Like the Boer War, soldiers had no idea who was and was not the enemy and vague or politically motivated rules of engagement made fighting very difficult. All were met by a party of mounted infantry five miles outside Pietersburg on the morning of 23 October 1901 and "brought into town like criminals". Now he is trying to win the hearts and minds of the Afrikaner people and arrange a peace conference. According to the Australian historians Margaret Carnegie and Frank Shields, Morant and Handcock rejected an offer of immunity from prosecution in return for turning king's evidence. It said they were guilty. After a powerful summing up speech from Thomas, the defendants are acquitted of murdering Heese. The following day, testimony turns to the shooting of the six Boers. But what was interesting about it was that it analysed why men in this situation would behave as they had never behaved before in their lives. Henry "Breaker" Morant (Edward Woodward) is an Englishman living in Australia at the end of the 19th century.When war breaks out in 1899 between Britain and the Boers (descendants of Dutch colonists), Morant and a number of Australians volunteer for duty and are … Ruairi O’Connor to Play Buddy Holly in ‘Clear Lake’ Biopic (Exclusive), Cult Classics Like ‘Black Christmas,’ ‘Caged Heat,’ and ‘Chopping Mall’ Could Be Headed to a Theater Near You, Bryan Brown honoured with the Longford Lyell Award, Military Courtroom and Investigation films, Top 25 Legal Movies (According to the ABA), Weekend Edition: Episode dated 17 October 2020, Market Square Museum, Market Square, Burra, South Australia, Australia. Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? [19], Rotten Tomatoes gave Breaker Morant a 100% approval rating, based on 23 reviews, with an average score of 8.39/10. Movie Info In South Africa during the Second Boer War, Australian Army Lieutenants Harry "Breaker" Morant (Edward Woodward), Peter Handcock (Bryan Brown) … The tale of Harry Harbord Morant — gone down in legend as Breaker Morant — is one of the most maddening and controversial in the annals of the Frontier Partisans. There are facts intermingled with fiction. Keep track of everything you watch; tell your friends. Late into the night, Thomas pleads with Handcock to tell him the truth, calling the Heese murder "the most serious charge". Synopsis In South Africa during the Second Boer War, Australian Army Lieutenants Harry "Breaker" Morant (Edward Woodward), Peter Handcock (Bryan Brown) and George Witton (Lewis Fitz-Gerald) stand accused of the murders of six Boer prisoners and the assassination of … When asked which of the rules of engagement justifies shooting an unarmed prisoner, Morant shouts, in reference to his rifle's calibre, "Rule 303". Bolton begins by calling witnesses who describe a lack of discipline, drunkenness, widespread looting and corruption among the Carbineers at Fort Edward. Leach writes, "Several eminent South African historians, local enthusiasts and commentators share the opinion that had it not been for the murder of Heese, none of the other Bushveldt Carbineers murders would have gone to trial".[9]. Oscar-nominated director Bruce Beresford (Driving Miss Daisy, Tender Mercies) crafts a tender coming-of-age tale that introduces one of Australian literature's most beloved characters to ... See full summary ». Also we beg that all witnesses may be kept in camp at Pietersburg till the inquiry is finished. The trial does not progress as smoothly as expected by the General Staff, as the defence puts up a strong fight in the courtroom. A seething Handcock replied that anything could happen on the way there, had ridden after Heese and shot him. As the Boers do not wear uniforms, the enemy is everyone, including men, women, children, even missionaries. The best quotes from 'Breaker' Morant (1980). Afterwards, he always ordered his men to shoot them. Written by Breaker Morant is one of the most acclaimed Australian films, telling a powerful tale of wartime betrayal and injustice. [6][7] In a 1999 interview Beresford explained that Breaker Morant "never pretended for a moment" that the defendants were not guilty as charged. Morant's life, exploits, trial and execution have been examined in several books and numerous press and internet articles, but as noted above, each account varies very considerably from the others in both the facts presented and their interpretation. Breaker Morant is a devastating depiction of the atrocities of war, both during and after the fighting. [18], In the film, Hunt is inaccurately depicted as having an Australian accent. Nobody went anywhere in the world. Great movie that we saw played out in the American conflict in Afghanistan. In this case, the good men are Australian and British Army officers ordered to suppress the guerrilla tactics of Boer freedom fighters during the Second South African War. As both men are seated for their execution, Morant shouts, "Shoot straight, you bastards! A woman trying to find love. The film is notable for its exploration of the Nuremberg Defence, the politics of the death penalty and the human cost of total war. The trial does not progress as smoothly as expected by the General Staff, as the defence puts up a strong fight in the courtroom. Unmoved, the president of the court martial, Lt. Col. Denny, explains that the defendants may be tried for alleged crimes committed while serving under British command in the Bushveldt Carbineers. Other prosecution witnesses have been thrown out of the Bushveldt