The Patriot

The Patriot (2000)

45 corrected entries

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Corrected entry: At the scene where the surrendering redcoats are killed, after one kneeling is shot in the head, look to the left and a little farther in the background of this action. You can see an actor who is supposed to be stabbing a redcoat on the ground, but it actually looks like he's spanking him to death.

Correction: How do you know he was supposed to be stabbing him to death? We see the patriots using the butts of their guns to kill red coats throughout the movie. This particular one could be doing the same.

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.

xx:xx:xx

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.

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

Corrected entry: In the last battle, Col. Tavington is racing towards Benjamin Martin (flag in hand) on his horse. Martin then kneels and stabs Tavington's horse, sending the horse flying. Freeze frame here, you can clearly see that the horse is on a track; the mechanics are visible on the bottom right of the screen. (The filmming crew used a fake horse for this, as mentioned in the special effects featurette on the DVD version).

Correction: Per the rules of this site, if you have to pause or freeze-frame to see it, it's not a movie mistake.

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.

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.

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

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.

xx:xx:xx

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

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

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.

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

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.

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.).

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.

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.

Corrected entry: Tavington supposedly knew where to find the Martin family by asking Wilkins who lived in the home he had burned down, yet that home was no longer occupied, and he would not have known to look for them at Charlotte's house.

Correction: First he asked him who lived in that home. Then he asked him where Martin would hide his children. Wilkins said he would lead Tavington to Charlotte's house.

Corrected entry: The flames from the torch that are burning the church are WAY up high on the building, far away from the door. A split second later, tons of smoke comes pouring into the church from under the door.

Correction: Yes, because another torch was thrown in front of the doors (we don't see it happen). You can see when they show the outside the church that there are flames (a torch) in front of the doors, presumably there to prevent anyone's escape if they managed to break through the chains on the doors.

Corrected entry: In church, Anne is wearing the necklace that Benjamin later gave her as a wedding gift when she and Gabriel got married.

Correction: The necklace Anne wears in church is one with a cross on it. The necklace she receives from Benjamin is one with a polestar.

Corrected entry: There are numerous references made to "Redcoats" in a sense of fear, as though they are the elite troops of the time, I think "We're talking about real redcoats here," even pops up as a line. Whilst this elitism may have been true, nearly 90% of the troops sent to America during the American Revolution were poorly-trained German mercenaries (from the German state of Saxe-Hess), not properly-trained British soldiers as it was too expensive to send the proper troops, and the American generals knew about this flaw.

David Mercier

Correction: Which is why the Colonials are so afraid of "real" Redcoats. They knew they were better than the regular German opponents.

Twotall

Corrected entry: In the shot were Cornwallis just won his victory and Martin and his son witness the defeat, Cornwallis' colonel says "Glorious victory my lord." The shot is through the his telescope and you see the Continentals retreating towards him and the British chasing them. So he is sitting with General Gates--his arch enemy.

Correction: That particular shot is from the perspective of General Gates as he realises he has been beaten again.

Corrected entry: During the final battle when Benjamin grabs the flag to rally the Continental troops, he is seen throwing his pistol away to his right. Then when he crosses the hill in the Battle of Cowpens, he shoots a British soldier.

Correction: If you look closely you can see a second pistol in his belt after he throws the first one away.

Corrected entry: The escaped slaves would not have been living openly on the beach and fishing. They would probably have been way off in the mountains. This is verified in the Smithsonian Article by the researcher from the Smithsonian involved in research for the film.

Correction: While it may not be factual, it is made evident at the beginning that Martin does not consider these people slaves. One tells Col. Tavington "We are freed men..." It is also fairly evident that the beach is a refuge set up by Martin's men for the people they free from captivity, which happens to be most of the "freed men" and women that previously worked at Martin's plantation (including Abigale).

Corrected entry: Benjamin and his children arrive at Charlotte's house with only the clothes on their backs (their belongings were burned with their house.) Yet, the next morning, there seem to be plenty of well-fitting clean clothes for everyone. The same is true of going to live with the slaves. They seem to be able to get more clothes there as well.

Correction: Charlotte has a plantation full of slaves and lives otherwise by herself. Martin's family seems to be her only close relatives. It would make sense that she would have clothes for the children at her house. If she didn't, she had plenty of slaves and could have easily had clothing made during the night - plantations kept plenty of material around. It is very evident in the movie that Martin has freed the slaves that were taken from his house and set them up on the beach / island. It is possible that he had the slaves make or obtain clothing for them in the case that they had to leave Charlotte's plantation.

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.

Corrected entry: In the final scene between Benjamin and Tavington, Benjamin is kneeling ready to die and Tavington is standing behind him. Many continental army soldiers and militia are running past both men, one of them should have knifed or bayoneted a standing redcoat officer from behind. An easy win, but they all just run past.

Correction: They are too worried about their own lives to care about anyone else's.

Corrected entry: When Mel Gibson confronts Tavington at the end of the film, they engage in hand to hand combat, with Tavington using a long and short sword. Mel has his "Indian" hatchet and knife. Since Mel's a killer diller at throwing that hatchet, as evidenced earlier in the film during the ambush, when on two occasions he threw it at a distance with circus star accuracy, why not just dispatch Tavington that way, too, instead of getting into a bloody fight?

Correction: Because Tavington was an expert saberman and would have most likely blocked it. Then Mel would have only had his knife against a pair of swords.

