The Patriot (2000 film)

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The Patriot is a 2000 British film starring Mel Gibson, depicting an American who enters the American Revolutionary War when his sons are threatened. Directed by Roland Emmerich and written by Robert Rodat.

I've just read into the mind of a genius. Cornwallis knows more about war than any of us could ever hope to learn in a dozen lifetimes. His victories at Camden and Charleston were perfect, perfect. The thing is, he knows that... and perhaps that's his weakness. ~ Benjamin Martin
You know, it's an ugly business, doing one's duty. But just occasionally, it's a real pleasure. ~ William Tavington
How could it come to this? A bunch of rabble... peasants. Everything will change...Everything has changed. ~ Charles Cornwallis

Gabriel Martin

  • But I considerate myself fortunate to be serving the cause of Liberty. And though I fear death, each day in prayer I reaffirm my willingness, if necessary, to give my life in its service. Pray for me, but above all, pray for the cause. (from a letter written to his brother Thomas)

Benjamin Martin

  • Would you tell me please, Mr. Howard, why should I trade one tyrant 3000 miles away, for 3000 tyrants one mile away? An elected legislature can trample a man's rights as easily as a king can.

Anne Howard

  • Half the men in this church, including you, father... and you reverend, are as ardent patriots as I. Will you now, when you are needed most, stop at only words?. Is that the sort of men you are?. I ask only that you act upon the beliefs of which you have so strongly spoken, and in which you so strongly believe. [after men were asked to join the militia, but no one initially seemed to be interested]
  • [Watching the Continental Army routed at Camden] These rustics are so inept. Nearly takes the honor out of victory... nearly.
  • [At Cowpens, sees Tavington's dragoons charge without Cornwallis' orders] Tavington. Damn him, DAMN THAT MAN!
  • [Forced to surrender at Yorktown] How could it come to this? A bunch of rabble... peasants. Everything will change...Everything has changed.

Reverend Oliver

  • [Joining the militia, to the surprise of his congregation] A shepherd must tend his flock. And at times... fight off the wolves.


Benjamin Martin: In the future, full quarter will be given to British wounded and any who surrender.
Major Jean Villeneuve: The British men of war gave no such quarter when they fired on a ship carrying my wife and daughters. I watched from 200 yards off as they were burned alive.
Benjamin Martin: You have my sympathy, but my order stands.
Major Jean Villeneuve: Damn your sympathy! Who are you to give such an order? I know what you and your men did to my countrymen at Fort Wilderness.
Benjamin Martin: We are militia. This is not regular army. Every man here is free to come and go as he pleases, but while you are here, you will obey my command or I will have you shot.

Benjamin Martin: I've just read into the mind of a genius. Cornwallis knows more about war then any of us could ever hope to learn in a dozen lifetimes. His victories at Camden and Charleston were perfect, perfect. The thing is, he knows that... and perhaps that's his weakness.
Gabriel Martin: Sir?
Benjamin Martin: Pride. Pride's a weakness.
Major Jean Villeneuve: Personally, I would prefer stupidity.
Benjamin Martin: Pride will do.

Gabriel Martin: If we win this war, a lot of things will change.
Soldier Occam: What will change?
Gabriel Martin: They call this the New World. It's not. It's the same as the old. But we have the chance to build a new world. A world where all men are created equal under God.
Soldier Occam: Equal... sounds good.

Lieutenant General Cornwallis: Colonel Tavington, why, after six weeks, am I still here in Middleton Place, attending a ball in South Carolina, when I should be attending balls in North Carolina? First, the theft of my personal baggage, including my memoirs, on which I've spent countless hours; then half the bridges and ferries between here and Charles Town burned. Colonel, if you can't protect our supply lines against militia, how do you intend doing so against the colonial regulars, or the French when they arrive?
Colonel William Tavington: My lord, they won't fight like regulars. We can't find them.
Lieutenant General Cornwallis: Colonel, they're militia! They're farmers with pitchforks!
Colonel William Tavington: They're rather more than that, I'm afraid, my lord. Made so by their commander, this "Ghost".
Lieutenant General Cornwallis: Ghost, ghost, ghost... you created this "Ghost", Colonel.
Colonel William Tavington: My lord?
Lieutenant General Cornwallis: Your brutality has swelled his ranks, without which this "Ghost" would have disappeared, and I would be in North Carolina or Virginia by now!
Colonel William Tavington: In my defense, my lord...
Lieutenant General Cornwallis: Oh, enough, enough! [contemptuously] Fine soldier you are, bested by a bedtime story.

