In terms of the way that the movie The Patriot, starring Mel Gibson, relates history, how would you characterize the British view of the American colonists (don't assume rebels)?  

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Patriot, starring Mel Gibson, is a much acclaimed and popular movie which is set during The American Revolution. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that sets and costumes are sensitive to the time period and as accurate as possible, the content is not historically accurate, in terms of personal tragedies and loss. However, while the movie was intended to glimpse the life of an "average" American during this turbulent time, the events are over-dramatized, in an attempt to create a blockbuster. Due to the setting, many viewers who do not have sufficient historical knowledge, may be led to believe that actual events are depicted whereas the movie is fiction. The main character, played by Gibson, is based on four recognized American heroes which creates a dynamic characterization when condensed into one man's account and his own regret at his brutal past. However, horrific events - many not associated with the American Revolution- have then been referenced and included for dramatic effect and viewers are persuaded as to their potential to be real. These events suggest that the British and American perspectives and understanding of each other, at the time, were very different. In the movie, the British underestimate the Americans and their "patriotic" sense which drives free men and slaves.   

The British characters are depicted as ruthless and murderous while the Americans are peace-loving farmers and idealized slaves forced into this position and therefore deserving of victory, with no substantial reference to heinous acts of violence, committed by the so-called "rebels" who acted in the defense of their families, masters and country. The name-sake of the movie- the patriot - was motivated by his patriotism and not his need for revenge and, using the word "patriot," his characterization is set thus possibly misleading viewers lost in the romanticized interpretation. The British view (in terms of the movie) of the Americans reflects British men who are fighting their own personal vendettas, forgetful of the real purpose of their fight to protect loyalist families and relishing their superiority over these ill-equipped, troublesome rebels who outwit and overcome them.    

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