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The Patriot Movie – Historical Accuracy

1898 words (8 pages) Essay in Film Studies

05/06/17 Film Studies Reference this

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The first thing I would say about the movie is that almost everyone watches the movie. People watch all types of movie including action movies, adventure movies, comedy movies, and many other categories, but when it comes to the history movies, people do not think if the story of the history movie is a truly based on our real history or it is just filled with bunch of fiction. People usually guestimate that every history movie is a part of a real history but the reality is that almost every single history movie contains at least little bit of fiction in it to make it great story and to keep the audience’s attention. Moving on to the main point, to prove it wrong that not every history movie is truly a part of the real history, I watched the movie called the Patriot and in this paper I will compare the story of the Patriot with real history to figure out if the movie contains a true story of history or is just a filled with fiction.

Let me start my giving brief summary of the movie Patriot. This movie is about Benjamin Martin who was father of seven children and he declines an offer to fight for the Continental army. However, as soon the battle ground reaches his front yard and consequently enough his fifteen years old son named Thomas is killed by Colonel Tavington who was the main opponent. In result of this, Benjamin joins the army and creates his private army of rag tag farmers and farmworkers. His army’s main goal was to keep General Cornwallis in the state of South Carolina by strategically cutting down his supply and army. Their progress were effective however, later in the story Martin’s another son named Gabriel became victim to the same colonel that killed his oldest son Thomas. This causes a last battle in the movie between Martin and Tavington. And at the end of this battle, Martin kills Tavington which also helps led the Continental army to victory. (prezi.com)

In the movie, during the scene of the last battle it shows that soldiers were holding up the several American flags but in reality, the vast majority of the flags used by the Continental army represented where their militia is from. Another scene in which Benjamin is giving a store clerk a money in which you can see that he is giving five dollar note with Abraham Lincoln on it and this cannot be true because this movie took place more than eighty years before he was elected as a president. Also that during the time of American Revolution men usually saluted by taking their hat off and lowering their hat to the side, then they would put it back on. While in the movie, Gabriel simply salutes by putting his hand on his hat. In the movie all the continental soldiers seem to have same outfits and the British are burning down a church which is full of people. While in the reality everyone in the continental army had very different clothing and there has never been found a historical record which showed that British burned the church. (prezi.com)

In the movie there are many factual errors. For example, in the beginning of the story, during the town hall meeting Burwell was saying that we killed 700 of enemy at the Bunker Hill and they were just kept coming, but in reality they killed 226 of them. Also according to the book Down and Out in Early America, it was extremely impossible in the 1776 that a southern plantation owner could easily operate a successful plantation which run by free men who worked by wages. It would be nearly impossible to compare this plantation owner which someone who used slaved as the work force. Also that Benjamin Martin seems to be a principles man in the movie but in reality he killed Indians just for fun and was known for rapping his slaves. Therefore, I would say that all of these things did not appear or they changed it just to make Benjamin Martin good character in the movie regard less of reality. In one scene Benjamin Martin shoots a British troop who was on the moving horse using a flintlock gun at the range of about hundred yards. It clearly seems fake because bullet from powder gun would not travel this much of distance also that traveling of this much distance and hitting moving target would be very difficult with modern guns. (sbroome)

In the movie, Lord Cornwallis is portrayed as very old man, which is incorrect because during the time frame of this movie in 1780, General Charles Lord Cornwallis was in his forties. To be more descriptive, based on my research I found that Cornwallis was born in London on December 31, 1738 and according to that year he would be six years younger than George Washington. Moving to the next point, in the scene where aunty charlotte takes in the children after their family home was burned and destroyed, her hair was down. My point is that during the time frame of the movie, women only wore hair down only during sickness or bedtime. Women always pinned up their hair during the day and evening, while they were out in the world therefore, I would say that they this is clear fiction. (About.com)

