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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. http://www.wallbuilders.com/libissuesarticles.asp?id=24548 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.
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 - https://www.YouTube.com/watch?v=v84cCdbejkU
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
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.
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
I'm giving "The Crossing" five stars on the merits of it telling an
important story, and the solid performances turned in by Roger Rees,
Sebastian Roche and a few others. But the film is seriously compromised
by three things.
First, it's an absolutely bog-standard Hollywood treatment of a historical event, pulling together every trope in the industry (and underscoring how you're supposed to feel with insistent mood music at every turn).
Second, although the Hessian troops were certainly worthy of concern, a far worse enemy was the weather. From all accounts, the weather that night was horrific -- practically a blizzard -- with snow, sleet, high winds and huge chunks of ice floating down the swiftly-moving Delaware River to contend with. In fact, the snow was falling so heavily and the winds were so strong that the Hessians at Trenton actually canceled guard duty for the night because they would be unable to see or hear anything more than a few feet in front of them! (And in reality, they weren't drunk or hung-over; they were exhausted from not sleeping because they did indeed expect the Continental Army to attack; deserters had tipped them off that Washington was planning to attack, but no one knew when.) Does the film reflect this godawful weather? Nope, it has characters saying that they're cold, there's some rain, and (in one scene) there's a dusting of snow on the grass. That's it. The river is placid, winds are calm, there's no snow or ice floes. Absurd! Could the studio really not afford to give us some fake snow or styrofoam "ice floes"?!
But the worst thing about "The Crossing" is Jeff Daniels' depiction of Washington. To begin with, the script portrays Washington unlike reality. For example, when General Rall asks to surrender his sword directly to Washington, Washington refuses to accept it and wants to send a subordinate in his place. His aide tells him that he must go and accept it, as that's part of the honor code of officers. Newsflash to the filmmakers: George Washington was an officer in the British Army long before he was a revolutionary; he certainly would've known the proper protocol for surrendering. Indeed, there is no historical basis for this part of the film; it seems to have been invented out of whole cloth.
Even worse is Daniels' evocation of Washington's character, which runs contrary to every contemporary account from his friends, which show him as a man impossible to anger -- circumspect, taciturn and reserved; a man who preferred to talk as little as he could get away with, and when he did, he used neutral and carefully-chosen words. Daniels mischaracterizes Washintgon's temperament and manner of speech, and he also brings none of the necessary gravitas to the role. Washington may have been a man of few words, but he also cut a very imposing figure in his bearing. Daniels' Washington appears as a rather small man with a bad temperament, and no amount Daniels' grimacing or attempts to chew the scenery can make up for it. On those grounds, "The Crossing" is, unfortunately, a failure.
While I was struck by how powerful of a moment in history this was, I'd
have to downgrade my rating due to a couple of things. The graphic
nature of some of the violence was perhaps more than necessary;
however, what disturbed me most was the out-of-character tolerance of
profanity among the men and worse than that, his own use of profanity.
On August 3rd, 1776, General George Washington was so distressed by the use of swearing and cursing among his men that he issued the following order to all of his troops: "The General is sorry to be informed that the foolish, and wicked practice, of profane cursing and swearing (a Vice heretofore little known in an American Army) is growing into fashion; he hopes the officers will, by example, as well as influence, endeavour to check it, and that both they, and the men will reflect, that we can have little hopes of the blessing of Heaven on our Arms, if we insult it by our impiety, and folly; added to this, it is a vice so mean and low, without any temptation, that every man of sense, and character, detests and despises it."
A great injustice has been done by portraying George Washington's character in a manner that is far less than he really was. I have not idealized him either, but know that some aspects of how he has been characterized are not accurate. How much more rich it would have been to have included such a quote in this movie, but do the producers see that this wouldn't be entertaining enough or maybe they shaped his character more so according to what they thought he must have been like? Why not seek to dig deeper to bring challenge for those today to consider the character of a man that is rarely seen in Washington today? What a lost opportunity to have made this movie of an unsurpassed quality.
Read for yourselves about the real George Washington and be careful not to succumb to Hollywood's depiction.
Good movies covering the Revolutionary War are few and I'd be surprised how
many of any value are out there. I enjoyed the acting and excellent
representation of all the historical figures in "The Crossing".
I'm juxtaposed to the stand that one viewer represents because there is no way to sugarcoat war, pretend that brutality didn't exist, nor disguise any profanity with "oh piffles". All things considered, it wasn't at all anything like the way other wars were portrayed.
Just remember to turn the TV off when little ones are around, or video tape it so you can watch it when they are asleep. To create an historical slice of life and portray it in a whitewashed manner would be an injustice and totally inaccurate. Not to mention the incorrect perception that older youth will get as to what war is all about. That would be the biggest lie of all.
I saw The Crossing about 4 months ago in History class, since we were
studying about the Revolutionary War and about George Washington
crossing the Delaware river. I was surprised of how accurate it was. I
mean almost everything in it was the truth. The performances were
really good and Jeff Daniels played a great role as George Washington.
Overall, a good little film or TV show that was very entertaining. If
you also like violence in films, you will be sure to like this one
because there are enough violence to look at but I guess if you don't
really like violence, then I don't think this is a film to see. I
recommend it to a lot of people.
Hedeen's Outlook: 8/10 *** B
I usually don't like history movies, however, this film showed me a different side of history that I enjoyed to learn about. There are plenty of satirical remarks that keeps the movie a little less conservative. However, if you do not like blood or gore, there is a little bit of gruesome tone to certain parts of this film. There is also some inappropriate language so it is not recommended for small students. I enjoyed the movie and recommend it to anyone who likes or even dislikes History movies. My congratulations to the entire cast and crew who made this film what it is!
This movie is a great blood and guts war flick as well as a good historical drama. The director creates a realistic setting at the original location, Trenton, NJ. The movie explores difficulties Washington overcame to keep the Revolutionary Army together. There is some graphic violence, however, it is brief. A movie that you can enjoy if you watch it ten times over.
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