329--Week 4 Questions/Comments

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1 Movie as secondary source about the past (What did it get right? What did it get wrong?)

1a Right:

This is just a minor note, but the corn isn't perfect, so that is at least correct. Also (and I'm still in the beginning of the movie while I write this), the son Gaberial (in the Continental Army)had no gloves, but cloth wraps on his hands. That shows that there was not enough to go around, even so early in the war.--Ashley Wilkins

At the dinner table, while the armies are moving closer to the household, the one son mentions "Lord knows what they'll do to you women." That means that the movie at least wants to convey the impression that soldiers did harm to the women. --Ashley Wilkins

American devotion to The Cause struck me as very accurate. From everything I have learned in class, the colonists were quite willing to lay down their lives for the sake of their new land. While their motives may not have been as naive as expressed in the film, I do not believe it would have been seen as blind patriotism either. -Cash Nelson

Overall I feel as though this is by far the most accurate movie that we have watched yet. I watched a special making of feature on my DVD and was surprised at the amount of effort the movie's creators took to ensure that the costumes were as accurate as possible. The ideas for the uniforms came from actual revolutionary uniforms at the Smithsonian Museum. The featurette after the movie also talked about the basis for several of the main characters including Mel Gibson's character being based off of Thomas Sumter, Andrew Pickens and Francis Marion. It also mentioned Tarrington being based off of the real Tarleton. It seems to me that this movie did a good job with accuracy. While some of the actual battles may not be real they did mostly depict backwoods skirmishes.-- Kelly Sorber

When I first saw The Patriot, it struck me as a very violent film. But this violence, however graphic, reflected accurately some of the realities on a battlefield. The cannonballs, for example, didn't just stop once they hit the ground - they kept moving, destroying everything in their path. That is just physics, but The Patriot is one of the first and only movies I have seen that actually shows this. I think the movie also does a good job depicting the skill level of the Colonial soldiers vs. the Redcoats. It was pretty obvious why the British enjoyed victory after victory - the Colonial regulars were just not prepared to challenge the Redcoats musket to musket on an open field in formation, a form of fighting the British had perfected. Only once the movie started depicting American guerrilla warfare in the form of Benjamin Martin and his militiamen did the Colonials appear to have the advantage. This is pretty accurate, when it came to formal fighting, the British were clearly better. When it came to unconventional warfare, the Colonials did have the advantage of knowing the land. ~Juliann Boyles

The rules of war really astonished me. I cant believe that men really would go after the officers first. I thought that this was just something the movie did to show Benjamin Martins hatred toward the British officers. I was surprised to read about this in this weeks readings. But I guess when you think about the "rules of war" didn't really apply to this war when so many officers ordered the killing of women and children. -- Kellye Sorber

I was shocked to read about how some men really did aim for the officers because in the movie there is a scene where Mel tells his sons to start with the officers and work their way down. I always thought this was just a way to show how distraught Mel was over the killing of his son. It also makes me question the brutality in the rest of the movie. Was it accurate or exaggerated to show the hatred between Mel and Tavington. - Christine W.

I agree, I was pretty surprised that it actually happened like that but it does make sense to do so in terms of causing the most damage to enemy forces. - Elle W.

After the movie I watched a one of the bonus features of the movie called True Patriot. In it the writers, producers, and other people who worked on the movie talked about the research they did in order to be historically accurate. It was really interesting to hear that the half built house the former militia members were working on at the end was meant to symbolize the building of a new nation and how the hardest part was going to be the issue of slavery. - Christine W.

This movie also did a much better job of showing the passage of time. As you watch you can really believe several years have passed during the course of the movie. The romances are also more believable at least Gabriel's (Heath Ledger) was, Mel's was a little bit more questionable. - Christine W.

One thing I noticed in the movie that we discussed in class was how some white soldiers disapproved of black men being allowed to enlist in the militia. There was one scene in particular which I thought the movie got right where one of the white soldiers made a snide comment on how he believed that black soldiers should not be given weapons. ~Katherine Stinson~

Overall, this movie does a good job at portraying the events that happened during the Revolutionary War through its accurate representation of clothing, military formations, style of combat, gender roles, and depictions of the British and colonists in general. The movie also does a good job at providing an overall background for what was happening elsewhere during the Revolution, doing this by making up conversations (usually with messengers) about what else was going on up north, with Washington’s army, and with other factors involved in the war. The movie also provides insight about how slaves, neutral colonists, fathers and sons, and women thought about the war. However, it occurs that this movie seems a little biased toward the British because the movie’s point of view portrays the British as the evil and sinister empire that brutally destroys everything in sight, and the turn of unfortunate events experienced by the patriot militia automatically gears the viewer to root for the Patriots. Point is; if the British made a movie about the same events, would they have depicted them and portrayed them the same way this movie has? Would the British capitalize on making the Patriots out to be the evil, sinister, disobeying, disloyal debtors? –James D.

