'Breaker' Morant - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

'Breaker' Morant Reviews

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September 19, 2016
Cracking anti-war movie. Gripping, compelling and uncompromising.
June 27, 2016
Saw this on 26/6/16
A true story based antiwar film that has some terrific dialogue and a good performance from actor Jack Thompson.
May 7, 2016
A bit old style but the story is harsh and well told. The englishes still comes up on top after the war so all is well for the owners of the planet! I would never call soldiers hero unless they never killed and saved some lives. When does that ever happens? Two on trials were certainly villains. War is villains against villains. Except maybe in America, where the villains were the englishes and the Iroquois.
January 11, 2016
Similar to Kubrick's Paths of Glory or Oshima's Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, Breaker Morant raises questions of acts committed during wartime and the implications of such actions as viewed from a distanced perspective.
September 19, 2015
Excellent Film... Could be Vietnam but it is Boor war
December 6, 2014
An intriguing story that has heartstrings plucked, especially at the end. The score is wonderful, the actors are devoted and motivated throughout, and the story is accurate, with director Bruce Beresford doing a great job with the film.
November 22, 2014
If a producer had received the stereotypical Hollywood pitch for "Breaker Morant," I imagine it would have gone something like this: "It takes place during a war-no, not one of the popular ones, it's the Boer War-and the protagonists are three probable war criminals, quite unrepentant... Likable? Well, one of them likes to recite his own poetry... Yes, it does have some beautiful outdoors shots, so we'll need to pay to send the whole cast and crew to South Africa, but most of the action will take place in an ugly little army prison where the characters debate the finer points of British military law and Edwardian era geopolitics."

Luckily, if any producer at the South Australian Film Corporation received such a pitch, they agreed to make the film. Patriotism may have had something to do with the decision, however it was made, because as it turns out this is a thoroughly Australian historical drama. Rather quietly, beneath the shouted legalese of a movie court martial and the coldblooded depiction of a brutal guerrilla war, "Breaker Morant" is about three men from different strata of turn-of-the-century Australian society, and how their loyal service to the British crown in time of war lands them in deadly peril when the crown decides that they are more useful as scapegoats than as soldiers or subjects. In the most moving, character-driven scenes, each man remembers and longs for home, Australia, where they have families and where the title character once enjoyed riding and "breaking" horses. Meanwhile, the script takes numerous not-so-subtle digs at the part-German royal family and at Lord Kitchener, Britain's most famous soldier.

For a certain kind of patriotic and historically-minded Australian, this based-on-a-true story which was originally a play that premiered in Melbourne must be a rousing defense of Australian independence and Australian bravery. It's a fascinating watch even for those without a dog in that hunt, but it is also fair to ask whether the movie is too uncritical of its subjects. Are they, after all, war criminals? Or does the movie successfully make the case that the real guilt lay farther up the chain of command, and that the King's Australian soldiers were caught up in an unprecedented and complex kind of war from which nobody could come out both alive and clean? The tone at the end is harder to swallow if you haven't been persuaded of the latter interpretation. But those beautiful shots of the veldt, and the thoughtful examination of a historical moment not often brought to the big screen, make it a satisfying film regardless.
September 14, 2014
Breaker Morant was based on a two act play by Kenneth Ross that was adapted by Aussie director Bruce Berserford and became a classic of the Australian "New Wave" of cinema. The film is based on a real court martial of three Australian officers serving in a special British unit fighting the Boer guerrillas during the Boer War. When this film was made, Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War was still a very recent memory (as was the United States) but the film is still apt in the post-911 world. Harry "Breaker" Morant was a poet and the best horse breaker in Australia. An Englishman with aristocratic blood living in exile in Australia, he joined the Australian military, earned a commission, and had an exemplary military record but was put on trial for the murder of Boer prisoners and of a German missionary who may have been a German spy. Britain wants to end the war and negotiate the surrender of the remaining Boer guerillas and wants to keep Germany from entering the war on the Boer side. The successful prosecution of Morant and his fellow "rough and tumble" Australian officers is deemed a political necessity by high-ranking British officers. The question of the court martial comes down to verbal orders that were given to shoot Boer prisoners by Morant's British superiors. Edward Woodward, Bryan Brown, and Jack Thompson are standouts in a superb cast. Like Gallipoli, this film is very bitter about Australia's participation in British-led military adventures.
½ July 29, 2014
A very well told but fairly standard tale of how everyone is complicit, and luck and politics decides who takes a fall.
½ May 10, 2014
Another interesting film presented as a spotlight on Australian Film on TCM. A modern Anti-War film that really deals with the Morality.
May 2, 2014
A cautionary tale of military injustice in the British Empire. Great cast!
February 27, 2014
Set during the Boer war, three lieutenants are given a court martial as scapegoats for their superiors orders. It kind of plays out like an Australian version of Paths Of Glory. Good performances by Edward Woodward & Bryan Brown, but it simply does not compare to Stanley Kubrick's war masterpiece
November 16, 2013
I Breaker Morant - Wow. Really great movie. I highly recommend it.