In the battle scene where Benjamin is watching through the farmhouse’ window and we can see that Redcoats bayonet charge the Rebels. The soldiers ran across several hundred yards of open ground while Redcoat army was well trained army. During that time troops were very important therefore it was not good idea that parts of the troops would simply running around across the battlefield. In reality, they would have charged Bayonets and move towards the enemy. When they are about fifty yards away they would have marched quickly and slow enough to remain a line. This would process would made possible to have control over direction in the case where needed to changed or to cancel the order. And when the troops reach very close then troops could engage the enemy. (sbroome)

In another scene in which Gabriel returns to the Martin plantation with sword wound from Battle of the Waxhaws, he said that Gates ordered them to march straight at the redcoats. In reality, Gates was not present nor the commander at the battle of Waxhaws. Furthermore, they were marching away when the British attacked. (sbroome)

In this movie, I would say that they tried to trick us, when the British break-in to the Charlotte’s plantation, Tavington was searching for the child that was hiding under the table and when Tavington looks beneath the table to check if anyone is hiding under or not and at the same time, Nathan moved out from the underneath the table on the right side and Tavington did not see him. The tablecloth on the table hangs several inches from the floor so when Tavington tried to look child under the table he should have seen the Nathan from the gap that was between the table cloth and floor but he did not saw the child. Based on this point, it is clear that in this movie they tried to trick audience. (sbroome)

The final battle in the movie is the battle of Cowpens and it seems very big battle while in reality, only twelve American died and was mostly cavalry affair and it was all over in less than an hour. During this battle there was scene in which cannonball comes from enemy side and it rolls on the ground and cuts the leg off of a number of soldiers in its path, in which we can clearly see that one of the soldier’s leg falls apart well before the ball even touch his leg. Also in this battle Tavington and Martin seems fighting where Martin first attack Tavington with a pointing tool on the end of the musket. And he also attacks into Tavington’s throat right after first attack and we can see that Tavington was falling on the ground but in the next attack we can see him still standing. The last scene was very confusing so it was hard to made sense. (sbroome)

During the American Revolution British were the masters of the sea. But in the movie they had played with natural laws. During the scene of party where we can see that British ship was blown up in the harbor. But the laws of physics describe that behind each action there is an equal and the opposite reaction. When the ship was targeted and destroyed we see the big explosion with fire spreading all over the ship. However, although there was explosion on the ship, ship remains in its original position in the water thus, it did not moved side to side or sank in the water it is impossible because based on physics law ship should have been moved or sunk in the water. As we can determine that some of the scenes were not accurate therefore, there is no drought that story of this movie would include fiction. (Marts.com)

I also figured geographical error in the movie, in the scene in which Benjamin and his two of the younger sons were running and passing through the woods to interrupt the British who captured their older brother. They seem jumping and hiding around the rocks to get in position. While in South Carolina it was never glaciated in the part of the area where this story took place. In another scene where Tavington is looking for Martin’s children at the Charlotte’s plantation, Susan seem to look out the window covered with venetian blind. The Venetian blinds was not invented until the 1800s or roughly 100 year after the timeframe of the movie. To be more descriptive, the recorded invention of blinds is holds by man from Chile named Hernando de Venuto and it was invented on May 20, 1857. (sbroome)

Almost every knows that slaves did not like white people during the time of revolution or any time during the slavery therefore, in the one scene after their home was destroyed, Benjamin Martin send his family and his friend’s family to a slave colony and they were welcomed there and had little celebration there in the result of arriving of Benjamin Martin’s family. My point is that they should not have been welcomed to their colony because during that time there were very few slaves colonies existed and salves did not liked the white people. (chccs.k12.nc.us)

In conclusion, I would say that even though the movie Patriot includes many fictional story in it but the director of this movie did many of the twist in the real history to make it look more interesting to audiences and make story remember. This movie also gives audiences at least little bit of feeling about American Revolution war. Although I found many errors in the movie it contains very important part of our history and by watching this movie, people can learn more about our history and try to remember it as our past.

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