The Patriot

The Patriot (2000)

47 corrected entries

(11 votes)

Corrected entry: The main historical falsehood in this film is, of course, the burning of the church by British and Loyalist forces with the population of the town inside. This type of incident is typical of the Germans in World War 2 (e.g. Lidice, Oradour) but there is no comparable incident recorded from the American Revolution by either the British or the Americans.

Correction: Actually, the British did burn a church with the entire population of a town inside. However, the makers did change the fact that the moment the British had left the town, it began to rain and put out the fire; thus everyone survived. Most likely they only changed this for theatrical effect.

2

Correction: You say the British tried to incinerate people in a church? Yes, atrocities were committed during the war, but I have NEVER heard of the British doing that! Please can you name the community where this took place? Or the date it occurred? Or name the Britons who perpetrated this outrage? The nearest equivalent I can find is Brunswick Town, in North Carolina. The citizens of Brunswick Town were exceptionally active in opposing British rule. In 1776 the British army and navy launched a retaliatory attack on Brunswick Town, and burnt the town, including the church. But the citizens of Brunswick Town saw the British coming, and fled for safety, so nobody was killed. Brunswick Town was never rebuilt, and the ruins of the church and the rest of the town are now a historic visitor attraction. I concede the British may have been morally reprehensible to burn Brunswick Town, but they did not go so far as to try to incinerate the townspeople.

Corrected entry: When the church is burned down and Anne is inside, the congregation is burned to death. Then, when they find the necklace that was given to Anne, it is still attached to the string. How could a ribbon and metal charm still be in good shape if the fire burned down the church?

Correction: Since it wasn't around the neck of Anne's body, we can assume that it fell off and then most likely got kicked by the panicked crowd into an area that didn't get as much fire damage.

Phixius Premium member
1

Correction: Possibly this could be explained by the fact that the British army never burned a church with people inside. While the British army did commit atrocities in North America during the war, but they never went as far as to deliberately incinerate civilians in a church.

Corrected entry: When Benjamin Martin meets with Cornwallis about the prisoner exchange and brings the dogs in (Great Danes or otherwise), Cornwallis refers to them as "boys." The black dog is female.

kaevanoff

Correction: "Boy" for dogs is gender neutral. A lot of owners of female dogs call it a boy. Certainly with 2 dogs you'd never say "come boy and girl."

lionhead
1

I have 3 dogs, 1 male, 2 female. No one in the family calls them boys. Sorry but I don't buy that explanation. I think it was just a miss.

kaevanoff

1 example, an example where the females are the majority. Not really a good example I'd say. Again, "boys" is gender neutral. Also, he says it once, just once. Are you saying it is not possible for someone to call a male and female dog "boys"? It's not a movie mistake.

lionhead

Corrected entry: When Ben tells his oldest daughter Margret to hide in the fields with William and Susan, as Ben and his 2 boys are running away there is a much older child than what Susan should be kneeling next to where Thomas is lying.

Correction: There is a passage of time, as noted in Gabriel's letter, from when the movie started in 1776, to when Thomas was shot. In his letter he mentioned the fall of Charleston to the British, which took place in 1780.

Steve Kozak
1

Corrected entry: When Gabriel is looking out the window you can hear the British playing "the British grenadiers." This was only used in the northern British campaign.

Correction: The music was used at the battle of Hobkirks Hill in South Carolina in 1781, the music was used by Lord Rawdon to help his troops defending the hill.

1

Corrected entry: When Benjamin stabs Colonel Tavington in the throat at the end of the last battle, he yanks the bayonet out of his throat immediately after stabbing him and then throws it away. However, he turns to watch his advancing troops and the bayonet is seen hanging out of Tavington's throat.

Correction: This is incorrect. Tavington is supported by the rifle with the bayonet that stabbed him in the stomach, but there is no bayonet in his throat.

1

Corrected entry: When Benjamin's milita go out on the battle fields to fight, you can see the cannon balls flying over the soldiers and the cannons in the back of the battlefield. Armies only used cannons at the beginning of a real battle because there was too great of a risk of hitting their own men. What the cannons did instead of firing over the soldiers was fire all of their cannons to hit the opponents artillery (cannons) until they felt it was safe to move in with the men.

Correction: The above correction states that cannon fire was only used at the beginning of the Battle thus avoiding Killing members in their ranks via friendly fire. However, there are some historical accounts that upon seeing the potential of losing a battle, General Cornwallis, in his desperation to save the victory, actually ordered the fire of artillery later in the battle, causing tragic loss to his own infantry as cannon fire fell short.

