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Liked it - see below
cleverfox2 April 2008
Just watched this movie for about the 20th time (I have it on TiVo) and for the life of me I cannot find the disdain many who have written here have commented on. Last I heard, this was FICTION - NOT a documentary; Ken Burns did not produce not write nor direct nor narrate this piece - Roland Emmerich, a man known for action FICTION did. Yes the depiction of the Revolutionary War was NOT 100% accurate but was never intended to be; just a drama set against the background of a war and it was refreshing to see the war in the background, whereupon American blood is spilled on American soil, was the Revolutionary War and not another Civil War piece; indeed, the Civil War has been played so many times in films over the past quarter century it was just refreshing to see a different war....

Being somewhat of a military historian I will say that the depiction of soldiers going musket to musket in the open field was indeed accurate; many may find it interesting to know that according to the gentlemanly practices of King George's army, both sides would also recess for tea at noon every day and resume the fighting afterwards - guerrilla warfare was not popular during the day which is why Gibson's militia unit was so overtly successful early on. That being said, the comments about the accuracy with the muskets are fairly accurate but I will say that I only see straight barrel musket rifles - none of the bell shape tipped muskets; the longer you keep a projectile on a straight course the more accuracy at longer ranges despite the lack of rifling grooves in the barrels (I spent time on Rifle Teams for 5 years). The prime inaccuracy I noted was when Tavington shot the rider (running away on horseback) in the back with a musket pistol at probably 40 yards or more - so unlikely, it tarnished the whole scene.

My favorite person - Billings; Leon Rippey's cynical, almost giggly snickering laugh completely stole the every scene where it was used and he is a long term favorite actor of mine; Jason Isaacs absolutely best screen villain of this movie (and perhaps in top 10 screen villains of all time).

I guess it boils down to "different strokes for different folks" we all have our opinions on this and I've aired mine.
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Thoroughly entertaining
karier134 September 2001
I have been a Mel Gibson fan since his very good Mad Max and his horrible Summer City. I loved this movie and it is in my top ten favorites of all time. Mel is very believable as Benjamin Martin who fights only after he looses one son to death and one son to the army. Heath Ledger plays Gabriel Martin who goes to fight for his country despite his father's protests. I know that not all of the facts are historically correct but this is a movie and did not claim to be a history lesson. The period is portrayed very well and the battle scenes are so well done that you almost feel you are there. This movie is very graphic in the battles and if you do not like the sight of blood and other realistic battle scenes then this might not be the movie for you. I watched the entire movie and did not realize the length. I was so engrossed in the plots.
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Heroes and Villains
JamesHitchcock9 March 2007
"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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Not as Bad as I Remember, but still has Issues
Raptorclaw1554 July 2020
The Patriot is a film that I've always had mixed feelings about. After seeing it again recently, I think I have a more coherent idea of how I feel about this film.

To sum this film up neatly, it is a retelling of the story we know in Braveheart, with some alterations and being slightly worse.

From a historical standpoint, The Patriot is about as historically accurate as Braveheart - that meaning that it really isn't. By now, many have already meticulously picked apart its inaccuracies so I won't really dwell on it too much. But as a piece of popular cinema, I don't think this film's intention is to be historically accurate anyway.

The Patriot is an impressive looking film, I believe. The action sequences are exciting to watch and the scale of the battles are appropriate enough where there aren't noticeable CGI people also partaking in the fight.

Speaking of the CG effects, they are looking a bit dated now. Some of the computer generated blue screen backgrounds don't look very convincing, especially when they go to Charles Town at the beginning of the film. But since the shots don't dwell too much on them, it's not too bi a deal, I believe.

The acting performances aren't bad at all. Mel Gibson found his niche after Braveheart and went with it and his performance here translates incredibly well. The actors that portray the various British officers in this film do put on a bit of a James Bond villain performance and it does get a little distracting, but there is some complexity in the writing at times that makes up for that in those moments.

It's also to be noted that the soundtrack for this film is amazing. Of course, this is the work of John Williams and it goes extraordinarily well when paired with this film. It is the shining aspect of this film and I cannot compliment it enough. It has to be one of the more underrated works John Williams has done.