It's a true story about three Australian soldiers who fight for the English in South Africa during the Boer War. The quick summary is that they kill some Boer prisoners of war and a German missionary, are arrested for not following orders, and brought to military trial. The entire film is the court-martial, and of course, the finale is the verdict and sentencing. It's got it all - outstanding acting, cinematography, costumes, and script. The suspense is very engaging and the climax is truly thought-provoking.
August 2, 2013
this was definitely not a film i was naturally inclined to see. and it was very difficult wrapping my mind around it when it started. but boy am i glad i stuck with it, because it turned out to be absolutely touching and beautiful in every way. from the breathtaking cinematography, to the wonderfully nuanced performances, to the brilliantly poetic writing to the heart-wrenching and timeless moral dilemma at its core, this film was a seamless, moving experience.
July 20, 2013
Breaker Morant, considered to be one of the finest Australian films of all time, is quite clearly a film deserving of its acclaim.

Like Gallipoli, it conveys the side to which Australia suffered in War being used as scapegoats. Although the context is significantly different, much of the meaning is still the same.
The medium used is courtroom drama, and in the simple small setting of a basic courtroom, Breaker Morant tells a complicated story with words instead of bullets.
Breaker Morant exposes the dramatic underside of the war that comes into court, and uses hypocritical scapegoating from the higher power as a front to tell an alternate version of a story chronicling loss of innocence at the hands of authoritarian control. And it's mostly a technical success due to fine cinemtography, good music and proper editing.
It's Bruce Beresford's fine direction and script handling which ensures that Breaker Morant is a story worth telling and is told as best as possible.
Edward Woodward was great in the title role as he was brisk and confident, and Bryan Brown and Ray Meagher supplied sufficient supporting roles. Plus, Lewis Fitz-Gerald did an excellent job portraying a character with such innocence which gets taken away from him, and so his performance reaches the high expectations of a character of his calibre from such a complex story, and he proves terrific.

It's minor errors are that the story isn't told perfectly at the start since it took me a while to comprehend what the story was trying to tell, as well as some poor lighting which made rendering the visual quality a struggle at moments.
But essentially, Breaker Morant is a classic Australian film which tells its complex war drama in a courtroom medium, and the fact that its a true story just makes it all the more brutal.
January 31, 2013
The Australian Paths of Glory.
Super Reviewer
½ December 26, 2012
Riveting, and strong as a thunder. Authoritarian figures and the misuse of power will always be problems to deal with as long as more resources are given to the wrong political candidates. The big picture is how many lives have to be sacrificed in order to maintain dignity and honor.... errr, peace. However, that's just the background. The real issue is whether this unjust decisions and stupid "holes" in the law will carry on with even more serious social and political issues in the future. God, how stupid can man be sometimes.

November 11, 2012
Lt. Harry Morant (Edward Woodward) "This is what comes of empire building."
Super Reviewer
October 19, 2012
Zulu. The Man Who Would Be King. Breaker Morant. I just love jingoism!
½ July 10, 2012
Might not have been in the right mood for this movie at the time.
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