Carbineers by the defendants for looting, drunkenness and other offences. When Morant had confronted Heese, he had been told that the prisoners had begged Heese to pray with them and that he could not refuse. The defence counsel, Major James Francis Thomas (Jack Thompson) meets Morant, Handcock and Witton the day before he is to represent them in court. They celebrate, believing they have escaped the death penalty but Taylor takes Morant aside and tells him that he and Handcock are almost certainly going to be shot. Thomas manages to damage their credibility during cross examination. Without further ado, Denny reads the indictment. Morant's poem Butchered to Make a Dutchmen's Holiday is recited in voiceover while he and Handcock are led before a firing squad. A proud young woman in early 20th century Australia must choose between marriage and independence. So deeply do we deplore the opprobrium which must be inseparably attached to these crimes that scarcely a man once his time is up can be prevailed to re-enlist in this corps. re: Breaker Morant Posted by rebelrouser on 11/22/20 at 6:01 pm to TheFonz It was The Equalizer. One of the most acclaimed Australian movies ever made!. A Corporal Sharp testifies that, shortly before the massacre of the six Boers, Heese had passed through Fort Edward in a buggy. It's the pressures that are put to bear on people in war time... Look at all the things that happen in these countries committed by people who appear to be quite normal. When Witton asks whether Thomas knows, Morant explains that there is no reason for him to know. Another issue, which I find particularly fascinating, concerns the fairness of the hearing. Morant was arrested after returning from leave in Pretoria, where he had gone to settle the affairs of his deceased friend Captain Hunt. The court and the prosecution accept the depositions without summoning the women to give evidence. The 1983 film earned him his only Academy Award nomination for Best Director to date, even though Driving Miss Daisy (1989) which he directed, won Best Picture. Thomas explains that Hamilton's testimony is irrelevant. On arrival, the Carbineers found the farm swarming with far more armed men than expected. Breaker Morant Subtitles During the Boer War, three Australian lieutenants are on trial for shooting Boer prisoners. Henry "Breaker" Morant (Edward Woodward) is an Englishman living in Australia at the end of the 19th century. The letter, dated 4 October 1901, was written by BVC Trooper Robert Mitchell Cochrane, a former Justice of the Peace from Western Australia and signed by 15 members of the Fort Edward garrison. I get phone calls from people who say, 'I saw your movie, could you do something for us?' 9 of 9 people found this review helpful. Two Australian sprinters face the brutal realities of war when they are sent to fight in the Gallipoli campaign in Turkey during World War I. Beresford said that Breaker Morant was not that successful commercially, Critically, it was important, which is a key factor, and it has kept being shown over the years. He argues that, as his clients only followed orders, all charges must be dropped. When Bolton asks why such orders existed, Morant explains, "It was for security reasons". A prime example is Corporal Sharp, who expresses a willingness to walk across South Africa to serve in the defendants' firing squad. Equally contemptuous of the idea, Bolton privately tells Thomas that, if Kitchener testifies and denies giving the orders, the defendants' lives will be doomed. It opened and closed in America in less than a week. You must be a registered user to use the IMDb rating plugin. Australians serving in the British Army during the Second Anglo-Boer War, Morant, Handcock, and Witton stood accused of murdering captured enemy combatants and an unarmed civilian in the Northern Transvaal. After the letter Hall summoned all Fort Edward officers and non-commissioned officers to Pietersburg on 21 October 1901. While the defendants do not deny doing this, the problem is that this was common practice and those in command heartily approved--at least until word of the atrocities leaked. To the Major's visible dismay, he is told that witnesses which would help the defence have been sent to India and that the defence counsel is expected to give him no trouble. In conversation with Bolton, Lord Kitchener states that Kaiser Wilhelm II has formally protested about the murder of Heese, whom he describes as a German citizen. Full Review | Original Score: A+ Ken Hanke Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC) Concentration camps, a scorched earth policy and the like were used to subdue the Boers.In this film, three Commonwealth soldiers from Australia are up on charges for war crimes--they are charged with executing prisoners and the like. The biggest danger of a new heist lies from within the company's own ranks. On stand, Morant explains that Heese was under orders to never speak to prisoners while passing through Fort Edward and violated them. Their refusal to do so seems to have ensured that Taylor was not convicted at his trial. A DVD was released by REEL Corporation in 2001 with a running time of 104 minutes. Heese then left the Fort and was later found, shot dead, along the road. Breaker Morant is a 1980 Australian war film directed by Bruce Beresford (Double Jeopardy, Money Movers) and based on the well known play of the same name by Australian playwright Kenneth Ross. 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