The British Empire and characters in "Gandhi" and "The Patriot".

Essay by HenningCollege, UndergraduateA+, May 2003

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Humanities 105

Compared Films: "Gandhi" & "The Patriot"

"Non-violence is the greatest force of mankind; it is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of men." - Mahatma Gandhi.

"This war will be fought, not on the frontier or on some distant battlefield, but amongst us, among our homes. Our children will learn of it with their own eyes. And the innocent will die with the rest of us." - Benjamin Martin.

The British are coming ! To a theatre near you...

An Essay By Henning Thiel

The British have often been depicted as oppressors in feature films. In 1980 Richard Attenborough filmed "Gandhi" and more recently, in 2000, Roland Emmerich filmed "The Patriot". Both movies can be analyzed in regards to the oppressors, the oppressed and the tactics of resolving the conflicts. While "Gandhi" tries to stay true to historical events, "The Patriot" uses history as a back-story to a fictional Hollywood tale of revenge.

Because of this difference, the individual characters and the British Empire are portrayed differently, though there are similarities as well.

The films neither glorify nor demonize the British Forces as a whole, however both movies have a specific British character that stands out. In "Gandhi" the antagonist is the entire British force, however they use General Dyer as an extremist, when he shoots 1516 Indians with 1650 bullets at the Amritsar massacre. General Dyer is shown remorseful in the following court martial scene, while Colonel Tavington from "The Patriot" is demonized beyond redemption when he kills Benjamin Martins son Thomas. Both films redeem some British characters by having them sympathize with the oppressed. In "Gandhi", a judge clearly doesn't agree with a sentence he has to put upon Mahatma and in "The Patriot" there...