Best War of Independence Film - Directed by a Brit? "Revolution" (1985)Submitted by Blue Republic on Sat, 07/05/2014 - 08:25
OK, it seems like that there are not that many high profile movies about the Revolutionary War out there. It also appears that there are quite a few out there that are not so high profile or well known, here is one guy's top ten list and "Revolution" hasn't made it - I hadn't even heard of at least half of his picks:
Please weigh in with any of your own favorites!
"Revolution" had plenty going for it in acting talent: Al Pacino, Donald Sutherland, Nastassia Kinski, writing talent: Robert Dillon (French Connection II, Ruby Cairo & much, much else), directing (worked on Midnight Express, directed Chariots of Fire, etc.) but still managed to to be a major box office and critical bomb at the time of its release. Al Pacino didn't make another mover for four years after "Revolution".
The story starts with Pacino and his son arriving in New York on his sailboat with a load
of furs they have trapped upstate. His boat is seized to transfer troops and a mob steals
his cargo - having lost pretty much everything they are left destitute and the son, without consulting his father, accepts five shillings to join the army (American side) as a drummer boy. His father tries to return the money and get him out but fails. As a last-ditch means effort to not be separated the father joins up as well and both survive the disastrous defeat at the Battle of Long Island and basically are in for the duration - seven years.
In a parallel story that eventually develops into the love interest, the Nastassia Kinski character plays the daughter of a wealthy politician/merchant who is playing and profiting from both sides of the conflict, but mainly sucking up to the British. She becomes estranged from them and actively works on the rebel side.
As historicity and such goes, the uniforms, tactics and such of the battle scenes and the costumes and general portrayal of society seem pretty authentic. Some of the depictions of British officers seem to be a bit over the top, but the director himself was a former British Army officer so he presumably had some ideas of his own on the subject. Most of the extras for the solders and battle scenes were ex-UK military - the whole thing was filmed in England.
OK, so I'm kind of a sucker for flops - but some of them stand the test of time that mega box office hits don't:
"Kingdom of Heaven" v. "300"? Orlando Bloom and Ridley Scott rock. Eva Green and
Ghassan Massoud (as Saladin)? Worth the price of admission by themselves.
"Cutthroat Island" v. "Pirates of the Caribbean" ? Geena Davis kicks Jack Sparrow's ass.
"Pluto Nash" v.... Eddie Murphy doesn't even *have* any competition on that one.
Anyhow, weigh in with your favorites, but Blue Republic gives "Revolution" several thumbs up.
FWIW - there is an original version and a later re-edited version that has a commentary by Pacino.
Film reviewer Philip French of the British Observer newspaper was more favorable than most to the original and said this about the director's cut:
"profound, poetic and original… among the great movies about the experience of individual citizens living in times of dramatic social change".
Not that *we* live in times of dramatic social change, or anything...