More About The Patriot
Mel Gibson stars in this action-packed historical drama from the director of INDEPENDENCE DAY and GODZILLA. Gibson portrays Benjamin Martin, an unassuming South Carolina widower who is forced to join the American Revolution when the British threaten to take his farm away from him. Together with his patriotic son, Gabriel (Heath Ledger), the pair faces the vicious Redcoats with a heroism that reflects the stubborn pride of a young country's most dedicated supporters. THE PATRIOT is a sweeping epic adventure that sheds light on America's past, and at the same time entertains audiences.
Main Cast & Crew
Roland Emmerich - Director
In this Revolutionary War epic from director Roland Emmerich (INDEPENDENCE DAY, GODZILLA) and writer Robert Rodat (SAVING PRIVATE RYAN), history unfolds as one man struggles to bury his demons and keep his family whole. Mel Gibson plays reluctant hero Benjamin Martin, a man who fought with both heroism and brutality in the French and Indian War, but who is now seeking to peacefully tend his own fields and ignore the later and greater conflict. Despite Martin's scrupulous parenting, however, his idealistic son Gabriel (Heath Ledger) leaves home to join the colonial army. Soon the war is literally on Martin's doorstep; a cruel British officer named Tavington (Jason Isaacs) kills one of his children and unwittingly galvanizes Martin, Gabriel, and a ragtag militia of locals into a fierce guerilla unit bent on revenge and liberty. THE PATRIOT is concerned with honor among soldiers, finding and losing love in the midst of chaos, and also with a tactical shift from open-field combat to the hide-and-fight strategies that would come into their own in modern warfare. The historical details are imaginative, to say the least, but the spectacle is what's really effective in bringing the fight for independence to life.
To recreate South Carolina in 1776, the filmmakers shot on location at colonial-period sites in the state. Historic Brattonsville and Charleston were among the locations used. Gibson received $25 million for starring in the film. The character of Benjamin Martin is based on a composite of at least five historical figures, including Colonel Daniel Morgan; Francis Marion, "The Swamp Fox"; Elijah Clark; Thomas Sumter; and Andrew Pickens. Marion was from South Carolina, was famed for his guerilla tactics, and had a nephew named Gabriel. Colonel Burwell (Chris Cooper) is based on Lt. Colonel "Lighthorse Harry" Lee; Frenchman Jean Villeneuve (Tchéky Karyo) is loosely based on Baron Friedrich von Steuben, who trained Washington's troops; General Charles Cornwallis (Tom Wilkinson) is based on his real-life counterpart; and Colonel Tavington is based on Colonel Banastre Tarleton, nicknamed "Bloody Ban the Butcher." The final battle in the film corresponds to the historical Battle of Cowpens.
"...THE PATRIOT has 'hit' written all over it..." - 06/08/2000 Rolling Stone, p.134
"...Gibson shows an on-screen comfort and expansiveness he has not revealed before..." - 06/28/2000 New York Times, pp.E1-E6
"...Viscerally historical....THE PATRIOT makes a big bang..." -- 3 out of 4 stars - 06/28/2000 USA Today, p.2D
"...Spectacular battle scenes..." - 09/01/2000 Sight and Sound, p.46-7
"...Who can deny a movie that features enough bloody fights, burning houses, and grandiloquent speeches to fill three sequels to GONE WITH THE WIND?..." -- 3 out of 5 stars - A Satisfying Rental - 12/01/2000 Premiere, p.97
"...THE PATRIOT deserves a salute as the first Hollywood epic about the American Revolution to successfully blend ferocity and feeling..." - 07/06/2000 Rolling Stone, p.145-6
"...THE PATRIOT has a good sense of spectacle and is quite successful at re-creating a period that has not been brought to the screen with much success recently..." - 06/28/2000 Los Angeles Times, p.C1
"...It is rousing and entertaining, and you get your money's worth....[Gibson gives] a powerful and effective performance..." - 06/28/2000 Chicago Sun-Times, p.209
"...With some beautiful cinematography and a few strong doses of musket-blasting action..." - 04/01/2001 Total Film, p.108