Lessons from Hollywood's American Revolution

Trevor B. McCrisken and Andrew Pepper

in American History and Contemporary Hollywood Film

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print February 2005 | ISBN: 9780748614899
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748670666 | DOI:
Lessons from Hollywood's American Revolution

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This chapter examines the vexed question of historical accuracy and the now familiar complaint that Hollywood films deliberately falsify the historical record, as though that record itself is somehow inviolate and unchanging. It explores the ways in which filmmakers have used, and are using, American history as a way of engaging with the question of what ‘America’ stands for, culturally and politically, in the post-Cold War world. It focuses on how an event as sanctified as the American Revolution is used and transformed by filmmakers both to reveal something about the event itself and to shed some light on our own cultural and political moment. This chapter discusses two films: Hugh Hudson's Revolution (1985) and Roland Emmerich's The Patriot (2000). It analyses how Revolution tackles history, myth and subversion and how The Patriot is linked to history and the politics of authenticity.

Keywords: Hollywood films; historical accuracy; history; American Revolution; America; Revolution; The Patriot; myth; politics; subversion

Chapter.  10039 words. 

Subjects: Media Studies

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