The Patriot holds a special place in many Centropholics' hearts. Not because of its intense storyline, or its breathtaking cinematic visuals. It's because it was the centerpiece of The Gathering. About ten of us were able to visit the set when they were filming in South Carolina, and were treated to something wonderful (read more about it in the Gathering section).
This film stars Mel Gibson as William Walla... um... Benjamin Martin, a father and a farmer during the Revolutionary War, who is drawn into the conflict via his sons (and the injustice visited upon them). Ben Martin is a conglomerate of several historical figures, including Francis Marion, better known by his infamous nickname, "The Swamp Fox". Of course, as history shows us, many of our heroes were ordinary people (and some were downright vile, as the history of Francis Marion would later show us!) who were in the right place, at the right time, with the right motivation. Or more importantly, the wrong place at the wrong time, and was forced into action.
Now, I know there are those, like myself, who jokingly call this "Braveheart 2: Coming to America" but let me assure you this movie has a life all it's own. Whereas William Wallace entered into combat willingly, and was more than willing to take the lives of those who would enslave him, Benjamin Martin was a pacifist forced into battle by those who would harm his family.
There are also some interestingly unique features in the backstory behind this movie. Whilst they were not 100% accurate (one of the inaccuracies, the trees that populated the area at the time, couldn't be helped, as that species of trees was all but extinct!), they had the help and backing (factually) of the Smithsonian Institute. It's the first time the Smithsonian has ever been brought on as a factual/creative consultant.
The writer of this movie is Robert Rodat, who also wrote Saving Private Ryan.