Where this film ultimately loses me is when it comes to the issue of slavery. I understand this is among the myriad of other historical inaccuracies with this film, but it's this particular aspect of American history that really hurts it the most. The most obvious example of this is when the workers on Martin's farm say that they work his land but are not slaves. It is also framed in this film that the British army offering freedom to any slave who serves with them is a bad thing, but later when the American army announces something similar, suddenly it's righteous. This, of course, wasn't the case and it's very misleading. There's a scene in the film where Gabriel makes a promise that once the British are defeated, the old world will be pushed out and a new world can be built; one where all people are free. This is so obviously untrue but the film ignores it. As a result, it feels like the one slave character shown in the whole film is duped into serving with the continentals just to be enslaved again once the eventual government decides, through inaction, that slavery is necessary. I get images of the American Civil War in my mind every time I see that scene, and it's that scene that really hurts this film the most- but ironically enough, maybe the most accurate part of it...

The Patriot is interesting. I feel it's a bit long. Granted, I'm just coming from seeing the extended cut but I do think this film could have gone without some things. Not horrible if you're looking for a fictional story that takes place in a real time in history. Just don't use it as an educational tool unless you're going to talk about the uniforms and clothing of that period.
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Well worth seeing - and accurate on many fronts
Movie Steve26 July 2000
The Patriot is NOT a documentary. It didn't pretend to be, and wasn't. Loosely based upon Francis Marion (the "Swamp Fox"), it only touched on Marion's impact on the Revolution in South Carolina. If anything, it was downplayed. For instance, in real life, he had over 150 men in his guerrilla band. The movie portrayed him as having far fewer. As a documentary, it fails on this and many other points. As a movie, it is a tremendous success.

As far as visuals, they were stunning. The wide-open vistas and battle scenes were breath-taking and beautifully filmed. Yes, it was violent, but that lent a realism to the film that most other films about this era lack. The look and feel of this period was portrayed well.

The acting was superb. I won't give anything away, but this did NOT (arguably) have either an entirely "Hollywood" plot – people, including civilians, DIE, as they do in war – or much of a "Hollywood" ending, despite a relatively happy one. That was impressive, and made the film genuine, exciting and at times, shocking. Plot points such as Benjamin Martin's youngest daughter's feelings about her daddy, and the romance between his son and a young girl were touching, and even emotional.

I found some things complain about. Crisp, clean, brand-new Colonial American flags suddenly appear after, and during, the final battle. In reality they would have been rags by then – or at least not so clean. One bad bit of dialogue: Benjamin Martin is on the beach with his sister-in- law, and he asks if he can sit down. Her reply, "It's a free country – or will be soon," was a 20th century throw-away line dressed up with a 1780 caveat, and I cringed at it.

The film was historically accurate in many respects. The formal way of speaking, plus the family-above-all, loyalty-to-The-Cause attitudes expressed throughout, were genuine, even though both are out of favor today. Children using weapons, and going off to fight on a moment's notice, was not an uncommon story, and supposedly happened in a branch of my own family. Relationships like Martin's and his wife's sister did occur, often out of necessity. I was surprised to read afterwards that the battle tactics of the last scene occurred, almost exactly as shown, at the Battle of Cowpens, including fierce hand-to-hand combat. Colonel Banastre Tarleton – the basis for the movie's character William Tavington – was indeed seen as a war criminal by American colonists at the time, and the real Tarleton even had a horse shot out from under him!

But was it biased? Sure it was. Roughly a third of the American colonists were Loyalists, another third were "rebels", and another third were undecided. It would have made the story more complete and complex to portray this (or the time Tarleton mistakenly slaughtered some of those very Loyalists!) But I've read a poem online ("Ode to Valour") dedicated to Col. Banastre Tarleton's "heroic exploits" that would shame modern-day propagandists.

