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The American Revolution Movies & TV

John Adams (2008)

The cable network HBO has produced a vivid dramatization of life and events leading up to, during, and following the American Revolution. Based on historian David McCullough's Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Adams, the series of seven episodes is extremely valuable as a means of imagining what daily experiences were like for men, women, and children during the colonial era, and for understanding the motives of the colonists. Although Tom Paine and his invaluable contribution to independence are left out of the first two episodes on the coming of the Revolution, events surrounding John Adams and New England are brought into stark relief. You will never trivialize or underestimate the brutal mob practice of tarring and feathering again, after seeing this series. Such practices also help us to understand the perspective of conservative Americans who feared the prospect of a government by the masses, since the masses could sometimes be capricious and volatile.

Sleepy Hallow (1999)

Set in the early years of the new republic, this is the ghoulish tale of young Ichabod Crane, a man sent to investigate the decapitations of three victims in the town of Sleepy Hollow. The headless horseman responsible for the murders, Crane discovers, may be intimately connected to the recent Revolutionary War.

The Patriot (2000)

Before his belligerently drunken public displays of anti-Semitism made him a pariah, Mel Gibson starred in this Hollywood blockbuster film about a French and Indian War hero who, in hoping to avenge his son's death, joins the war for American independence.

Revolution (1985)

In an unlikely casting, actor Al Pacino (a.k.a Tony Montana, a.k.a. Scarface) plays Tom Dobb, a colonial fur trapper who joins the Continental Army in search of his son. Hugh Hudson's film is a pertinent tale of the chaos of war and the toll it can take on a family.

April Morning (1988)

What or who provided the fire that lit the fuse of revolution? Director Delbert Mann's Emmy-nominated film provides one theory for the events leading up to that "April Morning" in 1775 when the "shot heard 'round the world" was fired.

The Crossing (2000)

Actor Jeff Daniels stars as General George Washington in this made-for-TV dramatization of the Continental Army's perilous journey across the Delaware River and its daring attack on the town of Trenton.

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