I think one things this movie touched on well was the scarier side to having the "home field advantage." Often in history classes the notion that the Patriots had the battle fought on their own soil is praised and often accredited with aiding the Patriots when it came to winning the war. And while this may be true, the darker aspects to having this advantage are often overlooked. In the movie, it became clearer how violent the opposing armies were and how close these battles came to homes. I think this is an aspect often overlooked and it's a scary notion that battles were being fought literally in backyards. The British were able to avoid a number civilian deaths on their side for this very reason (Excluding the Loyalists.) --Kelly Wuyscik

I do like the French comments and banter... would a French leader really fight with a militia from SC? I do think that this rivalry would be appropriate given the French and Indian war history. And it added a level of humor that was refreshing. -Elle Weaver

Based on the readings, it seems that The Patriot does a great job of capturing colonial attitudes towards the British, and vice versa. One thing that the "Boisterous Sea of Liberty" article explicitly states is the colonist feeling of being under tyranny and oppression by a king thousands of miles away. The film conveys this same attitude throughout. The other reading, "Rise of Partisan Warfare," mentioned how British prisoners were horribly treated by colonials. This sort of parallels a scene in the movie where some of the militia killed British soldiers who were about to surrender (and then the reverend explains how this behavior was "madness" and should not be tolerated). - David F.

Another thing I liked about this movie were the characters in the film. Dr. M mentioned how there were three groups of people during this time period: patriots, loyalists, and neutrals. Within the patriots, there were subgroups, and I think we saw some of these people in the movie. Mel Gibson was someone who believed in achieving independence by any means except war. Obviously, his views shift after the death of his son. Additionally, the character of Capt. Wilkens is someone who is torn between the views of the patriots and the loyalists. He is first scene in the court room advocating that S.C. go to war, only to defect to the British because his "loyalty lies with the King." After he is forced to burn the church down with all of the innocent people still inside, he realizes how extreme his general's tactics were. I think the movie does a good job reflecting the diversity of the beliefs, personality, and attitudes of the people during the Revolutionary War. - David F

At the expense of it being long, I think this movie was very good at portraying sides and events of the Revolution accurately (if not very cheesily at the beginning). The eagerness of youth to fight vs. the reservations and reluctance of an older man who sees what's to loose is fairly timeless. Also, though I don't think the British were portrayed too unfairly, the movie went a bit easy on the militia's tactics and ethics at times. The towns people's reaction to how the swamp tramps fought (killing surrendering soldiers) seems accurate. But then they got all noble of course. As the primary sources point out, militia would shoot wounded enemy soldiers dead, just as Col. Tavington's character had done. Also, in concern to Tavington, though exceptionally evil, I thought he got across some accurate perspectives. His self interest in terms of how British social ladder worked was true and his menacing mention of Ohio was a bit funny, but I like its mention all the same. Of course the racists, close-minded patriot who represented the hypocritical attitudes towards black and slave soldiers learned to respect the black guy in the end (because maybe America wasn't always perfect, but we had heart damn it!). On the flip side, the British forced blacks (slave or freed) to join the King's Army (over simplification maybe, but also not that inaccurate, cuz it's not like the British actually cared about the Blacks in America who they kidnapped and sold in the first place). I thought it was good that they showed the civilian suffering. They were brutal scenes, but that's what war usually comes to. Cornwallis chastised Tavington for his brutality at first though, acknowledging the honor of war. I also like that the Loyalist, though he was ashamed of the brutality he was pressured to commit, didn't make any last ditch/uncharacteristic acts of nobility like Duncan did in Mohicans, but rather, carried out the burning he was ordered to do. I also liked how you could feel the turning points in the war through the movie, as well as feel the losses on both sides. --Jackie Reed

1b Inaccurate/issues:

I know this is going to be discussed quite a bit, but it really does bear mentioning: Mel Gibson must have been the first real American hero. It's the only possible reason for that godawful accent (he could have at least kept the Australian and been something that existed at the time!) --Amanda Russell

I really enjoy this movie but there are a few things that I have to point out that did not fit. Amanda has already touched on this but many of the characters have different accents. Benjamin - Americanized English, Gabriel- Australian and then the younger son, Thomas - British. All the while various characters in the movie have different accents. Also, I believe two young, unwed people kissing in public would have been frowned upon, i.e. Gabriel and Anne. - Mallory C.