1

Corrected entry: In the scene where Benjamin Martin receives mail from the mail carrier, he fails to pay him the postage. At the time period, postage was always payed by the receiving party rather then the sender.

Michael Bailey

Correction: It was common practice at that time for well to do men, such as Benjamin Martin, to have an account at the post office much like he would have had at supply stores where he would pay monthly, or possibly after harvest times.

1

Corrected entry: During the battle of Cowpens, the bigot who has a change of heart says to the slave that "It's October" and "it's been over twelve months", meaning that the slave is free. All good and well. However, the Battle of Cowpens was fought in the month of January not October. (02:20:58)

Correction: Although largely based on actual events, the film is an historical fiction. Plenty of details surrounding timeline, identities, actions, etc are changed for drama. In fact, the battle is never actually identified as the Battle of Cowpens in the film, though it's based on the real battle. The date was likely chosen to fit the timeline better.

1

Corrected entry: The official design of the flag was 13 alternate red and white stripes, with a blue canton containing 13 stars, but the Continental Congress never specified any design for the stars. One variation was the circle of stars seen in the film, but it is very unlikely that every flag would have used this design. Many flags at the time had varying numbers of stripes, plus a Union Jack in the canton.

Correction: Unlikely but not impossible, so it's not a mistake.

1

Corrected entry: As the Battle of Cowpens opens, we see British artillery firing on the Continentals. Normally, that would not be a mistake, except that the artillery shown is seige artillery used on forts and such. The British would probably have used smaller cannon against advancing troop columns.

Correction: "Probably" doesn't qualify as a mistake, unless you know for a fact they didn't use this type of artillery.

1

Corrected entry: When Charlotte gets the children out of bed to flee from the British, Susan is barefooted when Charlotte picks her up and they flee the house. The next morning, Susan has shoes.

Correction: This is not a mistake, we don't know what happened in the meantime, they'd have had several hours to get some shoes from somewhere else (e.g. form another family on their way to their refuge).

Ronnie Bischof
1

Corrected entry: After the ship explodes and the woman proclaims, "Oh, fireworks. Lovely," Tavington downs his drink and places his glass gently on a surface to his left, yet we hear the sound of glass breaking, as if he had slammed or thrown it down. In fact, if you look closely you can see he hasn't even finished putting it down when we hear the sound effect. (01:14:20)

Correction: In my DVD version you can't see the glass anymore when you hear the sound. And if he throws the glass down powerful enough, there is no proof that the sound isn't corresponding with the impact of the glass.

Ronnie Bischof
1

Corrected entry: After Tavington is down by the creek shaving, he comes back up the hill and gets on his horse. He is supposed to be sticking something in his chest pocket, but you can clearly see it miss and fall to the ground.

Correction: That's his straight razor he loses. And people can actually do this in real life, especially with the stress of being under attack and unarmed.

Twotall
1

Corrected entry: It's strange that all the "Redcoats" in the entire film have pronounced British accents. When you consider nearly 90% of the British force was made up of German mercenaries, it's odd that we never hear any speak in German or any with the slightest hint of a German accent.

David Mercier

Correction: While you are right that there were numerous German mercenaries fighting on the side of the British during the war, their numbers were nowhere near 90%. Rough estimates put it at around 25%, largely located in the Northern colonies which the British felt as "captured" and those not worth wasting British troops to guard. Also, Lord Cornwallis would never have fought with any troops other than British troops he had trained and knew their duty to his satisfaction.

1

However, it is interesting that there are absolutely no "English" accents amongst the Americans, at this point wouldn't all American accents sound more British by comparison to today?

Corrected entry: In the scene where Tavington is being told by Corwallis he may use "brutal" tactics, Tavington says he would not be able to return to England after committing such acts of violence. Cornwallis offers him the bribe of an enormous portion of American land. Tavington says "Tell me about Ohio." Ohio didn't not become an Amercan territory until after the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. Ohio wasn't actually American land.

Correction: The Ohio River Valley was a British controlled territory at the time of the Revolution. Although many of the original colonial charters included parts of this area, the area was jointly claimed by France and Britain. It officially became part of the British Empire after the French & Indian War (Seven Years War in Europe). Tavington knew the colonies would eventually spread into this area and he wanted to control a big part of it when they did. To bad for him, the Americans won their independence, and in doing so the U.S. was given the Ohio River Valley as a concession in the Treaty of Paris that ended the American Revolution in 1783. The Ohio River Valley was formally organized into several territories with the Northwest Ordinance of 1787.