Lieutenant General Cornwallis: Now we come to the matter of specific targeting of officers during engagements. You must know that in civilized warfare, officers in the field must not be accorded inappropriate levels of hostile attention.
Benjamin Martin: To your opinion, what are appropriate levels of hostile attention?
Lieutenant General Cornwallis: Colonel, imagine the utter chaos that would follow from leaderless armies having at each other. There must be gentlemen to command, lead, and- and, where necessary, restrain their men.
Benjamin Martin: Restrain them from, say, targeting civilians. Women, children and such.
Lieutenant General Cornwallis: That's a separate issue.
Benjamin Martin: No, no. I consider them linked. And as long as your soldiers attack civilians, I will order the shooting of officers at the outset of every engagement. And my men are excellent marksmen.
Lieutenant General Cornwallis: Very well. Now, let us move on to...
Benjamin Martin: Prisoner exchange.
Lieutenant General Cornwallis: Sir?
Benjamin Martin: You have eighteen of my men. I want them back.
[Visibly confused, General Cornwallis turns to General O'Hara, who whispers to him.]
Lieutenant General Cornwallis: I-I hold eighteen criminals under sentence of death, but I hold no prisoners of war.
Benjamin Martin: If that's your position, eighteen of your officers will have to die. Nineteen, if you hang me with my men.
Lieutenant General Cornwallis: My officers?
[Martin gets up, taking a field telescope off the General's desk. He looks out the window behind him, and hands the device to Cornwallis.]
Benjamin Martin: Top of the ridge, to your left. Just below the tree line.
[General Cornwallis looks, and locates what appears to be a group of British officers held at gunpoint by Colonial militia.]
Lieutenant General Cornwallis: Their names and ranks?
Benjamin Martin: They refused to give me their names, but the ranks are nine lieutenants, five captains, three majors, and one very fat colonel who called me a... "cheeky fellow."
Lieutenant General Cornwallis: You know, this is not the conduct of a gentleman.
Benjamin Martin: If the conduct of your officers is the measure of a gentleman, I'll take that as a compliment. [Pauses] Get my men.
Lieutenant General Cornwallis: [To O'Hara] Arrange the exchange.
Brigadier General O'Hara: My lord.

Colonel William Tavington: General, what is this?
Brigadier General O'Hara: Prisoner exchange. He has eighteen of our officers.
Colonel William Tavington: Who is he? I recognize him.
Brigadier General O'Hara: He is the commander of the militia. Your "Ghost". [Tavington draws his sword and advances on Martin.] Stay that sword, Colonel! He rode in under a white flag for formal parley.
Colonel William Tavington: This is madness.
Brigadier General O'Hara: If you harm him, you condemn our officers.
Colonel William Tavington: General, with respect, sir, he's killed as many officers in the last two months.
Brigadier General O'Hara: He has shown no aggression here. Hence he cannot be touched.
Colonel William Tavington: Has he not? [to Martin] You! So you're the Ghost, are you? I remember you! On that farm, and that stupid little boy! [Martin turns around] Did he die? Hm? [Martin walks up to him] You know, it's an ugly business, doing one's duty. But just occasionally... it's a real pleasure.
Benjamin Martin: ...Before this war is over, I'm going to kill you.
Colonel William Tavington: Why wait?
Benjamin Martin: Soon.

