The Patriot starring Mel Gibson
“The Patriot”, starring Mel Gibson and Heath Ledger, was one of the highest grossing films of 2000. Based upon the story of an ex-soldier turned father and farmer, “The Patriot” is set in South Carolina during the Revolutionary War. This critique on the film, however, is not based upon how monetarily successful it was, but rather on its historical accuracy. So the question arises, does “The Patriot” accurately portray the struggle between the colonies and Great Britain during the Revolutionary War? The answer is a overwhelmingly definite yes. Mel Gibson plays Benjamin Martin, an ex-soldier who became a hero while fighting for the British during the French and Indian War. His fighting days long over, Martin settles down with his seven children after the death of his wife. The story begins here in 1776 on a farm in South Carolina.
It is easy to recreate costumes and the environment of a particular era, but it is not as easy to recreate the mindset of those who live in that era accurately. “The Patriot”, in my opinion, does so quite well. When Martin is called to Charlestown for a meeting of the South Carolina colony, he finds the city in an all out support for independence. At one point you even see the “hanging” and burning of a mannequin resembling a British soldier while the crowd yells “Death to King George!” This itself is an accurate portrayal of colonial defiance of the crown. Throughout the colonies prior to and during the Revolutionary War there were numerous demonstrations of this sort, from burning the houses of tax collectors, to tar and feathering British governmental representatives. During the meeting, the conflict between loyalism and independence became somewhat real to me. The delegates at this meeting argued between themselves for and against independence. It showed me exactly how hard it must have been for each of the thirteen original colonies to agree to support the cause for freedom.
After the town meeting, Martin’s eldest son, Gabriel, enlists in the Continental Army, much to his father’s dismay. The sets about a look into the historical military accuracy of the film. During a confrontation, you see both the British and colonial armies marching toward each other. Finally the colonial army stops, takes aim, and fires at the British soldiers. Historically, this was necessary due to the short range of the muskets used by both the colonial and British soldiers. Both armies would fire in...