I wonder how much respect the militia men actually have. Were they thought of second rate soldiers as the movie portrayed Cornwalis to believe? I also wonder if they were given the respect on their own side - if there was no real Benjamin Martin, who was the leader of this militia and were they the center of the line in the epic battle scene? -Elle Weaver

As for how the upper-class are portrayed in this movie, I think the British upper-class were portrayed as rather silly, and air-headed. An example of this is when Benjamin Martin and his men dress up as British soldiers, and burn down the British ship that is docked while the British are having a party. As the ship bursts into flames, one of the ladies at the party looks at the ship, laughs, and squeals "Ooh fireworks!", indicating that she clearly has no idea what was happening. ~Katherine Stinson~

Katherine, I think I remember the woman holding a seeing glass. Could it be the she couldn't see very well?-Lauren

GENDER ROLES Question about Charlotte: Did she happen to own that plantation herself? Inheritance? Was she widowed? It doesn't appear she had anyone with her there or in town except slaves, and there is no indication that a husband or brother was away fighting. -Whitney H.

The scene in the Patriot when the young woman is speaking to the crowd in church, this seems inaccurate because women were not allowed to speak their minds. They had to sit still and be quite. –Ashley Scutari

Would women be allowed in a meeting of the legislature? When Gabriel comes to the church to enlist the men of the village and none of them made any moves to get up and go, Anne called them out. Was it probable for a woman to do this?- Jason Ward

While watching the movie it seemed to me that most young men were extremely eager to join up with the Regulars. Was this an honest representation? I can understand Mel Gibson's point of view and not wanting his sons to join up, but Gabriel and Thomas seemed more than ready to run off to the camps. I didn't think men were that eager to be volunteering. --Kelly Wuyscik

MILITARY One more question - Were the Militias the groups of men using the guerrilla tactics? I noticed there was a difference between the Regulars and the Militia but I wasn't sure if that was the difference between the two. --Kelly Wuyscik

The Patriot did a good job of showing how uniformed and precise the British Army was, which is also seen in The Last of the Mohicans. The movie also portrays the brutality of the war, not only the soldiers who suffered fighting on the line and endured harsh winters, but also the effect the war had on civilians. Much of the fighting was done on farms and in front/ behind people's homes which ultimately led to many homes being destroyed. I am curious though, would the militia also have had uniforms? And how were they funded? --Mallory C.

For the portrayals of colonial ex-soldiers who fought for the British during the French and Indian War, is it realistic to have a man stand up before a crowd and exclaim his grievances against the British Crown? He said his leg was cut off by the British after the war and proclaimed another limb was cut off metaphorically by the taxes! Was his leg really chopped off by the British or taken off because of war casualties? -Lauren

So, Mel Gibson slaughtered innocents at a Disney resort and campground? That is sinful. Seriously, that’s the only Fort Wilderness I’ve ever heard of… --Taylor Brann

Were women allowed into General Assembly meetings? Were there really Black communities of freed or runaway slaves out on the open beach? That seems like a bad place to hang out, being in plain sight and what not. Weren’t most of those communities in various swamps? Also, why did Gabriel have such a low opinion of the guys who joined the militia? Wasn’t the Continental Army mostly made up of rabble and outcasts too? On the subject of the Continental Army, I always wonder at its depictions in paintings and other media. Considering they were often poorly supplied and oft-butt whupped by the British, what are the chances they would have fancy matching uniforms? Heck, at Valley Forge a lot soldiers were without the very basics (like shoes and coats), let alone pretty uniforms. Most importantly, were the British ever that brutal during the Revolution? Like, Naziesque burning people in a church brutal? I think not. People actually took note of the laws of war at that time. Anyway, wasn’t it the American guerilla forces who were committing the atrocities? --Taylor Brann

Repeated Inaccuracies: a) Once again, throughout the whole movie, we see amazing accuracy in shooting with muskets. Accuracy is vague when it gets to the face-to-face in lines on a field kind of fighting, but when the militia, and even Samuel and Nathan early on, are shooting, they're much better shots than the British regulars. b) really early on, when we see Continental soldiers (?) opening up nice, huge, sheaves of yellow, genetically engineered corn. -Whitney H.

