Benjamin Martin is a man with seven children who fought in the French and Indian wars. He didn’t want to fight in any more wars. After a nearby battle, he cares for wounded British and American soldiers at his home. Colonel Tavington arrives to arrest Martin’s oldest son Gabriel, who is a Continental soldier. Martin’s second oldest son Thomas tries to help his brother and is shot in the back and killed by Tavington. Martin is upset by his son’s death and convinces his neighbors to join him in the militia to fight the British. Martin is made colonel in the Militia by the Continental army. French Major Jean Villeneuve helps train the militia members and promises aid from the French army when they arrive from France.” The British are seen as gentlemanly fops or sadistic monsters, and the Americans come in two categories: brave or braver”. http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-patriot-2000
The British are eventually defeated after many battles and Martin returns home to find his neighbors and fellow militia fighters rebuilding his home which was burned down by Tavington.
Many of the events in the film are inaccurate or purely fiction. Characters such as Benjamin Martin are made up of five different militia members. Other characters such as Tavington are inaccurately portrayed. The battles in the film are loosely based on actual battles that took place during the American Revolution. Some major events in the film are also inaccurate or did not take place at all.
Battles that were accurately represented are the British possession of Charleston and Camden was based on the actual Battle of Camden. The unnamed battle at the end of the film was based on elements from both the Battle of Cowpens and the Battle of Guilford Courthouse.
Yorktown wich is barley shown is based on the real battle of Yorktown. Characters that were more accurately portrayed were Charles Cornwallis based on British general of the same name. Nathen Greene based on the continental general of the same name and Charles O’hara based on the British general of the same name. The burning of Benjamin Martin’s home was an actual event but it was the home of militia fighter Thomas Sumter. http://www.patriotresource.com/thepatriot/index.html
Characters that were not accurately portrayed are Benjamin Martin who was based on a combination of several figures in the militia:
– Francis Marion
– Thomas Sumter
– Andrew Pickens
– Elijah Clarke
– Daniel Morgan
William Tavington is based on Lt. Colonel Banastre Tarleton. Tarleton was known to be brutal and ruthless but it is not known that he ever shot a child in the back. The relationship between Cornwallis and Tarleton is though to be better than what is shown in the film. Tarleton was thought of as a hero in his hometown of Liverpool and was not killed in the battle of Cowpens.
The character of Harry Burrell was inspired by Lt. Colonel Henry Lee. This character as seen in the final theatrical cut has little in common with the real Colonel Lee.
In the film slaves were seen fighting in the war, Continental congress offered freedom to slaves who served. George Washington issued specific orders that slaves could not serve. In the film Occam, Dan Scotts slave, serves with the promise of freedom after 12 months. The northern colonies readily included slaves who often joined to serve when their masters did. Because there were so few men the continental army let them in. The southern colonies refused. http://www.patriotresource.com/thepatriot/index.html.
Charleston the battle is not shown but the results serve as a time transition in the movie. Cornwallis and. Tavington are shown in Charleston in the film but no date is really given. In actual fact Cornwallis and Tarleton were in the South Carolina backcountry and Gen. Henry Clinton oversaw the capture and surrender. http://www.patriotresource.com/thepatriot/index.html
in the Unnamed the climatic battle of Cowpens and Guildford Courthouse Tavington is killed in the film but this is inaccurate because Tarleton survived. Tarleton retreated and escaped. http://www.patriotresource.com/thepatriot/index.html
British soldiers were shown in the film as evil, bloodthirsty sadists. In one scene, redcoats are seen rounding up a village of screaming women, children and old men, locking them in a church and setting the building ablaze. No such thing ever happened in the Revolutionary War. http://entertainment.time.com/2011/01/26/top-10-historically-misleading-films/
Benjamin Martin used the same tactics as Daniel Morgan at the battle of cowpens. http://www.patriotresource.com/thepatriot/index.html
. Martin like Morgan was given the job of enemy harassment in the back country of South Carolina. Tarleton was sent to hunt him down by Cornwallis. Morgan set up a direct confrontation with Tarleton at the battle of cowpens. Daniel Morgan was one of the most gifted battle field tacticians of the American Revolutionary War. He was by no means the religious person Martin portrayed him as. Morgan did recruit 96 men into the militia in 10 days. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Morgan
. Daniel Morgan did not have seven kids. Benjamin Martins character was almost completely fictional having some small likeness with other characters but was a combination of many militia members.
Tavington was represented effectively in his belief that anyone who helped the enemy was the enemy. Tarleton himself never did have any face to face contact with the milItia like the film showed. http://www.patriotresource.com/thepatriot/index.html.
He served under Lord Cornwallis during the American Revolutionary War. Tavington was killed in the final battle in the movie when the real person, Tarleton died in 1933 in Britain. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Patriot_(2000_film)
There was a bias in the film with characters like Tarleton and the British soldiers. They were the central hate figure of the southern campaign of the Revolution but historians now believe Tarleton was unfairly demonized. There is no evidence that he ever broke the rules of war or shot a child not the back. . In effect he was probably no more brutal than other British or American soldiers.http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/1343851/Truth-is-first-casualty-in-Hollywoods-war.html
The film made all of the American soldiers look like heroes and the British all looked evil and that they started the whole war by themselves. The events in the film are set up to make the Americans look like the underdogs who rally together and defeat the bully.
I think the film is not accurate and not a very good source for information.
The film used inaccurate names and scenes and portrayed advents that did not happen. However the film gives you a good idea of what it was like in the war and how times were then and what the soldiers had to go through. I do not think the film is a useful source of information about the American revolution.