I think we all accept that not every British officer of this era was a monster. In fact, in the movie – as in real life - Cornwallis and other British officers were appalled that the "Ghost"/Swamp Fox did not play by the rules of "civilized warfare", and chastised characters like Tavington who also breached them. The real Swamp Fox knew a bit about balance, however. After after the war, when the real Francis Marion served in the South Carolina Senate, he is said to have advocated a lenient policy toward the Loyalists. The real Tarleton survived the war, went home to write his memoirs, was seen as a hero, and was elected to Parliament. Maybe we need a sequel to cover all of these other aspects of the story. Until then, this one is a must- see.
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Best Movie
Chris2003512 June 2001
"The Patriot" was an amazing thrill ride. With outstanding performances from Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, and many others, "The Patriot" was hands down the best movie i have ever seen. The old revolutionary war scenes and battles make this movie a tremendous action film. It is also topped off with some amazing drama. The acting in this movie was just unbelievable, which helps make this the best War Movie i have ever seen.
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Here's Mel to give the Brits an inaccurate historical thrashing, again...
hitchcockthelegend1 August 2009
The Patriot is based around one Benjamin Martin, an ex-soldier, who now happily living as a family man finds himself thrust into conflict at the break of the American Revolution.

He loves the Brits does Mel Gibson, "Gallipoli", "Braveheart" and here with "The Patriot", see the pattern anyone? As with the aforementioned "Gallipoli" and "Braveheart", certain liberties have also been taken with events in "The Patriot" so as to glossy up for the eager Hollywood contingent. It's not my want to scribble about the facts of Benjamin Martin (Re: Francis Marion), or William Wallace for that matter, information as such is but a mere click away on the world wide web.

So casting aside the artistic licence factors, is "The Patriot" any good? Well nearly it is -- nearly. Gibson is fine, he shoulders the burden of the film with great gusto and no shortage of emotional depth. It's very easy to accept him as a staunch family man who transforms into a blood thirsty warrior. The problems, acting wise, lay away from Gibbo's central performance. Surrounded by caricature villains (though Jason Isaacs' Tavington is deliciously vile) and underwritten characters (Chris Cooper wasted and Joely Richardson is but a mere prop), Gibson has no choice but to hog the screen. So much so it ultimately turns into a one man star vehicle, which for a costume war epic isn't a great thing really.

Roland Emmerich ("Independence Day" and "Godzilla") directs and handles the battle sequences very well, there's lashings of blood as men line up to shoot and dismember one and other. While cannonball's whizz, bang and tear off body parts, it's grim, yet oddly rousing stuff. Not even the overtly flag waving and sloganeering on show can off set the impact of the well constructed battles. There is of course lots of tragedy to be found in the film, and these are some what surprisingly, tenderly handled by Emmerich, but mostly it's via an on song Gibson, who remains one of the few modern day male actors capable of believable grief. All of this is given a John Williams score that suitably flits between rousing and ethereal, and things are further boosted by the sumptuous photography from Caleb Deschanel.

There should have been more thought given to the racial (slaves) aspects in the conflict, and this coupled with the bad errors of under developed characters hurts "The Patriot" as a filmic exercise, not so as to stop it being entertaining, but more to stop it being a one man show. But as it is, thanks in the main to Gibson, and in spite of the overtly evident faults, it's an above average drama. 6/10
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Despite it's being fiction, it is certainly good entertainment
ech26 October 2000
Whenever I see a film that is supposed to have historical basis, I am always a bit surprised to find out how much people complain about historical inaccuracies. I admit that I have done so in a few cases myself (Thin Red Line). However, in this case, I feel I must point out a few things.

All such films come with a disclaimer saying something to the effect that the characters portrayed aren't real and the story is just that, a story. For entertainment. Martin and Tavington did not actually exist, they are merely characters, possibly based (as has been suggested) on actual historical figures. I often wonder if such films as Treasure of the Sierra Madre, or Rio Grande, or just about any western flick was judged so harshly when it came out as we judge 'historical' pictures today? Or any pirate film? Zorro? Any film with knights in it? It seems to me that unless you are making a documentary, the historical accuracy doesn't truly matter in detail. Certainly, I enjoy films better when they seem to be a reasonably accurate portrayal of a time (costumes, technologies), but I don't carp about whether some person existed. Even if they did, I expect the film to be untrue so I can be entertained. For example, most wars are not constant fighting. Certainly some battles went on for days at a time, but there is a lot of waiting and a lot of marching. Yet most war films seem to be battle after battle after battle, with no real respite except for the wounded. Not so. How about some facts? Fact: Americans fought against themselves during the war. Many Americans served with the British forces. Fact: There were in fact many atrocities committed by the British forces, rapes, property burning, etc. Don't believe me? Check out the history of what happened to the original signers of the Declaration of Independence, their families and their properties. That's actual history, not just entertainment history. Of course, this wasn't only limited to the British forces. According to Massachusetts history, the Revolutionary forces (not necessarily the armed forces even) were, um, not kind to people who sympathized with the British. The tavern recruitment scene suggests this quite well. Were churches actually burned with a town's population inside. Maybe, maybe not, but it certainly was dramatic, wasn't it? Fact: Literacy was not as common at that time as it is today. Many people, especially the lower classes, and slaves could not read.