Mark English
1

Corrected entry: In the scene were Benjamin Martin is fighting Travington in the Battle of Cowspen, there is a shot of the overall battle and Martin starts to advance on Travington. Go to the scene before that, and in slow motion see Martin losing his pistol as it flies through the air. But because of film editing, he has it in the next shot.

Correction: Benjamin throws the gun away because he has already fired the shot. In the next scene you can see him running with a second gun tucked in his belt. That is the gun you see him holding in a later scene.

1

Corrected entry: During the Battle of Cowpens, the militia did fire two shots and was then allowed to withdraw, giving the British Army the impression that the Americans were fleeing. The Continental Army was also waiting for the British to fall into this trap. But the Continental Army was not waiting at the bottom of a hill as depicted in the movie. Only the troops landed by the British Navy at Gallipoli during World War I were foolish enough to dig in on the low ground.

Correction: At the Battle of Cowpens, the Continental Army did use a "reverse slope" ambush. A "reverse slope" ambush is where the main force waits on the back side of a hill at a point lower than the crest. The enemy is then lured to rapidly pursue fleeing forces over the crest of the hill. When the enemy reaches the top of the hill they are silohuetted against the skyline and are easy targets for the ambushing force. The volly delivered by the ambushing Continental Army was devestating to the British force, which combined with the surprise and confusion, allowed the Continental Army to win the Battle of Cowpens. (I've no idea what the Battle of Gallipolie has to do with this movie.).

1

Corrected entry: When Mel Gibson is making bullets by melting metal toy soldiers in a spoon over a fire, from one shot to the next, the soldier's uniform changes colors, from red to blue.

Correction: He was melting metal soldiers of both the British and the colonial Americans. That explains why it appears to be changing from red to blue.

1

Corrected entry: Throughout the movie when loading their pistols, the characters are always seen ramming the musket balls into their guns and then throwing the ramrod away. In reality soldiers were taught to always place the ramrod back in the gun after they were done ramming. It would be impossible to fire the gun again if they did not have a ramrod to ram the next musket ball in.

Correction: It is quite likely that the soldiers would have tossed their ram rods aside BRIEFLY, so that they could slightly shorten the reloading process (which is a good thing to do if you're required to stand up in the open in order to reload.) You'll see Civil War skirmishers (reenactors who engage paper targets with live ammunition) do it all the time, in order to maintain the muzzleloading musket's goal of 3 rounds per minute. Once they fired, they would have picked the ram rod up again to reload, then toss it aside again.

1

Factual error: In one scene Lord Cornwallis' adjutant announces to Lord Cornwallis that a messenger (Benjamin Martin) has arrived. After initially dismissing the message, Lord C. pays attention on the mention of two "Great Danes" in Martin's company. The Great Dane as we know it today had many names over the centuries, but the Danish connection only became common use in the 19th century (Comte de Buffon - l'Histoire Naturelle - 1811). Until then the British would have called them Mastiffs (English or German), English Dogges, or perhaps even Boarhounds. Actually - the English Kennel Club of Britain didn't officially recognize the term/breed "Great Dane" until 1884.

More mistakes in The Patriot

Colonel William Tavington: Kill me before the war is over, will you? It appears that you are not the better man.
Benjamin Martin: You're right. My sons were better men.

More quotes from The Patriot

Trivia: At the beginning of the movie when Benjamin is taking the children to Aunt Charlotte's house in Charleston, there is a woman on the street that does not move, and wearing a big hoop dress. She is there to hide the fire hydrant on the street underneath her dress.

More trivia for The Patriot

Question: At the end of the movie, Martin stabs Tavington in the stomach, and then in the throat. How does he know Tavington is really dead this time? Earlier in the film, Tavington pretended to be dead twice after Martin's sons shot him.

Answer: Guns were less powerful during Revolutionary times and the wounds were more survivable. Deep and ripping knife stabs to areas like the abdomen and the neck area are more likely to be fatal. Tavington may not die instantly, but he would probably bleed out and/or bleed internally fairly quickly.

raywest Premium member
More questions & answers from The Patriot

Join the mailing list

Separate from membership, this is to get updates about mistakes in recent releases. Addresses are not passed on to any third party, and are used solely for direct communication from this site. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Check out the mistake & trivia books, on Kindle and in paperback.