for the former colonies trying to assert their independence post-July 4, 1776. Everyone - foreigners included like me - knows of the Delaware crossing chiefly through that famous painting. But how many know that Washington crossed the Delaware three times? That many of the soldiers fighting for the British army were German Hessian mercenaries? Or that Washington's troops were so close to being disbanded?

One thing I observed though. You really have to see this movie without having seen "Dumb and Dumber" recently beforehand. Jeff Daniels is super in the role, but watching him as Washington, I couldn't help but remember that this was the same guy whom I earlier saw had his tongue get stuck in ice at a ski ledge and had severe diarrhea problems in a previous slapstick comedy with Jim Carrey. A bit unseemly for someone playing the Father of the Nation!

All in all, this is certainly worth your time.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Please sit down in the boat general

Author: lord woodburry ( from The Society NY
21 May 2003

washington sullivan mercer mifflin col glover the marblehead fishermen and even granny gates come to life in this excellent production of howard fast's book,,, the revolution is a much underrepresented topic in the theatre yet it is capable of so many interesting yarns -- bravo!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:


Author: Richard Carbery ( from NYC
12 January 2000

What can I say but I was blown away. Ironic that it was filmed in Canada. The mood, the narration and especially the acting is superb. Jeff Daniels hits a home run as George Washington. After being disappointed by Gettysburgh, with the exception of Daniel's portrayal of Joshua Chamberlain, THE CROSSING delivered a visceral, realistic and compelling look at our history. Please watch this film.

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Only a small percentage of rat poison needs to be poison to kill

Author: Rise
29 December 2016

Although fairly well directed and performed, with an engaging story that makes you want to keep watching - The end result is a poisonous mischaracterization of the American revolution with a few major lies inserted in an otherwise sound whole.

1. They try to claim in one of the beginning scenes that Americans are fighting for "liberty and equality". No, that's the French revolution (Liberty, equality, fraternity). The American slogan would have been "life, liberty, and property" (Property was changed to the "pursuit of happiness" in the declaration of independence by Benjamin Franklin, who did not want the south to later use this phrase as an excuse to think the revolution was endorsing their right to keep slaves). The foundation of our country was the right to pursue your God given life and keep what God has given you. When you introduce the idea that we were fighting for equality that opens up the potential for major distortion of the revolution; because although "equality" sounds nice, the meaning of it in the context of the French revolution often means "equality of outcomes", or to put it another way: wealth redistribution from the rich to the poor. The antithesis of American revolutionary values.

2. Elsewhere, the Hessians are depicted as mercenaries who fight for money (historical point of fact, the money all went to the ruler of the Hessian state. The soldiers were obligated to fight wherever they were commanded to and saw no personal share of the money) - which by itself would not be a big deal, if not for the fact that this is used by one of the characters to point out to Washington that the American soldiers are no better than the Hessians because they are really just fighting over the money related to taxation. Worse still, Washington is portrayed to reluctantly admit they are right. None of this is true. Although a commonly repeatedly lie that the revolutionary's primary cause was merely "taxation with representation", the truth is that it was only one minor issue amongst many more serious issues. Injustice in the judicial system, Britain abusing it's powers and taking away the representative rights of the colonies, were far more foundational problems. Taxation without representation was merely a symptom of deeper issues that involves Britain abusing the colonists, denying them various fundamental rights and due process, and moving to give them no say in their own governance. These are things the colonists had historically enjoyed, but which were coming under increasing attack as the Britain tried to assert more direct control over the colonies. Something people don't know is that taxation without representation was only the 17th problem listed in the Declaration of Independence, out of 27 issues, and was only a minor mention compared with the numerous mentions of other abuses.

