Breaker Morant (1980)
March 15, 2016 6:13 PM - Subscribe

Three Australian lieutenants are court martialed for executing prisoners as a way of deflecting attention from war crimes committed by their superior officers.

NYTimes: Most of the Australian films that have been released in America take place at the turn of the century. Breaker Morant, like many of these, accounts for this turbulent period in Australia's history by exaggerating the gentility that the characters and their countrymen have tried to adopt, in reaction to British rule. In this case, the result is a touchingly stiff-upper-lip approach to the events that occur in the courtroom. The events are so unfortunate and unjust that the film's air of restraint gives it a genuinely tragic dimension.

The Guardian: The rousing finale to Breaker Morant is a great case study in why storytelling liberties are often placed ahead of fidelity to fact: if Beresford had remained true to the real story, we would never have experienced one of the greatest scenes in Australian cinema. And, arguably, we wouldn’t have experienced a finale reflective of the characters’ tumultuous emotional state.


Closing Argument

Rule 303
posted by MoonOrb (4 comments total)
"Shoot straight, ya bastards" remains a fantastic line.
posted by jjderooy at 6:50 PM on March 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

I... have never seen this film in its entirety. But my dad and siblings were obssessed with it back in the days of VHS and watched it all the time, so I'm pretty sure I can recite half of the courtroom scenes. So I'm in a weird position of feeling completely nostalgic for a film I actually know very little about! Just listening to my dad and sibs work on their deliveries of "Harry. Harbord. Morant." endlessly on a Saturday afternoon...
posted by TwoStride at 7:48 PM on March 16, 2016

Brilliant film. Right up there with Paths of Glory in the court-martial genre. And such an ending ...

"If you encounter any Boers,
You really mustn't loot 'em,
And if you hope to leave these shores,
For pity's sake don't shoot 'em."
posted by Zonker at 9:03 AM on March 17, 2016

This was the first DVD I ever owned. I still have it and watch it regularly.

"That broke the monotony, didn't it?" is one of the coolest lines ever uttered.

posted by Bee'sWing at 1:19 PM on October 17, 2016

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