“The Patriot” is a historical fiction movie based on the events that took place during the American Revolution. The movie did an excellent job of creating and entertaining yet informative to way to display the American Revolution; however there were a few historical inaccuracies found through out the film. The first historical mistake was the brutality displayed by the British regulars. In the movie, this was overdramatic. For example, in one scene, the British order the execution of a colonial soldier captured in uniform. War crimes like this rarely happened in actuality. The only war crimes that did indeed occur were the hanging of Nathan Hale, Major John Andre, spies, and traitors. Both sides followed the general rules of war and were not extremely violent unless necessary. Another mistake in the movie was the scene in which all of the people in the entire town are locked in a church, which is set on fire. In actuality, this was a nazi war crime, and never occurred during the American Revolution.
In “The Patriot” it appeared as though the battle was Americans VS British, and the only colonist fighting on the British side was viewed as an oddity. However, in reality, approximately 1/3 of the colonists were loyal to the British Crown, 1/3 were against the British, and 1/3 were neutral. This is why the Revolutionary war is sometimes referred to as a civil war, with communities and families split as patriots or loyalists. Another mistake in the movie was the use of the American flag. The American flag was not even invented at that time, and was therefore used to make the war scenes more dramatic. Also, the declaration made by George Washington that the slaves who fought for the continental congress would be freed was fictional.
Most of the characters in this movie were also fictional, with the exception of General Cornwallis. The Patriot showed four of the five battles that actually occurred in the real war. Everything depicted in the battles was mainly factual except for a few minor details. For example, in the Battle of Camden, the movie shows the Continental Army losing against the British due to their traditional methods of fighting. However, this army was made up of 2/3 militia, so it was not the continental army that fled, but rather the militia. The weaponry displayed in this movie was also mainly factual. However, the cannons used in this movie used metal projectiles, and those were not yet invented.
The final misconception seen in this movie was that the militia alone prevented the British from heading North. But after the battle of Camden, the army retreated to North Carolina. There was no one left behind from the continental army to stop the British.
Overall, this movie was accurate in the time frame, and events that happened in the actual Revolutionary War. However, like most movies, certain things needed to be overdramatic in order to keep the audience interested.
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