TREATMENT OF CIVILIANS As far as attacking and hurting the common people was this true? Did they burn down churches, homes, and kill the Continental Army’s family? –Ashley Scutari

Were incidents of excessive cruelty, such as the one where all the townspeople are told to go into the church, and are locked up and then the church is burned down with them still in the church, common, or were incidents like that one in the movie used just for dramatic effect in the movie? ~Katherine Stinson~

I feel that the British Col. Tavington would have been reprimanded more for how he treated the militias even if they are traitors to the crown? killing them all seems like a war crime, And less likely to happen. wouldn't they want to hang them for treason?-- Matt DeMarr

Other Issues Another thing that bothers me in this movie is that although this is an age of high child mortalities and illnesses are a serious problem, none of this is portrayed at all. All of the characters in the movie are shown as perfectly healthy. Combat and war was certainly not the only danger and conflict to the people at the time. - Jonathan Bell

In the beginning at the SC Assembly in Charles Town, one man says that we are "one nation, an American Nation," and someone says that they are "citizens of an American Nation." But at this point they were still considering themselves citizens of individual colonies, right? None of this one nation business, but thirteen colonies to become independent from Britain. -Whitney H.

There was no widespread loyalism shown in the movie, in fact, Wilkins is the only loyalist that springs to mind.- Jason Ward

Is that how prisoner exchange worked? Wouldn't the British have sent someone out first to verify "the ghost's" claims?- Jason Ward

One issue I have with the time progression is that Cornwallis was in South Carolina for about the entire movie. Even if that is true, the Storyline would have us believe that Martin and his band of renegades were the only force keeping the British in South Carolina. The only mention they make of the regulars after a while was that Gates was a "damn fool", and there is no mention of fellow patriotic militia groups doing their part to chip away at the British force. It just seems like Martin's group of militia was singlehandedly preventing British advancement. - Jason Ward

The movie made it seem as though the Americans and the French had patched up all of their old wounds and that the fraternity of being soldiers together would last forever. The Letter from George Mason in the reading, Boisterous Sea of Liberty, painted a different picture. Mason said that Virginians did not trust the French and that they expected the French to exploit post- war American weaknesses. These fears were real enough to lead the Americans to sign a separate peace with England.- Jason Ward

This is incredibly nitpicky, but I'm pretty sure the Classical Revival style (the style of many of the film's plantation houses) wasn't used until the nineteenth century. - Sarah Richardson

Benjamin Martin says in the movie “why should I trade one tyrant three thousand miles away for three thousand tyrants one mile away?” Was there any idea that the new government would be a democracy at the time and if there was, was that decided? If anyone knows, please post. I would imagine that the idea of making it a democracy (Or more technically a republic) existed but it was far from decided. –Wesley Weeks

The Patriot was weighed down by it's occasional absurdities, like the representative in the legislature declaring "we are citizens of and American nation"... The film likewise made more slight faults for the sake of drama. I don't believe Tavington would have questioned why his new cavalry recruit from the loyalist militia would turn against his neighbors. We know Loyalists were as easy to find as Patriots. The Patriot seemed very hung up on an idea that there was universal support for the separatist cause. - JT Newcomb

I think that Mel Gibson could not be the beloved American hero if he owned slaves, but really, how likely was it that his character would not have? Of course he also never once lost his patience with the 7 children he was raising on his own, except to poignantly yell "You're my child!" at Heath/Gabriel. Was this the distressed, mourning father of the 1770's South or a Dad on a Disney Channel show gone Rambo when his sons are killed? --Jackie Reed

The question of slaves

Benjamin Martin doesn’t own slaves. They are freedmen and willingly work for him. He helps them plow the land. Of course. After all, what kind of action hero can own slaves? Apparently, we want our heroes with pure intentions. Was this a situation that happened at all? Sure, the movie had some mentions of slavery and racism, but it was so secondary you’d almost forget the setting is South Carolina. It was nice to see that there were some blacks in the British lines during the final battle, though. --Taylor Brann

So why did all the African Americans in the movie only have first names? When watching the credits, even Okam, one of the main title characters in the film, was only given a first name. Every other character, if not given a first and a last name, were given a title of description, such as Colonial Militiaman. Whether the African American characters in the film were freedman or not, no one had a last name. ~Juliann Boyles

