British Movies About The American Revolution
By Bob Small
I have been thinking about how British movies have treated The American Revolution, with July 4 approaching. Well, there are only three such movies that come to mind, and that’s partially because the Revolutionary War is barely taught in Britain.
Many British considered Britain and the colonies to be like a mother and her whining teenager, as this article makes clear.
“The Madness of King George” (1994), a joint British-American production, speaks of George III, who was the king during the war. The film takes place in 1788. “When King George III goes mad, his lieutenants try to adjust the rules to run the country without his participation.”
Note: all plot summaries are from IMDB.
To add to this, the British Prime Minister at the time was Lord Frederick North.
Briefly, there are only three British or British-American films dealing with the war. “The Devil’s Disciple” from 1959 is one of multiple versions of the George Bernard Shaw play, and it has the best cast — i.e., Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, and Lawrence Olivier.
The plot summary is ”the black sheep of a family and the local minister discover their true vocations during the Revolutionary War.”
Next, we have 1985’s “Revolution”, starring Al Pacino. This plot is “a trapper and his young son get pulled into the American Revolution early as unwilling participants and remain involved through to the end.” It’s actually a British-Norwegian production, and it was widely criticized for having been made in England. Though it tanked at the box office and critically, it’s now being re-appraised.
There’s also 1929’s early Brit talkie “The American Prisoner”, whose plot summary is “an American prisoner of war escapes and saves a squire’s daughter.” I did not find any online reviews.
Lastly, there’s a BBC TV series entitled “Rebels and Redcoats” (2003).
There are also a few more films that were made as joint US-Canadian ventures. To be continued.