Historical Accuracy of the Patriot Essay

Words: 969
Pages: 4

History 122 – American History to 1877
Jason Dickson

Historical Movie Review: The Patriot

The movie, The Patriot, is the story of a South Carolina plantation owner, Benjamin Martin, who leads a local militia against British troops in the South during the beginning of the American Revolutionary War. Martin, who is a widower with six children and a veteran of the French and Indian War, wants nothing to do with the war until a brutal British Colonel, William Tavington, kills one of his sons and takes his eldest son, a member of the Continental Army, prisoner. Martin, who’s character is loosely based on Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox, uses guerrilla warfare to cut British supply lines and attack outposts in an attempt to slow General
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Martin’s son is shown mending a flag he saved from a battlefield, which Martin uses in the final battle scene to rally the troops. The flag shown is the Betty Ross flag with thirteen stars in a circle. This flag was not created until 1779 (citation). Another thing inaccurately added to the battle scenes was exploding munitions. These added to the action on the screen, but Lieutenant NameShrapnel would not invent exploding cannon balls until date (citation).
The movie also added some drama to how brutal the British troops were to the rebel’s families. While it is recorded that rebels did lose their homes as a price for being disloyal, it was more often done by loyalists within the colonies and not the British (citation). The scene that was most sensationalized was the burning of the church with the congregation locked inside. Had this really occurred during the Revolutionary War, it would be in every history book and would have become a battle cry similar to “Remember the Alamo!” The absence of loyalist in South Carolina and in the British army is also an oversight. While the movie does show one officer, who is a native South Carolinian, the state was known to be fairly split between rebels and loyalists. Surely there would have been more than one local person among the British troops.
Despite being almost three hours long, I thought The Patriot was extremely entertaining. I didn’t find the historical