Are there any good movies about the American Revolution?


July 3, 2005, 04:53 PM
Every July 4th, since my friends and I have been freshmen in high school (so going on about 8 years now) we have celebrated Independence Day be going out shooting.

A more recent thing we do is, when finished, we all go back to one of our homes, pop in a movie, and clean all of our guns. I was thinking that this time the movie should fit the occasion, but the only movie that I can think of that has anything to do with the American Revolution was the (horribly bad) "Patriot" with Mel Gibson.

My fellow THR members haven't let me down yet, so I'm hoping someone can help me find a better July 4th movie to clean guns to. :D


If you enjoyed reading about "Are there any good movies about the American Revolution?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
July 3, 2005, 04:54 PM
Disney did the Francis Marion story first, back in the '70's.

"Swamp Fox" I believe. Watched it in grade school.

Googled Revolutionary war movies, I assume most of these suck.

July 3, 2005, 05:34 PM
Sorry but I don't know of any good movies about the Revolution; however, may I recommend a really good book on the topic?

It's "A Few Bloody Noses, the Realities and Mythologies of the American Revolution" by Robert Harvey.

A really good 1-volume history on the topic, your library will have (or can get it). Answers questions like "What *was* Burgoyne thinking when he invaded New York from Canada?" (He wasn't.) The French were on our side, right? (Ummm, they're the ones that actually won at Yorktown.) Yorktown was it for the Brits, right? (Sort of, they still held New York City, Charleston, and some other important places.) Why then, did the Brits quit? (Parliment passed a 'law' stating that anybody who supported the war from now on was a traitor.)

etc., etc., etc. Lots of stuff that we *should* have learned in high school but didn't. At least I didn't ...Sigh ...

July 3, 2005, 08:46 PM
1776. Awesome musical.

Lord Bodak
July 3, 2005, 10:50 PM
oweno, "A Few Bloody Noses" is in print. Amazon has it. Is it worth picking up? I've got some Civil War history, but except for the Federalist Papers I've got nothing on the Revolution. Any other recommendations?

July 3, 2005, 10:53 PM
There's a surprising lack of good movies about the Revolution. "The Patriot" is pretty outrageous, though it least it has some action. Never, ever watch "Revolution" with Al Pacino. It's so boring they use it at Gitmo.

The only A-list movie set in 18th century America at all in the past 20 years that I know of is Michael Mann's "Last of the Mohicans," which includes excellent action and acting.

July 4, 2005, 12:09 AM
I enjoyed the old "Devil's Desciple" ... Burt Lancaster, as I recall ... and "Jonny Tremain ... Son's of Liberty" ... same era.'


July 4, 2005, 12:19 AM
I remember a mini-series called "George Washington" that was done well. Not really about the revolution per se, but I thought a well done movie in a semi-documentary format.

Dave R
July 4, 2005, 12:34 AM
There was a decent movie on History Channel a few years back about Washington crossing the Delaware. Jeff Daniels played Washington. That's as much as I remember, except I thought it did a good job of describing the cultural, political and tactical situation Washington was working with.

July 4, 2005, 01:10 AM
Ah, now books, there you have something. :D

"Crucible of War" - about the 7 years war, the true generating incident that led to the British acts that led to revolution. Also how Washington was blooded.

"1794" - how Washington pretty much single handedly saved the Republic and built the American Army.

July 4, 2005, 06:38 AM
for Lord Bodak ... yep, pick up a copy of 'Bloody Noses', well worth owning.

I've yet to read McCulllough's (sp?) '1775' but it's probably really good, as was his bio of John Adams which I own (and must get back from my friend who borrowed it some while back. Grumble, mutter...

other recommendations? Well, McPherson's 'Battle Cry of Freedom', many call it the best one-volume history of the Civil War ever written.