When the slave joined the militia it didn't seem like he would be accepted just like that. Let alone be viewed as a free man by that one colonist.--- Matt DeMarr

I think that the situation with the slave being signed up for militia service by his master is true, and I also believe that the militia man who acted extremely racist was accurate as well. I think the film tried to casually indicate that opinions could be changed regarding blind hatred and racism, and by fighting together, and risking their lives for one another, these men saw that there is more to a man than his race. I DO see that this racism was a lot less severe than SC probably had back then, but it is important to note that the subject was addressed in some way at all. - Elle Weaver

To comment on the portrayal of the blacks, the women looked like the stereotypical Mammies, albeit, not as plump as Scarlett O'Hara's mammy, but looking similar in dress and head covering. The women were shown to be obedient and efficient in their care for the children of their white masters. The men were all content in the movie as well, especially when the British came to "set them free." The blacks literally were dragged away from their white owners or landowners. Even though the black men were free, there weas no distinguishing for the British. Occam, the black militiaman, seems fine enough to serve in his master's stead. His master describes him as not smart but strong. The man's build is stereotypical of the African man made to laborious work, not for intellectual discussions. -Lauren

In the beginning when the British come to Martin's home the officer tells the slaves that if they go to join with the British they will be granted freedom. One of the slaves says that they are already freemen. Is this true? Are his slaves really free or are they just saying that? If they are really free how common was that for the free slaves to stay and work on a southern plantation? -- Kellye Sorber

There are many things I felt that were deeply wrong portayals of history in the movie. The portrayal of peoples atitutudes toward slavery is majorly flawed with everybody, but one person (who comes to be tolerant later) treating slaves as equals. This is colonial South Carolina yet all the colonials are portrayed as all accepting and understanding of each other. Additionally the way Gabriel speaks up to his father and his father giving in is pretty absurd considering South Carolina during the colonial period is highly patriarchal. The scene where Mel Gibson massacres a bunch of soldiers with only a tomahawk does not help the movies realism factor ether. For people in South Carolina during the war it is not likely that they would have a strong national identity, but rather be focused on regional identities. - Jonathan Bell

In the Patriot, it seems that Mel Gibson would not just have free blacks working in his fields especially in the south. Also were the slaves really freed, or were most of them forced to join the British Army? –Ashley Scutari

One could say that the movie treated the issue of slavery with kid gloves, but that is likely an understatement. Perhaps "infant gloves," would be a better way to put the way that this film portrayed colonial attitudes toward blacks. The likelihood that a South Carolina man of stature would have zero slaves out of an all black workforce struck me as far fetched at best. Also, upon given the chance for freedom, it seems unlikely that these same workers would resist in the manner that Martins men resisted Tavington's offer of freedom in exchange for service. Then there is Occam, the stoic slave offered up to Martin's militia. The idea that only one man in the militia would harass him seems absurd. Most of the militia were men of the lower class and these men typically were some of the bigger proponents of slavery, simply so that they could stay above someone in the social order. Though there were many historical liberties taken with this film, the gross misrepresentation of colonial era slavery was the most egregious of the inaccuracies. -Bryan Mull

Was that a maroon community that we saw? Was it an accurate depiction?- Jason Ward

Tacking onto Jason's question - How thrilled would these free blacks in the beach-side maroon community be to see runaway whites who may have easily been followed by redcoats? Besides those who had been close the family previously, there seemed to be an immediate sense of community between all of them... a little unbelievable to me personally. -Elle Weaver

Mr. Howard speaks of fighting for the American Nation. No one would have thought in those terms at that time. That is us in the present inserting an idea into the past that doesn’t belong. – Wesley Weeks

A lot of people have brought up the scene where Ben Martin's "volunteer labor force" responded to the British general saying "we are not slaves...we work this land for free." In class Dr. M. said that 40% of the South's slave labor were located in South Carolina alone. So, I think the likely-hood of a black person in S.C. working on a white person's land on their own accord is fairly low. Taylor made a good point that someone like Mel Gibson's character should not own slaves purely for dramatic reasons, so I think we should let the film slide on this one. - David F.