Corrected entry: After ambushing the British in order to save his son, Gabriel, Mel Gibson surveys the carnage and then as the scene ends there is a silhouette of Mel walking off and the scene of the dead men and a wagon with a dead soldier on it. As the scene fades out you can very obviously see the 'dead' soldier laying across the wagon seat, sit up - as though the director had just yelled 'Cut!'

Correction: The soldier sits up very slowly, as if surveying the damage. It is possible that the soldier is not 'dead'. Just because the man was shot, does not mean he died. Many people live through a gun shot. I assume that if the director had yelled 'Cut' all soldiers in the scene, including the one on the wagon seat, would have sat up much more quickly.

Corrected entry: In the movie, you see Gabriel (Heath Ledger) repairing a torn American flag, and when he dies, his father (Mel Gibson) finds the flag and rides out to the army with it. It's also used as a symbol during the Battle of Cowpen and motivates everyone to keep fighting and motivates Mel to not give up. It's all very touching and patriotic and all, save for the fact that the design for the American flag was not made until a good 20 to 30 years after the revolution.

Correction: This is totally untrue. from www.ushistory.org "On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress, seeking to promote national pride and unity, adopted the national flag. "Resolved: that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation."

Corrected entry: During one scene, Mel Gibson's soldiers ambush a British column in steady rain. In reality, the black powder used in the muskets of the day would not ignite if wet. Whole battles in the war were called off because of rain.

Correction: It is possible (though very difficult) to keep your powder dry in the rain. Several times during the revolutionary war Americans ambushed the British because the British thought they couldn't be ambushed in the rain. However sometimes it did backfire as the Americans didn't keep their powder dry enough and the British counterattacked with bayonets.

Grumpy Scot

Corrected entry: The Great Dane dogs were a present from the King of England. To this day the only country in the world that clips Danes ears to make them stand up is the USA. Great Danes from Europe would have floppy ears.

Correction: Great Danes' original purpose was to hunt wild boars in England and Germany. When they were used for this, their ears WERE cropped to keep them from being shredded by the boars' long, sharp tusks during the hunt. So the movie is correct on this one.

Corrected entry: Amusing trivia: In the scene where Martin (Mel Gibson) goes to Fort Carolina to get his men released, there is a shot of him and Tavington (Jason Isaacs) facing each other. Gibson is wearing a hat and Isaacs isn't. Not only that, the latter is standing in a trench. These two things were done to make it appear as though the actors were the same height, when in fact, Isaacs is about five inches taller than Gibson.

Correction: Actually, according to IMDb.com, the two actors are only half an inch apart in height.

Corrected entry: Mel Gibson's character marries his deceased wife's sister. This was forbidden as incestuous under English law at the time (until about 1870), I presume it was the same in the colonies.

Correction: A lot of things that were forbidden under English law were not allowed in the colonies, but that isn't to say that it didn't happen. I know that I have read several accounts of men marrying their blood sister which is even more incestuous. This was around the Revolution, stuff happens.

shortdanzr

Corrected entry: In the beginning when all the children are rushing to Gibson in the woodhouse because of the postal worker delivering the mail, one boy loses his hat (this is very obvious), and it reappears in the next shot of him running.

Correction: That is not true - it never gets back on his head, but his brother picks it up which spawns the mistake that his brother doesn't bring it in the house with him.

Corrected entry: Heath Ledger is not wearing a blue coat when he is confronted by the bad guy for having dispatches, but when they cut away to a new angle he is.

Correction: When the family is all standing on the steps, if you watch carefully, you can see the coat in Gabriel's hand (he's holding it down low so as not to be seen). You can also see him starting to swing it on just as the camera cuts back to Tavington.

Corrected entry: Tavington seems to say he is from the "Queen's army" when he is introduced to the soldier injured by "the ghost," but there was no Queen then, there was a King (George III).

Correction: Tavington says he's from the Green Dragoons, not the Queen's army.

Corrected entry: In the scene when Benjamin Martin gives the necklace to Anne, in one shot Benjamin's got it in his hands, in the next one Anne holds it in her hands.

Correction: Ann never holds the necklace. Benjamin shows it to her, but she only cups it in her hands while Ben is holding it by the string and says "it's beautiful". Immediately after, Ben puts it on her so she never has a chance to hold it by the string.

Corrected entry: Cooper's character talks about the battle of Bunker Hill. At the time it was called Breed's Hill.

Correction: Actually, there are two hill's: Bunker and Breed's, which are right next to each other. The actual battle took place on Breed's Hill, but it has always been called The Battle of Bunker Hill.

Corrected entry: When Thomas gets shot by Tavington they show the blood-mark on his back. Then they show the blood-mark on his stomach and there's no blood-mark on his back.

Correction: If you look closely, you can see that Mel grabs Thomas before you get a second look at Thomas' back. Mel's hand happens to grab Thomas at exactly the place of the blood-mark.

Corrected entry: In the scene where Mel Gibson and his son return to the town where the British had burned down the church, Mel stands at the front porch of a house. At that house there is a clear shot of a light bulb lit up on the porch by the front door.

Correction: Actually, it's the glare of the sun off of the glass surrounding the part where the candle is. You can tell that this is true because when the camera changes angle, the reflection of the sun changes.

Corrected entry: When Gabriel comes to the house with his bloody chest wound, he lays down and they rip off his shirt to reveal the wound. On the far shot there is blood surrounding it, but when they come back to the near shot, the blood is gone.

Correction: You can hear Mel with the water, it's obvious that he wiped the blood off.

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Mistakes

In the final battle scene where Benjamin is fighting Tavington one-on-one, the camera angle widens and shows the whole battle scene. In the bottom right corner, you can see another camera filming the action.

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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.

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