I own both Battle Cry and Bloody Noses and often just grab one off the shelf, open it at random, and start reading.


btw, the why and how we won at Yorktown is really interesting - Washington was brilliant (marched our Army and the French Army from New York to Virginia to strike Cornwallis just at the time that the French Navy (Admiral DeGrasse) blockaded the Brits while the English Navy went up to New York. A short window and Washington took advantage of it.

July 4, 2005, 08:10 AM
There's an old Disney movie that I think came out around 1960 called "Johnny Tremane."

July 4, 2005, 11:19 AM
There's one called April Morning based on the Howard Fast novel with the same name.
Unfortunately, I've never been able to find it at the video store.

An odd fact is that Howard Fast was a lifelong Communist. He wrote for and edited a Communist newspaper for years.
He did write a good book on the Revolution in April Morning .
Must have been some heavy compartmantalization going on in his head.

July 4, 2005, 11:29 AM
1776 was a funny musical (if your into those)

July 4, 2005, 11:49 AM
There is an old movie called " Drums along the mohawk" I aways thought gave a fair impression of life during the revolution.

Good shooting

July 4, 2005, 12:10 PM
Was "The Patriot" bad?
I have not gotten around to seeing it yet, but had heard it was pretty decent. (This was, of course from non-gunny and non-history buffs)

July 4, 2005, 01:09 PM
I belive the one Iam thinking of is April Morning it about the opening day and the first shots fired. It was a good movie in fact they showed in my daugthers history class and she enjoy it. Star was the guy that played the PI in Boston(Spencer for Hire?) on TV can't remember his name.

July 4, 2005, 01:23 PM
Robert Urich

July 4, 2005, 04:03 PM
1776 and The Patriot with Mel Gibson, still catch that everytime it's on.

July 4, 2005, 04:08 PM
Why do some of you think "The Patriot" was so bad? I liked that movie both times I saw it.

Perhaps I missed something horrendous in it?

Mad Man
July 4, 2005, 04:10 PM
There was a decent movie on History Channel a few years back about Washington crossing the Delaware. Jeff Daniels played Washington. That's as much as I remember, except I thought it did a good job of describing the cultural, political and tactical situation Washington was working with.

The Crossing. It was on again this morning.

I remember a mini-series called "George Washington" that was done well. Not really about the revolution per se, but I thought a well done movie in a semi-documentary format.

George Washington.

George Washington II: The Forging of a Nation.

July 4, 2005, 04:16 PM
"The Patriot" has some good moments. The black powder maxim "aim small, miss small" is neat. But the second Our Australian Hero comes into a battle scene, realism goes out the window. I expected him to grab redcoats in his mouth and toss them. When Gibson isn't on screen, the battles are better. But the politics are still deeply inaccurate.

The battles in "The Last of the Mohicans" are far more realistic. Frankly, the deer hunting scene that opens the film is one of the most beautiful scenes ever filmed. It is almost guaranteed to make you want to order a long rifle kit from Cabelas :D Michael Mann is a better director than Roland Emmerich, and Daniel Day-Lewis is probably the greatest actor of our time.

July 4, 2005, 04:24 PM
Drums Along The Mohawk, as mentioned by fb. 1939, directed by John Ford, starring Henry Fonda.

July 4, 2005, 05:52 PM
I have three suggestions, all different genres and all have a different perspective in how they offer their 'entertainment'.

1776 - A musical made in the seventies which is centered on John Adams and his invaluable contribution to American Independence. It is actually a decent movie if you can get past the bubblegummy music here and there. It draws on quotes from the founding father's and though not perfectly accurate is a great movie to watch with the kids. It has funny parts and the man that plays Adams did a very believable job. Same with the gentleman that played Benjamin Franklin.

The Patriot - Mid 1990s version of one family's entrance into the war of independence. It is a good film, but as can be expected from Mel, it is BLOODY. It is sort of like Braveheart 1776 style. The great quote "Aim small miss small" comes from this movie. It is enjoyable and shows no bubblrgum but may be overdone a bit. It is an entertainment film afteral.

