The Patriot is a 2000 American historical fiction war film directed by Roland Emmerich, written by Robert Rodat, and starring Mel Gibson, Chris Cooper, Heath Ledger, and Jason Isaacs. It was produced by the Mutual Film Company and Centropolis Entertainment and was distributed by Columbia Pictures. The film mainly takes place in rural York County, South Carolina, and depicts the story of an American swept into the American Revolutionary War when his family is threatened. Benjamin Martin is a composite figure the scriptwriter claims is based on four factual figures from the American Revolutionary War: Andrew Pickens, Francis Marion, Daniel Morgan and Thomas Sumter.
The film takes place during the real-life events of the Southern theater of the American Revolutionary War but attracted controversy over its fictional portrayal of historical figures and atrocities. Professor Mark Glancy, teacher of film history at Queen Mary, University of London has said: "It's horrendously inaccurate and attributes crimes committed by the Nazis in the 1940s to the British in the 1770s." In contrast, Australian film critic David Edwards asserts that "this fictional story is set around actual events, but it is not a history of what America was, or even an image of what it has become—it's a dream of what it should be....The Patriot is a grand epic full of action and emotion....But it's also surprisingly insightful in its evaluation of the American ideal—if not the reality." Critic Roger Ebert states, "None of it has much to do with the historical reality of the Revolutionary War”.
During the American Revolution in 1776, Benjamin Martin, a veteran of the French and Indian War and a widower with seven children, is called to Charleston to vote in the South Carolina General Assembly on a levy supporting the Continental Army. Fearing war against Great Britain, Benjamin abstains. Captain James Wilkins votes against and later joins the Loyalists. A supporting vote is nonetheless passed and, against his father's wishes, Benjamin's eldest son Gabriel joins the Continental Army.