The Patriot Movie Poster Image

The Patriot



Many graphic battle scenes, not for all teens.
Popular with kidsParents recommend
  • Review Date: May 7, 2003
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2000
  • Running Time: 165 minutes

What parents need to know


Very graphic violence, including battle scenes, suicide, children in peril, major characters killed.





Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Social drinking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is a very violent movie, with many graphic battle scenes, vividly portrayed. A character commits suicide when his family is killed. There are some gentle sexual references in a scene depicting the colonial custom of "bundling bags" for courting couples.

What's the story?

THE PATRIOT stars Mel Gibson as Benjamin Martin, a veteran of the British army who was a hero during the French and Indian war. Twenty years later, he has no love for the monarchy but some skepticism about the alternative. He asks, \"Why should I trade one tyrant 3000 miles away for 3000 tyrants one mile away?\" and \"I haven't got the luxury of principles.\" More than that, his memories of the atrocities of war, his own as well as the enemy's, and his passion for protecting his seven children won't allow him to fight again. But when Benjamin's son is killed by a British soldier, he throws guns to his younger boys, straps several onto himself, and goes off to fight his own personal war, a sort of Robin Hood crossed with Terminator.

Is it any good?


There's a long Hollywood tradition of reluctant heroes who are forced into violence, thus giving us the best of both worlds with a hero whose heart is in the right place, but whose muscles and gun are, too. So, Benjamin has to find a reason to fight. It would have been nice if that reason had something to do with liberty and democracy, but instead it's about revenge. The only heartfelt struggle for independence in the movie is teen-age rebellion. And, producing/directing team Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich play fast and loose with historical facts here. Colonel Tavington is a villain so reprehensible that he not only burns down a church filled with civilians, he enjoys it. This level of cartoonish exaggeration makes it harder for us to engage with the characters.

Still, this is a very enjoyable summer popcorn movie, sumptuously and excitingly filmed, and rousingly entertaining. The action sequences play well, and the black characters are treated with as much dignity as possible. Gibson delivers, as always. He is utterly compelling whether he is hacking an opponent to death, looking tenderly at a tiny daughter who will not speak to him, or agonizing over his past sins. Fellow Aussie Heath Ledger is superb as oldest son Gabriel, at first impatient to join the fight, later a brave and mature soldier and an ardent suitor.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the real origins of the Revolutionary War. They might want to look up Francis Marion, known as the Swamp Fox, who, like the fictional Benjamin Martin, defeated the British soldiers by using his knowledge of the local topography and by staying away from open-field battles. It is also worth talking about the notions of rules within wartime, as shown in the negotiations between Benjamin and Cornwallis. How do enemies agree on rules? What should those rules be? Why did Benjamin refuse to give his name? Why did Cornwallis care about limiting the damage to civilians?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 28, 2000
DVD release date:October 24, 2000
Cast:Heath Ledger, Joely Richardson, Mel Gibson
Director:Roland Emmerich
Studio:Columbia Tristar
Run time:165 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong war violence

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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written byLuna Evergreen June 7, 2011

I love this movie!

Very entertaining but things can get VERY intense! But since the movie is trying to be realistic then it needs to be intense like saving private ryan! By the way- we are learning about the war in school and are going to watch this movie tomorrow!! I think some people will be scarred for life!! Lol
Kid, 12 years old May 1, 2013

the violence shows it like it is

there are scenes like when a guy chops up a guy so bad you can see the blood splattering and some scenes with language so thats what i think
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Parent of a 14 year old Written byTsion September 13, 2009

Graphic Violence, but Uplifting Messages...

When I came on this page and saw that parents rated this movies as "iffy ages 12+", I was very surprised. While not as bad as other R-rated films, this movie shouldn't be shown to anyone under the age of 14. That said, though it is violent, it is filled with positive messages of bravery, acceptance, and loyalty. This is a very violent film. Countless people are shot throughout the entire film, most with accompanying blood that sprays or spurts. One man has his leg taken off by a cannon ball (brief shot of the bloody knee), and another is decapitated by a cannon ball (it's in slow-mo; the cannon takes the head off, and you see the rest of the body for a brief moment before it cuts away). A man gets a tomahawk in the head, and another is bayoneted through the throat at close range. However, random soldiers being shot isn't the violence parents need to be most concerned with. Many major characters are killed, one of which is a child. Children are repeatedly threatened through the movie, with guns, torches, and the like. In one heartwrenching scene, a whole town is brought together in a church that is later burned. You see the screaming, crying people trying to break loose, and flames consuming the outside of the church. While no burning is actually seen, I think that it is this intense, emotional scene that given the movie its R-rating. No sex or language to speak of. Highly recommended.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Great role models


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