Did Cornwallis have a pair of great danes that were 'captured' by the enemy? I doubt it, but possibly. Were slaves that served in either army freed after a certain term of service? Again, I don't know. (I am not even certain that slavery was allowed in Britain at the time. Indentured servants, I think yes (though the difference is slight, I grant you), but actual slavery, hmm. I'll have to check on that.) The colonies typically did form their own militias for local use. The americans did, as a general rule, fight using more guerilla tactics (especially early on, the american forces were composed largely of more militia than regulars, see below for comments on militia), check the accounts of the battle of Concord, and what happened to the British forces as they withdrew.

War is brutal and ugly. People die. Many of the soldiers don't want to be there. Militia, being less well trained and thus disciplined, does have a tendency to fight very poorly in set piece battles (check current and past arguments for keeping a 'standing' 'professional' army).

Ignoring the historical accuracies or lack thereof (and btw, Braveheart was not 100% accurate either, though the main characters , Wallace, Robert the Bruce, King Edward, did all exist, but again, I don't seem to recall people complaining so loudly about that) I found Mel's character to be believable and well portrayed. Yes, there were elements of Hollywood happiness in the film (the beach town, he workers attitudes, the romances) and Hollywood sadness' in the film (the massacre, the child's death), but it was very entertaining. I found many of the battles to be very realistic (okay, pistols WERE NOT that accurate and never have been) and sufficiently entertaining for my needs.

Overall, a very good film. Hollywood, certainly, but entertaining.
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Not everyone has background knowledge
neil-4764 March 2008
Me, I'm not bothered - a piece of colourful escapist nonsense. A popcorn movie, as the producers say. As a Brit in his 50s, the substantial liberties taken with history don't keep me awake at night, because I realise they are simply dramatic licence.

Then I find myself in "discussion" on a website - to do with popular music, nothing to do with film - with a young American gentleman, and a jocular remark suddenly sends him off on a tirade, the gist of which is that he hates the British because of the atrocities we committed during the War of Independence, and he knows this to be the case because he saw it for himself when he watched The Patriot.

OK, so the lad is clearly a bit lacking in the Education Department, and has been even more substantially short-changed in the Common Sense Department, but that doesn't change the fact that he - and, presumably, a not inconsiderable number of others like him - have taken this pile of poo on board as fact.

I don't know what the answer is. Better education? More responsible film-making? Cull the dimwits? (I'm allowed to make this suggestion, after all, I'm a Brit and you know the sort of evil murderous thugs we are - just watch The Patriot!)

Answers on a postcard.
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An Amazing Film
po5mrk29 June 2000
"The Patriot" may very well be labeled this year's "Saving Private Ryan". While the two films are strikingly different, they share the common theme of American patriotism and this country's stand on independence. "The Patriot" gives an idea of the kind of hardships settlers faced in the war for our independence.

The casting of "The Patriot" was brilliant! Mel Gibson once again gives us a moving performance as Ben Martin, a passionate man that is trying desperately to keep his family together after the death of his wife. Perhaps one of the more surprisingly superb performances is that of Heath Ledger (10 Things I Hate about You) as Gabriel Martin, the stubborn oldest son of the Martin family. These two stars lead the cast in teaching such lessons as what it means to be a patriot and a hero, the cost of freedom, and the value of family.

"The Patriot" is a well written story that is guaranteed to give you goosebumps. After seeing this movie, Independence Day will take on a new meaning for everyone.
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An epic and moving film with big name cast , emotion , violence , and impressive battles
ma-cortes15 June 2021
Spectacular and breathtaking film about the American Independence War dealing with an enjoyable family and the tragic events happening along the way . Benjamin Martin : Mel Gibson is a conscientious objector due to previous wars he suffered and he is nowadays a widower of seven children : Heath Ledger , Logan Lerman , Gregory Smith, Mika Boorem, Sky Bartusiak , Trevor Morgan ... He is a former guerrilla soldier who just wants to raise his family in peace . Unfortunately , local Redcoats as Col. Tavington : Jason Isaacs , underlings : Adam Baldwin , and commander-in-chief : Tom Wilkinson have other ideas . When Martin's idealistic soldier son Gabriel : Aussie Ledger is captured , daddy gets caught in action . What would you do if they destroyed your home , threatened your family . Where would you draw the line ? Before they were soldiers , they were family . Before they were legends , they were heroes . Before there was a nation , there was a fight for freedom . Some things are worth fighting for .

Revolutionary War vengeance pic with thrills , noisy action , overwhelming fights and well-played . The main character and central axis of the movie results to be Benjamin Martin/Mel Gibson, magnificently performed , as a bloodied veteran of the French and Indian Wars , and a few years later a pacifist , but his pacifism owes as much to pragmatism as conviction to defend and care his several children . A violently idealist movie dealing with historical events about the Independence War , battles between Colonians and British army . Alongside the great Mel Gibson appears the early deceased Heath Ledger and a large cast of secondaries giving sensational performances , such as : Chris Cooper , Tom Wilkinson, Joely Richardson , Tcheky Karyo , Donald Logue , Adam Baldwin, Leon Rippy , Rene Auberjonois and special mention for Jason Issacs providing a really baddie role as sadistic colonel.

Adding a rousing and attractive musical score from maestro John Williams, Steven Spielberg's regular. As well as colorful and brilliant cinematography from Caleb Deschanel. This overlong , bloody and melodramatic motion picture was compellingly produced -along with Dean Devlin- and directed by Roland Emmerich (The Day after tomorrow , Godzilla , Independence Day , Stargate , Universal Soldier , Moon 44 , Ghost Chase, Joey) . Rating : 7.5/10. Better than average . The flick will appeal to Mel Gibson fans . Worthwhile watching .
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Very Well Done
evanmatthews5329 October 2008
As a fan of historical films, I really enjoyed the movie " The Patriot" starring Mel Gibson who skillfully portrays the role of an American colonial during the Revolutionary War. Actors like Gibson have a talent for making history come alive on screen and engaging the audience. The movie held my interest. It was never dull or slow. The sets were just great and I often felt like I was in the middle of a battlefield. I loved the flashes of color, cannons blazing, colonial flags waving, the columns of British soldiers dressed in their best and brightest uniforms and the array of women and children who were colorful parts of colonial America. All in all, this was well worth the watch and a real change from the usual long list of action packed, special effects films which are a bit overdone.
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An entertaining movie but not a history lesson
A2Z4 July 2000
Brig. Gen. Francis Marion, the historical person that Mel Gibson's character is loosely based on was a true war hero and patriot. The ones who are denigrating his legacy are mostly British `historians' and those who are too stupid or lazy to do their own research.

Actually, Mel Gibson's Benjamin Martin is a composite of 3 historical characters: one of course was Francis Marion the `Swamp Fox'; another was an illiterate backwoods general, Daniel Morgan, who encouraged the militia at the battle of Cowpens (final battle enacted in the movie) to stand their ground against the British; and the third was a cavalry officer, William Washington, who pursued Tarleton after Cowpens and fought him in hand-to-hand combat, which they both barely survived.

Gen. Marion used tactics that the Brits termed `ungentlemanly' for warfare, but he got the job done, just as the Viet Cong did 200 years later against our own GI's. Marion knew, because of his lack of manpower, equipment, and experienced soldiers, he couldn't take on the superior British forces using outmoded and quaint European-style warfare (in fact, this idiotic style of warfare continued up until WWI). The movie depicts this very well. So Gen. Marion wisely used the only tactics left to him – hit-and-run, which he learned from fighting the Cherokees during the French and Indian Wars.

The movie's villainous Lt. Col. Tavington, who is also loosely based on Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton, is not too far from the truth, though a little over the top.

It was during the retreat of Waxhaws that Tarleton came to symbolize British cruelty in the Revolutionary War. Tarleton was seen as a "butcher" when American forces under Col. Abraham Buford laid down their arms in an attempt to surrender yet the British continued their assault. From then on, his reputation grew and `Tarleton's quarter', in effect, came to mean "no quarter".

In the tradition of the day, after the surrender at Yorktown, American officers hosted the defeated Cornwallis and other British officers at their respective tables. But no American invited Tarleton nor would any eat with him. Tarleton asked if the omission was accidental, and he was told that, indeed it was not, because of his past atrocities.

Tarleton lived a long life, condoning his use of total war – burning houses, destroying crops, the end justifying the means. He also would never admit to any fault at Cowpens, saying he was `outnumbered' and received inadequate assistance from Cornwallis. He wondered, "how some unforeseen event" could "throw terror into the most disciplined soldiers".

I didn't go into this movie for a history lesson but to be entertained, and I was, but after reading some of the inaccurate and illiterate reviews, I found it necessary to give a `history lesson'! The movie wasn't perfect – it was cloying and obvious at times, but I give it high marks for effort and for bringing to the screen an important part of American history that has received disparate treatment in movies, and I think Devlin & Emmerich can now be forgiven for Godzilla.
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A Travesty of History
andrew-lyall20 February 2010
Let us be clear about this. The burning of the church is a lie. It did not take place. The film, not the church, is the atrocity. Let us also get a few things straight about the American Revolution. It was fought on these issues 1. The colonists refused to contribute to the cost of their own defence (and no, that is not a spelling mistake) from the French, which had been paid for in British money and the lives of her young men. 2. It was fought so that the colonists could break out from the colonies in the East and invade Indian territory which the British Crown - George III - has designated as Native Title. Jefferson is well-documented as have his eyes set on the West. 3 In the south it was fought to maintain slavery. Most blacks fought on the British side and for good reason. They had heard of the Case of Sommersett v Stewart in which Lord Mansfield, chief justice of the King's Bench had granted habeas corpus to James Sommersett who was a slave in Virginia and had been taken to England. The Anti-Slave Trade Movement was also gaining ground in Great Britain. The film tells Americans what they want to hear. If you don't like the truth, don't make films about history.
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Pure pain for the viewer.
dakboyd21 November 2004
The popularity of this film embarrasses me. As an American and a student of history, I watched this movie with overwhelming nausea. The characters are one-dimensional stereotypes, the plot is predictably cheesy, and the script could have been written by my 13-year-old cousin. Mel is a revolutionary war 'action hero' in the vein of Rambo or the Terminator. Undaunted by his mere flesh wounds, he single-handedly wipes out an entire squad of British troops. He's a one man wrecking machine, rolling over the 'evil' British troops in a film that similarly rolls/glosses over the realities of the American Revolution. An overly corny, patriotic schlock-fest. 1/10
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Never realized that I would love it so much!
amierob20 February 2001
I was hesitant to see this movie due to the violence I had heard about. Yes, the movie is violent. But it is also fantastic.

I love Mel Gibson as a family man. He's always a great hero, but he displayed a warm, compassionate side too. His scene crying over his son will break your heart.

I cannot recommend this film enough. My only regret is that a PG version is not also put out, so that younger viewers can also see it.
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conqueror627 October 2000
This movie is one of the best i've ever seen and i've seen alot. I was so moved by this movie that I became teary eyed. That has not happened in a long time.
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avanhame22 July 2000
After reading the reviews, I felt it necessary to see the film. It was well produced, acted, and the music all complemented each other. While some history was skewed, the storyline kept you waiting for the movement forward. I found this film to be a well worth time investment, and when available in DVD I will purchase it for my film library.
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Do we look like idiots?
zgambit5 March 2002
As an American, I felt ashamed when I watched this movie. How must our British friends over the Atlantic feel when our movie industry produces a piece of historically inaccurate trash such as this? For any Brits reading this I can assure you that the assumptions made by this film are not the general opinion in our country (though this movie's performance at the box-office might suggest otherwise). Some of us have actually studied the events surrounding the war of independence and might feel that the British should NOT have been portrayed as Nazis. Unfortunately they are - despite the fact that they abolished slavery before us, a fact which proves they were more humane than we were at the time but which is lamely demonstrated in this movie. I've been to London recently and the Brits are amazingly tolerant about propaganda like this (not to mention Austin Powers). Luckily their famous sense of humor is alive and well. The whole film is an insult to the collective intelligence of the American people and that is enough to overshadow any positives aspects the movie might possess.
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Ridiculous self-indulgent rubbish
Orlando17 July 2000
I've never seen a film with such astonishing revisionist tendencies as The Patriot. Its slamming of the child-eating, church-burner, deviant British is pure racism, and based on eschewing American cultural responsibility for things like slavery. In the film the claymationalike Gabriel says something facetious like, "we are fighting for a new world, and things will be new in it, not like that silly old old world where they have slavery. we'll not have any of that in the good old US of A"...