Liberty! A PBS Series - For historical accuracy and perspective I'd suggest "liberty" which is a three tape set and is outstanding. It is a 'Ken Burns like' documentary and is LONG. I truly think that this is one of the best series I have seen and it is very watchable.

July 4, 2005, 06:20 PM
I know I'm going a bit afield here but 'Northwest Passage' is still a pretty good movie - not about the Revolution but about the French and Indian Wars. Rogers' Rangers and all that. Spencer Tracey as Rogers does a quite good job.

I do have a bit of a problem with the movie when they attack the French and Indians as I say to myself 'Hey, those are my people they're killing.' but there you have it.

After the war, Rogers went off to find the Northwest Passage and was courtmartialed for his trouble. Was a loyalist during the Revolution.

And speaking of Loyalists, the way we treated them after the Revolution is not one of our proudest moments. Tens of thousands left the new United States for Canada, the islands of the Carribean, and some for England. Their descendents have an organization - United Empire Loyalists (I think) and they maintain a quite good website - time out while I google it -

I'm back, it's:

also, we didn't actually cover ourselves with glory in the way we treated Burgoyne's army after they "surrendered" but I'll let those interested look that up themselves. And it was less of a surrender than something like an armistice.

I'll finish my long-winded posting with a bit from the 'Bloody Noses' book. Retreating from Lexington/Concord, 4 British soldiers were out of ammo, surrounded by our Militia, under fire, and near prostrate with heatstroke. They came upon an old woman in a cabin and asked her to broker a surrender with the Militia which she did.

Back in England, a member of Parliment who was opposed to the war said "If an unarmed old woman can capture four grenadiers, how are we going to defeat the Rebels?" Cruel thing to say but he had a point.

July 5, 2005, 03:52 AM
Uh, I don't get what is so bad about The Patriot. Granted I just usually watch the LotM style rescue where he says "Aim small, Miss small," but I don't get what is so bad about this film.

July 5, 2005, 08:31 AM
Last of the Mohicans

My favorite book, movie and soundtrack.

I agree that Lewis is a good actor.

I like that the film was made in North Carolina. That's my neck of the woods and I've spent lots of time in those hills.

July 5, 2005, 11:20 AM
I agree about Last of the Mohicans book, movie and soundtrack. As for a good book about the Revolution, try "the Glorious Cause" by Jeff Shaara. This guy is my favorite writer (his dad was Michael Shaara who wrote "The Killer Angels" ) and this book is a great one dealing with some of the big figures in the Revolution.

July 5, 2005, 12:02 PM
Here's why I think the movie "The Patriot" sucks.

1) The movie fundamentally doesn't know what it wants to be. Is it a comedy? Is it an adventure story? Is it a love story? Is it a war movie? Is it a buddy picture? Is it a historical drama? What is it?

The director doesn't know what it is....that's obvious.

And thus, the movie has several good moments sprinkled here and there, but overall, it doesn't do any of the above in a really outstanding manner.

It's sort of like a gun that someone has designed to be a CCW piece and a home defense gun and an assault rifle and a precision sniper rifle and a sporting clays gun that you can also shoot IDPA and NRA Highpower with.....

As such, it's really not that great at anything.

2) The final battle scene wherein Gibson's good guy character is about to kill the British officer bad guy character (ostensibly mangled versions of Marion and Banastre Tarleton respectively, although Tarleton survived the war and wasn't near as awful as "Tavington" in the movie) is so overblown and over-dramatized and so unrealistic and so predictable as to completely ruin all the previous good moments that might have made the movie tolerable until that point.

I mean any time, and I do mean ANY time that a director resorts to slow-motion in a scene to tell the audience, "Hey, pay attention, this is like important and significant or something" that's a sign that the movie is beginning to suck......a lot..........


If you enjoyed reading about "Are there any good movies about the American Revolution?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!