So Col. Tavington, at least in his treatment of slaves, seemed to be a little confused. In the beginning it shows him collecting all the "slaves" on Benjamin Martin's farm to join the British ranks, even Abagail, citing what I assume to be Lord Dunmore's Proclamation (1775). First off, why would a British officer snag a "slave" woman from a farm to help fight for the British crown? In Class, Dr. M mentioned that when African American women would run to the British lines, nobody quite knew what to do with them. Second, so why did all these slaves taken by the Col. end up in a maroon community on a beach, instead of with the army? How did all of these slaves taken by the army have the good fortune of coming to live in a beach paradise, equipped with fresh fruit? When they were dragged off with Gabriel's character, where did they go, because they most certainly were not present during the "Ghost" raid. Did Col. Tavington have a change of heart and just drop them off for a beach vacation? Ahem...I always had trouble suspending my belief here. Third, if the Col. was so willing to capture blacks early in the movie, why did he suddenly go trigger happy on them later in the movie? ~Juliann Boyles

2 Film's relationship to scholarship/primary sources from the time

In "Reel History", Toplin discusses how some historical movies have done poorly due to the fact that they have not had a clear-cut villain. However, in my opinion, this movie suffers from an almost Disney-like black and white villain portayal. We can obviously never know if the real Tarleton was as cold blooded or murderous, but it is not a stretch to assume that it was more for the benefit of the audience's entertainment rather than historical accuracy. --Amanda Russell

One thing the movie particularly glances over is that slavery was a big issue in the rhetoric of colonists fighting the war. The documents have frequent references to British policy as being slavery on Americans. This point is, however completely lost in this movie because of the movies false portrayal of peoples attitudes towards slavery. Slaves and free blacks were a very badly treated group in the South especially South Carolina, but the slaves and masters in the movie are shown living happily together with little or new tension between them. People in the colonies compared British actions to slavery precisely because they knew it would be absolutely horrible to be a slave. - Jonathan Bell

3 Movie as primary source about makers/time/setting/genre

I don't know if this was true in the 'time period of the movie' but a trait that emerges from the year of the movie being made tried is a man can be proud and raise a family on his own without a wife. Single-parent homes are increasing nowadays, but they are not just headed by the mother now, there has been an increase in single parents father households. Yes I know the wife had died in the movie, but just saying that that is an aspect of today's time that comes out in the movie, at least to me. --Ashley Wilkins

I think it's kind of funny that a movie that so embodies the American national myth was directed by a German and starred two Australians. But seriously, The Patriot is such a perfect representation of what late twentieth and twenty-first century Americans want American history to be. The Revolution (yes, with a capital R) was in large part saved by a group of plucky, underdog militia. The British were either quaint and out of touch (Cornwallis) or ruthlessly evil (Tavington). And, of course, racism was overcome and the American Revolution created a new sense of equality...that wouldn't be put into effect until the 1960s. Whoops. - Sarah Richardson

It seems to me that this movie serves as an excellent primary source about how we reimagine our history. That reimagining allows us to view our nation as having really existed, in a unified form since the Revolutionary War. For instance, sure there are race problems at that time but as Gabriel says, we’ll be able to build a new world. We’re clearly passed all that now. Similarly, it’s ridiculous when Charlotte says “it’s a free world, or it will be.” – Wesley Weeks

4 Public reaction/impact

The original question I posted here was just retarded after I thought about it. So now, my new question to post here, did the Continental Army really treat the 'militia' like that too? It seemed they had a superiority complex as well.--Ashley Wilkins

Did the British really randomly burn fields and houses and kill all the livestock like that? That's just retarded if they did! Did they think "oh we can do whatever the hell we want and the people will still love us?" Bullshit! That'll just make people want to stand up against you because you destroyed their lives! What the fuck would they have left to worry about if you start doing that shit?? --Ashley Wilkins

Since this is a reaction I felt it fit here, the one British Colonel bothered me on familiarity, and then I placed it! Colonel William Tavington (The jerk) of the British militia, also plays Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies. I find it funny that Jason Isaacs plays a 'evil' and 'asshole' character. >^.^< I think Jason has a pattern building. --Ashley Wilkins

I kept watching this movie and thinking "At least Tom Wilkinson would eventually make Michael Clayton. At least Heath Ledger would eventually make Dark Knight. At least Mel Gibson would eventually direct a movie that was perfectly satirized by South Park." -Cash Nelson

This was the first R Rated film I was allowed to see in the theater. So of course at the time I thought it was totally rad, what with the cannonball and tomahawk scenes. But I also remember the History Channel doing a round table discussion over its historical merits or lack thereof. And in this program I think I remember the panel pretty much eviscerating its historical accuracy, but I could be wrong. -Bryan Mull

