Hollywood Vs History
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History vs. Hollywood
The Revolutionary war, sparked by the colonists anger towards taxation without representation, was a conflict between the United States and its mother country Great Britain. This event had been considered the most significant event in the American history. It separated the thirteen colonies from the tyrannical ruling of King George. The revolutionary war was not a big war, “The military conflict was, by the standards of later wars, a relatively modest one. Battle deaths on the American side totaled fewer than 5,000″1. However, the war proved that the thirteen colonies were capable of defeating the powerful Great Britain. Over the years there were many Hollywood films made based on the revolutionary war, 1776, Revolution, Johnny Tremain, and The Patriot. But, no movie has stirred up as much controversy as the Mel Gibbson movie The Patriot. The patriot is very entertaining but it is historically inaccurate. Too much Hollywood “spices” was added to the movie for viewing pleasures.
The Patriot was a Hollywood version for the story of Francis Marion and the Swamp fox. The swamp fox was a group of men who fought the British Army using Guerrilla warfare. “Marion and his irregulars often defeated larger bodies of British troops by the surprise and rapidity of their movement over swampy terrain”. 2 The Hollywood version of the Swamp fox was quite close; the main Character Benjamin Martin was the leader of a group similar to the Swamp fox. The members of this group destroyed some British arm supplies line by using “hit and hide” method. There were many inaccurate information and flaws in The Patriot. Killing the Prisoner of war like in the Patriot never occurred. Both the American Solider and the British army obeyed the laws of war. There are no records about British army put people in churches and burn them. The Patriot gives us an impression that the war was solely a war between the colonists and the British army. Only one American was shown working against the colonists. But in reality, a lot of colonists supported the British Crown, they were called the loyalists.1 the most inaccurate information in the movie was the portrait of black men. During the revolutionary war, slaves were not treated the way that they were treated in the movie. Also the scene it showed a message by George Washington stating that “slaves who fought one year in the war for the continental cause were freed and paid five shillings a month”3 This was fictional and speaking of fictional, in the Patriot only one black man fought for the continental army, in reality there were many black man fought against the British army.1
With award winning actors and screenwriters, the Hollywood version of the revolutionary war must be “kicked up”. Much additional and fictional information were added to the movie, just to make the movie more exciting and do well in the box office. Two kids and one man with couple rifles killing a dozen British soldiers seems a little too over the top, but it does add a little excitement. The use of flag waving was just too magical in the movie. Every time something goes wrong for the Continental army, Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibbson) waves the flag