American History on Film

This page features recent American films that deal with the country’s past. Some of these films give an accurate view of American history. Some of them tell how Americans would like to remember their past. New films will be added each week. All films are available in the SALC.

The Patriot (2000), starring Mel Gibson
Period of History: Revolutionary War, 1776-1783


The Patriot (2000)

The popular film The Patriot is loosely based on the exploits of several real life historical figures including a British officer, Lt. Col. Banstre Tarleton and several American patriots: the “Swamp Fox,” Francis Marion, Daniel Morgan, Elijah Clark, Thomas Sumter and Andrew Pickens.”

See the Digital History HP for more comment on the film.

According to Time Magazine, The Patriot is one of the “Top Ten Historically Misleading Films.”

African-American director Spike Lee said the film ” dodged around, skirted about or completely ignored slavery.”

Watch the trailer: