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The portrayal of the american revolution in the movie patriot

Flag-waver … Mel Gibson in The Patriot. Fail In 1776, Britain's American colonies rose up to fight for independence. The war drew in several European powers, and ended with the Treaty of Paris in 1783.

The Patriot: more flag-waving rot with Mel Gibson

People The happy paterfamilias South Carolina militia leader Benjamin Martin Mel Gibson is a humble single father whose hobbies include freeing slaves, being lovely to his seven angelic children and whittling rocking chairs. Martin is based on a sanitised composite of several historical militiamen, most obviously the "Swamp Fox", Francis Marion.

Tarleton was accused of various evils — including firing on surrendering troops at Waxhaw Creek — but the deeds attributed to Tavington here are wholly made up. Furthermore, for all Martin keeps banging on about Tavington breaking "the rules of war", there weren't any in the 1780s.

There was an expectation that officers and soldiers would respect certain customs, but nothing was formalised until the first Geneva convention in 1864. International relations Facing up to the nasty Brit In one scene, Tavington herds noncombatant men, women and children into a church, locks the doors, and sets it on fire.

At the time of the film's release, some historians noted the similarity between this and the notorious Nazi massacre of French villagers in Oradour-sur-Glane in 1944. It is, however, nothing like anything that happened in the American Revolution. It's a disgraceful attempt to sow the seed of a completely unfounded conspiracy theory, implying that the fact nobody has ever heard of the British army burning a church full of innocents in South Carolina doesn't mean it didn't happen.

As the American historian Richard F Snow commented: It could have kept us out of World War I. There's even a token slave in Martin's militia.

It took the civil war to end slavery in the US, almost a century after The Patriot is set. Even then, South Carolina was on the wrong side, being so attached to slaveholding that it was the first state to secede from the Union after Abraham Lincoln's election.

  1. World War II combat films typically took a ragtag assortment of men of diverse ethnic backgrounds who are gradually molded into a dedicated fighting force.
  2. Similarly, in The Patriot, the Mel Gibson character recruits a ragtag militia including hard-drinking backwoods settlers, artisans, a minister, a French soldier, and even a slave.
  3. Cornwallis, in which Cornwallis berates Tavington for his brutal methods, but accedes to Tavington's proposal to operate "free of the chain of command" so that Cornwallis would be held blameless for his actions, and offers him land in Ohio if he can pull it off. According to the conventions of the Hollywood action film, the action hero is a reluctant warrior who is eager to avoid involvement in a conflict.

Sex Out of the straitjacket In one of the film's weirdest scenes, Gabriel Martin is allowed to spend the night with his girlfriend before marriage, as long as he lets her mum sew him into a "bundling bag" — a neck-to-toe chastity straitjacket. These things did exist, though it was the girl who would have been sewn into one rather than the boy.

  1. Flag-waver … Mel Gibson in The Patriot.
  2. That would have been nearly an unthinkable atrocity at the time.
  3. A righteous person avoids violence, even at the cost of his personal dignity and pride, but sometimes Evil leaves him no choice but to use violence to defend the innocent, especially those he loves. Contemporaries alleged that premarital pregnancies were par for the course in communities that allowed bundling.
  4. They were quite effective at harassing the British and even sending them on exhausting wild goose chases.
  5. Tavington and Lord Gen.

Unlike in the film, her parents would usually sleep in the same room as the courting youngsters, though even this didn't always kill the mood.

Contemporaries alleged that premarital pregnancies were par for the course in communities that allowed bundling.

War Before the rout The film's final setpiece looks vaguely like the Battle of Cowpens in 1781, with elements of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse. Martin grabs the Stars and Stripes and leads the charge towards General Cornwallis's troops. The Brits are taken by surprise, and defeated. It would have taken the real Cornwallis by surprise, too, for he was never defeated in South Carolina, and he wasn't even at the Battle of Cowpens.

  • Perhaps he's just trying too hard to hide his Australian accent, but unfortunately he winds up sounding blandly American;
  • The sprawling historical events portrayed in this film are big enough to overcome the oddly dull performance by Gibson, who never seems to find the right emotional 'voice' for this role, at times even looking a bit foolish as in the big crying scene.

He won Guilford Courthouse. Tarleton lost Cowpens, though, unlike Tavington in the film, he survived and lived to a ripe old age.

  • This film not only utilizes slo-mo but super slow-mo in which the action is further slowed so you can really really see the blood spatter as the guy gets chopped with a sword or struck by a musket ball or whatever;
  • A third war that has profoundly shaped Hollywood's presentation of military conflict is the Vietnam war, and especially the massacre of civilians at My Lai;
  • Sex Out of the straitjacket In one of the film's weirdest scenes, Gabriel Martin is allowed to spend the night with his girlfriend before marriage, as long as he lets her mum sew him into a "bundling bag" — a neck-to-toe chastity straitjacket.

The real general whose victory against Cornwallis won the war, following the siege of Yorktown, was some bloke called George Washington.

Here, all he gets is a passing mention. Verdict Truth is the first casualty of Mel Gibson.