Okay, who else thinks that maybe George Bush REALLY liked this film? Notice how many times they repeat, "Stay the Course"? I think the Bush Administration has Movie Mondays sometimes. --Jackie Reed

I LOVE violent war/action films! This movie didn't have any merit for me until graphic deaths and fast-paced battle scenes got underway about a 1/2 hour in. This is the only reason I excuse the rediculousness of the fighter's accuracy. Sure, the primary sources support that guerilla tactics worked BETTER than traditional fighting against the British, but Mel Gibson's fight scenes (especially in his first action sequence) show some striking and unforgivable cinematic exaggerations that were almost identical to that of Daniel Day Lewis' in "Mohicans." Notice first, Mel Gibson (or his prepubescent sons) doesn't miss a single shot in the woods- even with his skill, anger, and strategic preparation this is unrealistic. And then (how typical is this?) there is an identical sequence in Mohicans and Patriot...

Mohicans: The movie's sexy eye candy is held at knife point to her throat-- Po sees this, and instead of taking precaution, runs straight for her to save her-- While distracted, Po takes down 3 attackers on his way to save Cora with perfect precision-- He is able to shoot Cora's attacker without him slitting her throat just in the nick of time.

Patriot: The movie's sexy eye candy is held at knife point to his throat-- Martin sees this, and instead of taking precaution, runs straight for him to save him-- While distracted, Martin takes down 3 attackers on his way to save his son with perfect precision, even disarming a man and shooting him with his own gun- He is able to throw a tomahawk in the attacker's face before he can slit his son's throat. --Jackie Reed

Do you think any animal rights people got angry about Mel Gibson using the Betsy Ross flag of America to impale a horse? That was brutal and surprising- totally forgot he did that! --Jackie Reed

Other movies/questions of style/framing/storyline

I couldn't help but make some references to Braveheart while watching The Patriot: When Mel Gibson is running out of his burning house with weapons in hand and also towards the end when Mel Gibson is riding on his horse with the colonist's flag waving behind, he is riding up and down the line of soldiers, just as William Wallace did. -- Mallory C.

The naivete and childish humor of Heath Ledger and Lisa Brenner's romance really detracted from the mood and flow of the film. I don't necessarily want a dour, atmospheric nightmare vision of the Revolutionary War, but I don't want a cheeky RomCom either. -Cash Nelson

In response to Cash's comment - How else would boys convince girls to watch this movie, I personally liked that cheeky side swapping ink spit etc. I have to say the bundle bag tradition is intriguing - True or not? - Elle Weaver

Following along with Christine's comment, I don't care if these sorts of romances actually happened, but seriously. She was his dead wife's sister. If that was just a way for the filmmakers to grant Mel Gibson a leading lady, then they should have just opted out of that one. Too creepy for my taste, thank you. --Kelly Wuyscik

Kelly- The Ben-Charlotte deal didn't actually seem so unrealistic to me. If Charlotte was single or widowed or whatever, and Ben was widowered as well, it might make sense at that time from a financial/economic standpoint for the two of them to get together. Knowing this already, it doesn't seem that far out that they might start to like each other. And she reminds him a lot of his wife (even that she had to remind him she was not her sister). - Whitney H.

5 Overall

Overall, the movie wasn’t bad. It was fairly entertaining, and the cast was made up of some pretty awesome actors, like Jason Isaacs (always playing the bad guy) and Rene Auberjonois. However, the romance was cliché. I had a sinking feeling of dread that Ben and Aunt Charlotte would get together the first time they stood in the same vicinity as each other. And so it was. Then we have Benjamin Martin not willing to fight the British, but when his son is killed we see him go into Action Hero Rambo mode where he beats down twenty redcoats with a little help from his younger sons. That was definitely in the vein of Hollywood revenge/action flicks of the... well, for many years now. And let's not talk about those parenting skills. --Taylor Brann

Why was it soooooo long?! Sure it was able to do a good job at portraying various sides of the Revolution (mostly focusing on the south), but dear god, I swear I could have edited that movie better myself! Oi! The best parts included Heath and when he died I just didn't care anymore. And then of course Jason Isaacs did create a truly wonderfully evil villain as usual, playing Luscious Malfoy...oops...I mean Col. Tavington. --Jackie Reed