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Parents' Guide to

The Patriot

By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Exciting Revolutionary War tale has graphic battle scenes.

Movie R 2000 165 minutes
The Patriot Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 22 parent reviews

age 6+

Not that bad

I try to teach my boys what our country stands for. The war scenes in this movie shows what men did for our freedoms. I believe if they see what was done for our freedoms they will respect them move, and be willing to fight for them if they have too. At a time where more and more of our god given rights are under attack they need this.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
1 person found this helpful.
age 14+

A not so historically accurate, revolutionary war film.

As a family with a rich history with the United Empire Loyalists, having a look at a film like "The Patriot", shows an alternative perspective to the American Revolutionary War. My main gripe with this film is the brutality and war crimes committed by the British red coats against unarmed colonists. The burning of churches with civilians trapped inside and the shooting of children and wounded enemy officers is totally fictional and excessive. No historical evidence exists of these atrocities ever being committed. However as a film it does do many things well a message about freedom, the importance of family and values.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (22 ):
Kids say (84 ):

It's not perfect, but this is a very enjoyable popcorn movie, sumptuously and excitingly filmed, and rousingly entertaining. The action sequences play well, and Gibson delivers, as always. He's utterly compelling in The Patriot, whether he's grimly dispatching an enemy, looking tenderly at a tiny daughter who won't speak to him, or agonizing over his past sins. Fellow Aussie Heath Ledger is superb as Benjamin's oldest son Gabriel, at first impatient to join the fight and later a brave and mature soldier and an ardent suitor.

There's a long Hollywood tradition of reluctant heroes being forced into violence, thus giving us the best of both worlds: 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 better 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 teenage rebellion.) It's worth noting that producing/directing team Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich play fast and loose with historical facts here. Not only is villainous Colonel Tavington so reprehensible that he enjoys burning down a church filled with civilians, but the film in no way acknowledges that the character of Benjamin was inspired by a real-life colonist who hunted Native Americans and kept enslaved people. In fact, while one racist character showily learns the error of his ways after being saved by a Black solider, the film pretty much ignores historical race relations and slavery. So The Patriot may be exciting, but it's definitely not an accurate history lesson.

Movie Details

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