3. George Washington is depicted as someone with flexible morality (portraying him as someone who is committing some kind of great offense against a business owner by using his boats, when historically he wrote a letter to the governor of the state requesting all boats be put on a particular side of the river, with no suggestion that people thought this was some undue burden on their livelyhood in the dead of winter when the river would be frozen solid in a few days anyway). Moreso it depicts Washington as someone who would freely curse and even insult his generals in front of the men to make fun of them. None of that is true. In fact, Washington would discipline soldiers who were caught cursing. Washington is known historically to be a man of extraordinary good character, humility, and good will towards others. His saintly reputation of respect and admiration throughout our country's history is well deserved considering that his devote commitment to Christianity was the only thing that allowed him to hold power, govern justly, and then leave after eight years of his own choosing without having enriched himself in the process. France showed us, with Bonaparte, what happens when a man of lesser character gets that kind of power; crowning himself emperor and spending most of his reign drafting up the French population to fight wars. For the most part there are many positive aspects of Washington's character that comes out in Daniel's portrayal of him, which I appreciate. Unfortunately, like the film as a whole, this typifies what we see where there is a lot of good stuff going on with the film that is spoiled by the insertion of poisonous historical lies which would leave the viewer with a deeply flawed perspective of the American revolution.

These are not just minor historical foibles or creative license that can be overlooked. The first two issues especially undermine the core purpose and nature of the revolution. Given that, I must give it 1 star, despite it's entertainment value, because it has no redeeming value as historical storytelling. I would not recommend anyone watch this to learn more about what happened, without knowing about these key flaws beforehand. Nor would I use it as a teaching aid, as historical movies sometimes are, because of these fatal errors in the film. Like rat poison, the poison of historical lies may not take up much of the screen time compared with the totality of the film, but what little is there is lethal to enabling someone to come away from the film with a truthful understanding of our history. The nature of these lies would undermine's someone trust in the founding principles of our country if believed; if they thought it was nothing but a fight over taxes and our most revered founder were not even that committed to living by the principles he was suppose to be fighting for. I can see no other reason for these lies to be inserted other than for the purpose of undermining people's respect and appreciation for the country they have inherited.

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Must Watch

Author: Pushpraj
1 June 2016

I watched this movie from YouTube. It's beautiful movie and must watch for all of you. The Crossing is a 2000 historical TV film about George Washington crossing the Delaware River and the Battle of Trenton, directed by Robert Harmon The film opens with the retreat of the Continental Army across New Jersey during the American Revolutionary War, after repeated losses and defeats during the campaign of 1776. The film claims that none of Washington's men were killed or even wounded. However, the Army's standard military history textbook, ROTCM 145-20, "American Military History 1607-1958," states on page 61 that in fact two were killed in action, two were wounded, and two men froze to death during the operation. I have YouTube link of this movie. You can watch and enjoy -

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A film worthy of the event

Author: Fluke_Skywalker from United States
9 July 2015

The American Revolution tends to get the short end of the stick when it comes to Hollywood, but thankfully A&E had the courage and foresight to adapt author Howard Fast's dramatization of the single most important moment of the war; General George Washington's march on Trenton, New Jersey.

If you only know Jeff Daniels from films like 'Dumb and Dumber', you're in for a bit of a surprise here. Daniels makes for an outstanding Washington, delivering his lines with authority and gravitas. He is surrounded by an outstanding supporting cast, particularly Sebastian Roché as John Glover.

The battle scenes are certainly solid, but its the drama where 'The Crossing' really shines.

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A Mesmerizing History Piece

Author: denis888 from Russian Federation
26 August 2012

I loved that simple, not overloaded with special effects, straight and very honest movie. The American revolutionary war was full of great events and the Crossing of Delaware in 1776 is one of those. The filmmakers did a decent job by depicting the gruesome and tiresome movements to the battle, the battle itself and its aftermath. Jeff Daniels is one of my all-time favorite actors, and here he shines as General Washington. His part is convincing, deep, decent and very real to life, He is a man of flesh and blood and he does what any officer will do in his stead. The film is dark, it really manages to show the coldness of winter, the harsh conditions, the hunger and misery of the army before the battle. It does show the brutal naked reality of war with its cold-blood cynicism and simple strife for survival. This is a must see movie

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