The fact that the British outlawed slavery forty years before America apparently means nothing. And the fact that when the country actually got around to it they actually had to have another whole war because one side really wanted to keep African Americans in chains - these things mean nothing to the creators of the Patriot, who are only interested in playing the evil, corrupt, power crazed, racist big monarchist bad guys against the simple farmer folk who love black people and freedom and don't really even WANT to fight and who are actually Australian in upbringing.

As films go, this one is insulting to all concerned, and particularly insulting to history and vague formless notions like TRUTH and JUSTICE (and through association, we would LIKE to assume, the American way)...
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Step into history
abrailey-121-1168479 April 2020
There are movies that are historically perfect and there are those that sweep you into the history. This is the latter. The main character is a compilation of people, not all events happened perfectly as they were portrayed, but at the end, my students understand the sacrifice, emotion, struggle, and the events of a major battle for their test. They realize that the men and women who built our nation were real. They lived, loved, fought, sacrificed-many even died-and the rest got up another day to do it all again. Truly can not recommend this enough. (Though if blood makes you squeamish, watch it with me so I can tell you when not to look or to step into the Hall--what I do with my students...)
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Roland and Mel deliver
Nedla2415 September 2000
I was expecting Gladiator to be Braveheart 2, but that title goes to The Patriot. What this movie has above all other movies this summer is a script. Robert Rodat, who penned Saving Private Ryan, paints this Revolutionary drama with wonderfully broad strokes, but does not forget the human aspect. Mel Gibson shows his acting chops in a characer similar to Wallace, but far more complex. However, it is Jason Isaacs that, in the spirit of Alan Rickman and Tim Roth, steals the show with his deliciously evil portrayal of Col. Tavington. What separates this epic apart from the other summer movies is Rodat's wonderful ability to evoke several different emotions. Rodat wonderfully establishes many bonds and then breaks them abruptly with the death and destruction of war. Truly there is more suffering in this movie than I have seen in almost any, and it makes the payoff at the end (you were aware that we actually win the war right?) that much better. Emmerich also is able to capture the essence of combat tactics of the day. Be it the minute-man behind the bushes style, or the open field style Emmerich milks every dramatic possibility from these old style battle tactics. All this combines to make a wonderful movie that should not be forgotten come Oscar time (especially Isaacs).
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Distorted and disturbing view of the American Revolution.
cpm-312 January 2001
This movie is so distasteful that it doesn't even work as an amusing/escapist diversion. They had a chance to reach a wide audience (and perhaps provide a little insight). Instead the film caters to everything that is wrong with "Amerika." Most offensive is Martin's reason for fighting: He doesn't care until it it becomes personal. I'm reminded of the Phil Ochs quote (describing American liberals) - "Ten degrees to the left of center in good times, 10 degrees to the right if it effects them personally." Don't waste your time: If you want to see a great war film (dealing with rebellion against tyranny) - go watch Secondløitnanten (1993) (finally available on video/DVD). If you want to see a film about the triumph of the American spirit - rent "Cradle Will Rock," "Reds," or even "Dave."
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Hollywood at its worst
Future_War_Fan4 May 2001
I went into the movie theater without knowing that the director of "The Patriot" was Roland Emmerich. I wish I only knew... now I wouldn't feel bad for giving my money to this kind of movie.

"The Patriot" is, by all accounts, Roland Emmerich's worst film. And I have seen Godzilla, Independence Day, and the decent Stargate... well ok, almost decent.

Seriously, Emmerich is a hack, and it's depressing to see that his movies still make money despite getting worse and worse. Not that this movie is bad in every way... there is a pretty good photography, although nothing stunning. That's about it. The rest is typical Emmerich: silly dialog (delivered in "grand" fashion with such lines as "...we must fight with honor!"), negation of a realistic storyline, and not a bit of respect for any other Country apart from mighty USA.

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