Historical Inaccuracies in the Movie “The Patriot” (Movie Review Sample)
Find a movie of your choice that depicts a historical event. Identify the historical inaccuracies in the moviesource..
Historical Inaccuracies in the Movie “The Patriot”
Hollywood producers have always liked docudramas, which have been a staple of their filmmaking career. While there is nothing wrong with this, Hollywood has courted criticism for spicing up historical films with inaccuracies to make the movies more entertaining. When watching a history movie, people often think of them as based on real historical events, but the reality is that most historical events contain a little bit of fiction. The greatest damage is done when the teachers use historical movies in class that play loose with historical facts. The practice can hurt learners’ ability to separate truth from fiction. Historically inaccurate movies are a double edge sword since students are likely to remember information portrayed in the film irrespective of being true or false. The focus of this essay is historical inaccuracies in the film “The Patriot.” When the movie is fact-checked for historical accuracies, it has glaring
Before delving into historical inaccuracies, it is important to summarize the movie. “The Patriot” is a film about Benjamin Martin, a father of seven children who rejected an offer to join the Continental army. Nonetheless, a tragic event involving the death of his fifteen old son in the hands of Colonel Tavington changes Martin’s stand. Martin joins that Continental army and establishes a private battalion comprising farmers and farm workers. The battalion’s strategic goal was to thwart General Cornwallis's invasion. Martin’s progress is impressive until when Colonel Tavington kills a second son. No matter how the film tries to present Tavington in a positive light, he is remembered as a sneering, sadistic monster in real life (Tunzelmann). The event triggers anger, and in the act of revenge, Martin and Tavington engage in a final decisive battle. During the battle, Martin’s military genius enables him to kill Tavington, which propels the Continental army to victory. The film's events allude that struggle for success has never been a simple walk in a park.
The first historical error is an obvious exaggeration of Burwell’s success as a soldier and Martin's successful plantation. When the movie starts, there is a town hall meeting in which Burwell proclaims that he killed 700 enemy soldiers at a battle in Bunker Hill. In reality, Burwell only killed 226 enemy soldiers. Martin’s plantation is depicted as very successful, which is another exaggeration. In his book opines, Smith (20) opines that it was extremely impossible in the 18th century for a southern plantation owner to operate a successful plantation run by free men who worked for wages. Southern plantations heavily used slave labor, and the film appears to downplay the role of slave labor in the success of southern plantations. The character of Benjamin Martin is also misrepresented in the film. The movie portrays Martin as a principled man while, in reality, he killed Indians and raping his slaves for personal gratification. In another scene, Martin shoots a British soldier a hundred yards away. This is an exaggeration since the gun powder riggles had a shorter range and would be impossible to hit a moving target a hundred yards away.
Additionally, “The Patriot” makes a geographical error that conflicts with real historical accounts. One of the geograhcial inaccuracies is when Martin and his two sons are in hot pursuit of the British soldiers who had captured their older brother. The movie scene shows that they were hiding and jimping around rocks to take a tactic position. This is inaccurate since South Carolina in the 18th century was not glaciated as depicted in the movie. In another scene, Tavington is hunting for Martin’s sons, and Susan is captured peeing out the window that is covered with Venetian blind. The Venetian blinds had not been invented at the time of the revolutionary war, and it is estimated to have been invented about 100 years ago. Therefore, the film contains misleading geographical and historical inaccuracies about well-known inventions.
Furthermore, the battle of Cowpens is wrongly depicted in the movie. The battle is presented as a major battle and appears big, whereas it was a minor battle in reality. This can be found in historical evidence that shows only twelve American soldiers died and was the battle was mainly a cavalry affair lasting for less than an hour (Thompson 791). The exaggeration of this war but has served to entertain viewers. It can be argued that the war was historically misrepresented in the movie in order to appeal to viewers’ emotions, and it was never intended to inflict intellectual knowledge. Nonetheless, the argument is lame since it does not eliminate the fact that it is inaccurate. The scene in which Martin kills Tavington appears unbelievable. When Martin attacks Tavingtons throat, the movie shows him falling on the ground, but he is still standing in the next scene. This is confusing to comprehend.
The movie’s portrayal of Lord Cornwallis is historically inaccurate. The movie depicts Cornwallis as an old, frail man. This is inaccurate since the historical period covered in the film the 1780s, and Cornwell was in his forties. Cornwell was born in London, the United Kingdom, in 1738, and during the war, he was six years younger than George Washington (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica). This means that there is no way Cornwallis could be depicted as an old and frail general leading the British soldiers. Charlotte is depicted with a hair down in the next scene when the family is running
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