The Patriot

Critics Consensus

The Patriot can be entertaining to watch, but it relies too much on formula and melodrama.



Total Count: 134


Audience Score

User Ratings: 423,009
User image

The Patriot Videos

The Patriot Photos

Movie Info

Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin, the director/producer team responsible for such sci-fi blockbusters as Independence Day, Stargate, and Godzilla, take a step back in time with this drama set during the American Revolution. Farmer Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson) was born and raised in South Carolina, and fought bravely during the French-Indian wars. But since the death of his wife, Benjamin has renounced violence and quietly tends his crops, raising his seven children alone. In 1776, over Benjamin's objections, his oldest son Gabriel (Heath Ledger) joins the fight against the British. Gabriel returns from battle seriously wounded, with Lord General Cornwallis (Tom Wilkinson) calling for his arrest. A skirmish breaks out on Benjamin's plantation, and one of his children is killed as Gabriel is captured by Col. Tavington (Jason Isaacs) and sentenced to hang. Benjamin sets aside his vow of pacifism and rescues Gabriel; with the help of his former comrade-in-arms Harry Burwell (Chris Cooper), the father and son form a regiment of Carolina patriots whose cunning and ruthlessness make them heroes among the colonists -- and wanted men by British troops. Loosely adapted from the true story of Francis Marion and filmed on location in South Carolina, The Patriot was the first feature film made with the cooperation of the Smithsonian Institute, who advised the producers on historical accuracy. Joely Richardson also stars as Charlotte, Benjamin's sister-in-law who helps him care for the children. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Watch it now


Mel Gibson
as Benjamin Martin
Heath Ledger
as Gabriel Martin
Joely Richardson
as Charlotte Selton
Jason Isaacs
as Col. William Tavington
Chris Cooper
as Col. Harry Burwell
Rene Auberjonois
as Rev. Oliver
Tcheky Karyo
as Jean Villeneuve
Tom Wilkinson
as Gen. Cornwallis
Lisa Brenner
as Anne Howard
Donal Logue
as Dan Scott
Leon Rippy
as John Billings
Adam Baldwin
as Capt. Wilkins
Joey D. Vieira
as Peter Howard
Gregory Smith
as Thomas Martin
Mika Boorem
as Margaret Martin
Trevor Morgan
as Nathan Martin
Bryan Chafin
as Samuel Martin
Logan Lerman
as William Martin
Mary Jo Deschanel
as Mrs. Howard
Jamieson Price
as Capt. Bordon
Peter Woodward
as Brig. Gen. O'Hara
Grahame Wood
as Redcoat Lieutenant
Hank Stone
as Rollins
Kirk Fox
as Skunk
Mark Twogood
as Danvers
Terry Layman
as General George Washington
Shannon Eubanks
as Mrs. Simms
Bill Roberson
as Loyalist Simms
Andy Stahl
as General Greene
Kanin J. Howell
as Postrider
Mark Jeffrey Miller
as Wounded Continental
Zach Hanner
as British Field Officer
Dara Coleman
as Redcoat Sergeant No. 2
Randell Haynes
as Patriot Middleton
John Storey
as Cowpens Militiaman
Greg Good
as Cowpens Militiaman
John F. Dzencelowcz II
as Continental Soldier
John Curran (IV)
as Redcoat Sergeant No. 1
Kyle Richard Engels
as Billings' Son
John Bennes
as Speaker
Roy McCrerey
as Redcoat
Tyler Long
as Page Boy
Gil Johnson
as Militiaman
Scott Miles
as Patriot Private
Le Roy Seabrook
as Gullah Minister
Samuel Brown Jr.
as Gullah Musician
Samuel Brown Sr.
as Gullah Musician
Lillie L. Harris
as Gullah Musician
Braima Moiwai
as Gullah Musician
Patrick Tatopoulos
as French Naval Officer
View All

News & Interviews for The Patriot

Critic Reviews for The Patriot

All Critics (134) | Top Critics (32) | Fresh (82) | Rotten (52)

Audience Reviews for The Patriot

  • Dec 22, 2015
    It's certainly watchable (if nothing else, Emmerich can stage large scale battle scenes quite well) but thematically muddled. On the one hand it's a corny action epic filled with sentimentality and anachronisms and on the other, it's a brutal revenge thriller about the personal costs of war. Rather than fully commit to either of these narratives the movie awkwardly splits the difference between the two. The only thesis embedded in the screenplay that comes out intact from this mess is that if you have principles, you'd better be ready to kill for them . . . which is troubling to say the least.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 27, 2012
    I'm ashamed to admit that I really, really like this film considering who the director is. So let me say that the film drags in lots of places. And the acting, while good, is not excellent. I encourage rental as opposed to purchase.
    Christian C Super Reviewer
  • Sep 12, 2012
    It was one of those slow days when I decided to watch Mel Gibson's The Patriot which I oddly like enough for a positive rating. While historically inaccurate and misrepresentations of events, I found it enjoyable. The Patriot is a melodrama that follows one man's revenge against a British officer and it just so happens his vengeance helps American in the American Revolution. Which I kid you not is the actual plot of this movie and drags out to a three hours movie which is too long. The movie plot is so-so, we often get characters that are important to our protagonist but are never truly develop nor worth caring about. The best way to define this movie is propaganda, I've done actual research on the actual historical figure that Gibson character is based of and he was a awful person. He repeatedly raped his slaves and killed Indians for fun, yet in the movie he's portrayed as a family man who fights for noble cause so historical accuracy is absent here. I've found a total of ten mistakes from watching the movie before the thirty minute mark, so strictly watch this as a movie and don't seriously take in anything this movie tells you. What it does do right is having Gibson in the main role. His acting is good here and actually makes this glorification of a awful man in history tolerable to watch. The rest of the cast are also good, though some characters just appear in the movie at random whenever the movie wants them too. The actors make this watchable and are the best part of the movie, to bad the script plot wasn't as good. The battle scenes are done well, though this is the American Revolution so don't expect anything worth caring from these also inaccurate battle scenes. The imagery is good, but again, it is propaganda and a glorification of a awful historical figure. The Patriot.... historically inaccurate and despite my problems with it, it was good enough to get a positive rating from me. While it's a good time waster I wouldn't recommended to anyone no matter how much free time they have, just to much glorification for anyone take in a single day.
    Caesar M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 04, 2012
    The Patriot is a magnificent and compelling Revolutionary War epic. The film follows the story of Benjamin Martin, who reluctantly joins the American Revolution in order to save his family. The cast is spectacular, and includes Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Joely Richardson, Jason Isaacs, and Tom Wilkinson. The actors all give excellent performances and have good chemistry together; which makes the story all the more dramatic and moving. Additionally, the costumes and set designs are quite elaborate and help give the film an authentic feel. And the battle sequences are breathtaking. The Patriot is a powerful and thrilling war epic that delves into the American Revolution as never before.
    Dann M Super Reviewer

The Patriot Quotes

News & Features