This is an epic tale of the struggles of war placed upon a new nation.
It is set in South Carolina during the Revolution when war would be in our
own back yard. The story revolves around a character in inner turmoil by
the name of Benjamin Martin, played wonderfully by Mel Gibson, and the family
that he is raising due to the death of his wife. Benjamin Martin, the Patriot,
has fought previously in the French and Indian Conflict, and knows well the
horrors of war. He is pitted against a revolutionary spirit that has the whole
of early American society caught up in the fervor and excitement that comes from
war. Because of his knowledge of the realities of war and his consequential
reluctant demeanor, he is branded a coward even by his own son. This passion
overcomes his family, drawing his sons who are on the verge of manhood, into
Because of the encompassing war, the family is pulled into the
battle and even aids those who have been injured, preferring to remain neutral.
Through the cruel treatment of the English Colonel Tavington, alias "The
Butcher", played by the convincing Jason Isaacs, that culminates in the
murder of one of his sons, Benjamin Martin's hand is forced and he jumps
full-square into the hostility on the side of the Revolutionary
Americans during a rescue of his elder son, Gabriel, played by Heath Ledger.
Benjamin Martin realizes that the only way to protect his family is
to fight with the Patriots for the young nation's freedom. Martin's
remaining children are taken for safekeeping by his kind and gentle sister-in-law
Charlotte Selton, played by Joely Richardson.
As the war wears on, it becomes evident that the rag-tag
Revolutionary forces are no match for the well trained, well afforded Red Coats.
General Cornwallis, portrayed by Tom Wilkinson, continues his brilliant efforts
in warfare, unhindered and unmatched by any American force that can be
mustered. The excellent digital effects imagery by Centropolis Effects
dramatized the bitter defeat that the Continentals experienced at the
Battle of Camden.
Chris Cooper personifies the soldier/statesman Colonel Harry
Burwell who enlists Benjamin Martin as a Colonel in his Continental Army.
A militia is being formed, and Lisa Brenner superbly plays the
strong-willed Anne Howard who helps convince her neighbors to join the
militia. Reverend Oliver, portrayed by Rene Auberjonois, ultimately
joins the Patriot side, determined to protect his flock and help form a new
nation under God.
Benjamin Martin befriends the Frenchman Major Villeneuve, played by
Tcheky Karyo, who, like Martin, has lost family to war. Together, they help recruit
militia and assist in the training of the militia. Colonel Martin's guerrilla war
tactics, when he finally takes on the leadership of a small band of militia, confound
the British, constantly enabling the worn Revolutionary army which has been trodden
down for so long, to keep morale at an even keel.
The spectacular photography directed by Caleb Deschanel and music
by John Williams nourishes and alleviates scenes at Middleton Plantation, Fort
Wilderness, and Charlotte's plantation.
As confidence grows among the people, Colonel Tavington is given
the unenviable task of bringing Colonel Martin, "The Ghost", under reign.
Tavington does this by brutally attacking the militia member's families.
As the story unfolds, The Ghost and The Butcher have constant altercations
in round about ways that finally culminates in the death of Gabriel, Colonel Martin's
Patriot son, at the very hands of the evil Colonel Tavington. His murderous ways come
very close to breaking the will of the entire militia force, but he does not take into
account the revenge of a man who has nothing left to lose.
With the death of Gabriel, Colonel Martin's resolve becomes impenetrable. The
final battle, the Battle of Cowpens, pits The Ghost and The Butcher against one and
another in a fight to the death. The victor is Colonel Martin, in one fell swoop, and
the Continental army, through his brave actions and vigor, have "stayed the
course" for final victory.
The Revolutionists have consummated their quest for freedom and liberty, and
unite together in reconstructing a new home for Benjamin Martin and his family, in
their Independent nation.
P.S.: The Patriot is everything a GREAT movie is intended to be. This
electrifying story keeps you on the edge of your seat and is chock full of
wonderful humor! You will realize the entire gamut of your emotions while
viewing this excellent film.
I had the true honor and absolute pleasure of being an extra in this
film. It all started one day when I saw an advertisement in our local
Berkeley Independent newspaper asking for extras. I happened to be free
that day and thought "Revolutionary War?.....Birth of our Nation?.... they
might need some photogenic horses for this kind of film" So I said, "why not"
and gathered up some photos of our horses and went down to the casting call. I
filled out their required form, turned in the pictures with that, then soon
a group of us were herded into an auditorium where we were given some info
on the movie being filmed here and an opportunity to ask some questions. I
asked them if they had a need for any horses and was told they already had
their horses for the movie. I assumed I had learned of the movie too late,
and thought "well, I tried" and was happy with that. Not too happy, but it
was interesting just being at a casting call.
Several weeks went by, then out of the blue, I received a call asking if
I would go to Rock Hill for a costume fitting to be a townsperson in The
Patriot movie. Interesting turn of events, for sure! I was told there was
a bus leaving the next day, but I had prior commitments here early in the
afternoon and had to be back, so I drove up there in the early morning and
was fitted for costume. All the people there were most helpful and very
diligent in what they were doing. I was told not to cut my hair and let my
sideburns grow out. The guys at my work were giving me fits, calling me
Luke Perry 29483. It was funny!
The first day of filming that I saw was the outdoor "ball" scenes at
Middleton Gardens. When I arrived in the wee hours of the morning and saw
all the tents, trucks, trailers and people in this normally serene setting,
I thought "whoa, this is BIG!" I was amazed at how thorough and
professionally done the entire day of filming went. It was that day that I
learned from another extra that Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin, who had
done Stargate , Independence Day , and Godzilla were doing this one!!! I was
totally impressed and realized at that moment that The Patriot was going
to be a great movie too. Someone that day told me that I wouldn't be getting
much sleep for a while, and they were right!
Another day of filming took place at The College of Charleston where
Peter Howard was giving his speech to the townspeople, Gabriel was signing
up, and Benjamin Martin was exiting the assembly hall. I was given the
privilege of being next to Benjamin as he exited down the steps! That was
quite interesting! I considered snatching him up by the collar saying "We
will form our own nation under God, freedom is what we need, and liberty
WE SHALL HAVE" but decided against it, as I was told to "look mad".
The A.D.'s really stressed not to talk to the actors or actresses, and for
good reason as they had their jobs to prepare for. Other days filming were in the
assembly hall, where Col. Harry Burwell and Benjamin Martin were debating going
to war. The set was absolutely beautiful, with the sun ;) streaming in the windows
and it was fantastic participating and seeing first hand the detail and preparation
in creating scenes in a movie such as this!
On a short bus ride with other extras to some street scenes being
filmed, one of the other extras told me that over 3000 people had applied
to be an extra in The Patriot , and we considered ourselves very fortunate.
getting to ride a horse or not :-)
All the street scenes flowed very smoothly, and detail was impeccable!
Someone said the best thing you'll hear all day is "That's a wrap".
Well, I have to disagree. I didn't want it to end. It was tough a couple
of days being on set all day, then going straight to work trying to wipe off
whatever it was they put on our face, or getting off a couple of hours
early to get to set on time, but it was well worth it, just seeing how the truly
greats do it! What an opportunity!
written by Will Finch