[Martin has deceived Cornwallis into a false prisoner exchange]
Lieutenant General Cornwallis: My reputation suffers because of your incomptence! That man insults me!
Colonel William Tavington: Quite impressive for a farmer with a pitchfork, wouldn't you say?
Lieutenant General Cornwallis: [beckons Tavington closer] I want you to find that man. I want you to capture him.
Colonel William Tavington: The man has the loyalty of the people. They protect him. They protect his family. They protect the families of his men. I can capture him for you. But to do so requires the use of tactics that are somewhat... what was the word your lordship used? "Brutal", I think?
[Cornwallis glances aside, dismissing his staff]
Lieutenant General Cornwallis: Go on.
Colonel William Tavington: [pours himself a glass of wine] I am prepared to do what is necessary. I alone will assume the full mantle of responsibility for my actions, free of the chain of command, rendering you blameless. However, if I do this, you and I both know that I can never return to England with honor. What, I wonder, is to become of me?
Lieutenant General Cornwallis: When this war is over here in the colonies, the new aristocracy... [unrolls a map of North America] will be landowners. [Tavington glances at the map]
Colonel William Tavington: Tell me about Ohio.

Gabriel Martin: I've come to call on Anne.
[Anne's father puts an ear piece in his ear to hear. Gabriel leans in and tries again louder]
Gabriel Martin: I've come to call on Anne.
Peter Howard: Well, of course you call yourself a man!
Anne Howard Martin: Father, stop it! You heard him!
Peter Howard: Well, call on her!

Colonel William Tavington: This town has given aid to Benjamin Martin and his rebels. I wish to know his whereabouts. So, anyone who comes forward may be forgiven their treason. [silence] Very well, you had your chance.
Hardwick: Wait! This man gives Martin and his men supplies!
Peter Howard: Quiet!
Hardwick: He brings them to Black Swamp!
Anne Howard Martin: He's a liar!
Peter Howard: You damn fool!
Hardwick: In the marsh, by the old Spanish mission!
Colonel William Tavington: This man here?
Hardwick: Yes.
Colonel William Tavington: The Black Swamp, you say? By the old Spanish mission. Thank you very much. Shut the doors!
Hardwick: But you said…we'd be forgiven!
Colonel William Tavington: And indeed you may! But that's between you and God.
[British soldiers shut and seal the church doors. Captain Wilkins approaches Tavington.]
Captain Wilkins: Ready to fire the town on your orders, sir.
Colonel William Tavington: The town? Burn the church.
Captain Wilkins: [Realizing] There's no honour in this.
Colonel William Tavington: Didn't you say that all who stand against England deserve to die a traitor's death? Burn the church, Captain.

Col. Harry Burwell: [referring to Gabriel, who was just killed by Tavington] I'll help you bury him.
Benjamin Martin: I'll bury him.
Col. Harry Burwell: My wife Alexandria is with child, my first. I fight for that child. Benjamin, nothing will replace your sons, but if you come with us you can justify their sacrifice.
Benjamin Martin: Why?… Why do men feel they can justify death? Is it arrogance or… [voice trails off] I have long feared, that my sins would return to visit me. And the cost is more than I can bear.
Col. Harry Burwell: Benjamin, we have a chance. Greene and Dan Morgan are down from Virginia. If we win this next battle, victory in the war is within our grasp.
Benjamin Martin: Go then, seek your victory. I'm a small issue to it.
Col. Harry Burwell: You're wrong, Benjamin. You matter to your men, and to others as well. Your victories and... and your losses, are shared by more than you know. Stay with us. Stay the course!
Benjamin Martin: I have run my course.

[Martin and Villeneuve march on the battlefield to the final battle]
Benjamin Martin: How old were your daughters?
Major Jean Villeneuve: Juliette was 12. And Pauline, 10. They had green eyes.
Benjamin Martin: I'm sure they were lovely.
Major Jean Villeneuve: Yes…they were.

[Tavington has Benjamin wounded and on his knees]
Colonel William Tavington: Kill me before the war is over, will you? It appears you are not the better man.
[he swings his sword, but Benjamin dodges it, grabs a rifle and impales him on its bayonet]
Benjamin Martin: You're right. [picks up a loose bayonet…] My sons were better men. […and slits Tavington's throat with it]


  • What would you do if they destroyed your home, threatened your family. Where would you draw the line?
  • Before they were soldiers, they were family. Before they were legends, they were heroes. Before there was a nation, there was a fight for freedom.
  • Some things are worth fighting for.


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