The story of the first major battle of the American phase of the Vietnam War, and the soldiers on both sides that fought it, while their wives wait nervously and anxiously at home for the good news or the bad news.
A marksman living in exile is coaxed back into action after learning of a plot to kill the President. Ultimately double-crossed and framed for the attempt, he goes on the run to find the real killer and the reason he was set up.
When a multimillionaire man's son is kidnapped, he cooperates with the police at first but then turns the tables on the kidnappers when he uses the ransom money as a reward for the capture of the kidnappers.
Navy S.E.A.L. sniper Chris Kyle's pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield and turns him into a legend. Back home to his wife and kids after four tours of duty, however, Chris finds that it is the war he can't leave behind.
It is 1776 in colonial South Carolina. Benjamin Martin, a French-Indian war hero who is haunted by his past, now wants nothing more than to live peacefully on his small plantation, and wants no part of a war with the most powerful nation in the world, Great Britain. Meanwhile, his two eldest sons, Gabriel and Thomas, can't wait to enlist in the newly formed "Continental Army." When South Carolina decides to join the rebellion against England, Gabriel immediately signs up to fight...without his father's permission. But when Colonel William Tavington, British dragoon, infamous for his brutal tactics, comes and burns the Martin Plantation to the ground, tragedy strikes. Benjamin quickly finds himself torn between protecting his family, and seeking revenge along with being a part of the birth of a new, young, and ambitious nation.Written by
When teaching Mel Gibson and Heath Ledger how to shoot a muzzle-loading rifle, Technical Advisor Mark Baker gave them the advice to "aim small, miss small", meaning that if you aim at a man and miss, you miss the man, while if you aim at a button (for instance) and miss, you still hit the man. Gibson liked this bit advice so much, he incorporated it into the movie, just prior to the ambush scene. See more »
When the children are looking at Polaris (the North Star), modern light pollution can be seen. See more »
I have long feared that my sins would return to visit me, and the cost is more than I can bear.
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In the extended edition, Benjamin Martin's youngest children get their first taste of the horrors of war prior to the death of Thomas. This comes just before the evening when Gabriel stumbles home after being wounded in a nearby battle. Something (the viewer is unaware) catches the attention of the Martin children and they stride over to a nearby creek/river to investigate. What they discover are the bodies of several soldiers floating downstream. Martin then comes over and ushers the children back into the house. See more »
"The Patriot", the story of an American farmer who fights in the War of Independence, is sometimes used, together with "Braveheart", as evidence of a supposed anti-British prejudice on the part of Mel Gibson. This is perhaps unfair to Gibson, who has gone on record as supporting the ties between Australia and the British monarchy (hardly the stance of a Brit-hating bigot). Although "Braveheart", which he produced and directed, was very much Gibson's own pet project, he was neither the producer, director or scriptwriter of "The Patriot". Indeed, he was not even first choice to play the lead. The producers originally wanted Harrison Ford who turned the part down, reportedly because he felt that the script turned the American Revolution into the story of one man's quest for revenge.
Because of its anti-British stance, the film was badly received in Britain. One newspaper accused it of blackening the character of the British officer Banastre Tarleton who served as the inspiration for the villainous Colonel Tavington. One commentator went so far as to say that it was the sort of film that the Nazis might have made about the American Revolution had they won World War II. Unlike some of my fellow-countrymen, I was not too worried about this aspect of the film. The total death toll in the American War of Independence was remarkably low, not only by modern standards but even by the standards of other wars of this era, such as the Napoleonic War. Nevertheless, in every war ever fought there have been crimes on both sides, and the War of Independence was no exception. (The rebels could be as ruthless as the British, but none of their atrocities are shown in this film). Some of the deeds attributed to Tavington may be fictitious, such as the church-burning scene, but in real life Tarleton had a well-deserved reputation for brutality, and was not only loathed by the American colonists but also distrusted by his own side. In the film the British commander Lord Cornwallis is shown as outwardly gentlemanly and honourable, but prepared secretly to countenance Tavington's methods. In reality, Cornwallis wanted to have Tarleton court-martialled; Tarleton was only saved by his influential connections.
I did, however, have some reservations about the way these events were portrayed. It was originally intended to make the film about Francis Marion, a real-life figure. Unfortunately Marion, although undoubtedly courageous and a skilled guerrilla leader, was also a slave-owner (as any landowner of substance in 1770s South Carolina would have been) and was therefore deemed unworthy to be the hero of a modern blockbuster (even though a TV series about him was made in the fifties). His exploits, therefore, are credited to a fictitious "Benjamin Martin". The slavery issue could have been avoided by moving the action to, say, New England, but instead the film gives us a wholly unrealistic picture of race relations in the period. The black workers on Martin's land are all free men, and black and white live together in harmony, with black soldiers willingly fighting alongside whites in the Continental Army. This sort of dishonest, idealised portrayal of slavery was at one time common in films like "Gone with the Wind", but I thought that it had died out with the growth of the Civil Rights movement.
(Incidentally, a reason why so many Southerners supported the revolutionaries was that slavery had been declared illegal in Britain itself in 1771 and they feared that the British Parliament would eventually legislate to ban it in the colonies. Needless to say, there is no mention of this attitude in the film. In later life Tarleton became MP for Liverpool, and a vehement defender of slavery. In this, if in nothing else, he and Marion had something in common).
My other reservation about the film's political stance is similar to Ford's. The film probably concentrated so heavily on British brutality because it is difficult to interest a modern audience, even an American audience, in the actual reasons why the war was fought. It is easy to make out an intellectual case for the principle of "no taxation without representation", which had been part of British constitutional thought since at least the Civil War in the 1640s. It is much less easy to justify the spilling of blood in defence of that principle, and Martin, scarred by his experiences in the French and Indian Wars, is originally shown as a pacifist, unwilling to fight or to support the Declaration of Independence which he believes will lead to war. His son Gabriel, however, joins the Continental Army, but is wrongly accused of being a spy and threatened with execution. Tavington, believing Martin to be a rebel sympathiser, burns down his home and murders another son, Thomas. Martin is forced to take up arms to defend his family and then forms a guerrilla band which he leads against the British. Despite the title of the film, however, Martin is not really motivated by patriotism; he seems less a patriot than a pacifist who has abandoned his principles in order to seek revenge.
The film is attractively photographed, although I felt that it sometimes showed a sanitised, prettified version of eighteenth-century life. In some ways it reminded me of "The Last Samurai", another visually attractive epic flawed by a dishonest approach to history and by excessive length, although I would rate it slightly higher, largely because Gibson makes a more commanding and impressive epic hero than does Tom Cruise. From the viewpoint of anyone without patriotic preconceptions, it can be seen simply as an exciting (if overlong) adventure film- my wife, who is not British by birth, was cheering on Martin and booing Tavington. Nevertheless, its approach to history never gets beyond a simplified story of heroes and villains. 6/10
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