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Breaker Morant
Breaker Morant
Actors: Edward Woodward, Jack Thompson, Bryan Brown, Terence Donovan, Lewis Fitz-Gerald
Genres: Drama
PG     2008     1hr 47min

Personal revenge or act of war? Crazed soldiers or political scapegoats? Winner of 10 Australian Academy Awards, this powerful film directed by the Oscar®-nominated Bruce Beresford (Tender Mercies, Driving Miss Daisy) cont...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Edward Woodward, Jack Thompson, Bryan Brown, Terence Donovan, Lewis Fitz-Gerald
Genres: Drama
Sub-Genres: Drama
Studio: Image Entertainment
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 01/15/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/1980
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1980
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 47min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 20
MPAA Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish
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Movie Reviews

"And a man's foes shall be thay of his own household....."
P. Ferrigno | Melbourne, Victoria Australia | 11/23/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Skillful director Brian Beresford, a brilliant ensemble of Australian actors, and the very talented English actor, Edward Woodward, came together in South Australia in 1979 to shoot one of Australia's finest films...a war time courtroom drama that excels in acting, narrative, script and cinematography. Released at a time when the Australian film industry was on the verge of a world wide surge of interest with many other fine films (Mad Max 1979, Gallipoli 1981 etc.)...."Breaker Morant" set a benchmark for quality drama.In the midst of the Boer War, three members of the Bushveldt Carboniers...Harry Morant, Peter Handcock & George Witton stand accused of the murder of Boer prisoners and a German missionary.The men become the subject of a British court martial and it soon becomes clearly evident that they are mere pawns in a far greater diplomatic agenda between warring nations. The film closely tackles the issues of trialling soldiers for murder in times of war...and the differing interpretations of the orders recieved from senior officers.Jack Thompson is outstanding as defence attorney, Major J.F. Thomas, attempting to save the lives of the trio. A youthful Bryan Brown is very memorable as the wild, simple larrikan, Peter Handcock...and Edward Woodward, in a moving and remarkable performance plays the role of the horse breaker-cum-soldier, Harry Hardboard Morant. Add a wonderful support cast including noted Australian actors Charles 'Bud' Tingwell, Alan Cassell, John Waters and Chris Haywood...and it's easy to see why this film garnished several key AFI awards upon it's release, and remains so highly regarded amongst critics and fans alike.An intelligent, moving and thought provoking film "Breaker Morant" will be savoured by those who enjoy intense, challenging historical drama's. Highly Recommended !!"
A great courtroom drama about the Scapegoats of the Empire
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 02/21/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Breaker Morant" is best military courtroom drama available on videotape and not just because it is based on a true story. Unlike "The Caine Mutiny" or "A Few Good Men," the trial takes up most of the film, with events depicted in flashbacks. Also, the defendants are innocent of (most of) the charges against them. Harry "Breaker" Morant (played by a still unknown Edward Woodward years before "The Equalizer") led a group of Australian horse soldiers who had to deal with guerillas during the Boer War. Because the British government wishes to negotiate a peace, Morant and two of his officers are charged with various violations of military law the most important being the execution of Boer prisoners. Leaving nothing to chance, the British command gives the defendants an Australian lawyer to defend them who has never been in a courtroom; however, the man is inexperienced, he is not stupid. It is clear to everyone that the trial is a sham. This is why "Breaker Morant" has more in common with "Gallipoli," another Australian film about British disdain for their subjects from that colony continent. "Breaker Morant" was directed by Bruce Beresford, who along with Jonathan Hardy and David Stevens was nominated for an Oscar for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium for adapting Kenneth G. Ross' stage play. This movie also had one of the best trailers I have ever seen and it is impossible to forget Woodward's voice declaring, "We were out on the veldt fighting the Boer the way the Boer fought us." Bryan Brown plays one of the other defendants, but this is Woodward's film even when he is reduced to doing nothing more than sitting in his chair and letting the farce plays itself out to the end (Do not ask me to explain why it was Thompson and not Woodward who won the Australian Film Institute's award for Best Actor in a Drama that year). The conclusion of the film is simple yet powerful: we watch the final scene listening to the last poem written by Morant and then Woodward singing a British military song that hammers home the irony of the film."
Countroom drama based on true event. Magnificent!
Linda Linguvic | New York City | 09/02/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This 1979 Australian film is based on a true story which took place during the Boer War in South Africa from 1899 to 1902. The British fought to keep their colonial empire going; the South African settlers who were mostly of German or Dutch origin fought for their independence. It was a guerilla war with atrocities on both sides. The British brought in Australians to do the actual fighting, and, when a German clergyman who was a Boer spy was killed, the Brits wanted to assuage the Germans. And so they put three Australian lieutenants on trial for shooting Boer prisoners, an act that had been accepted by them all along. These three men were scapegoats. This is their story.Most of the film takes place in the courtroom, which is supposed to be a place of justice. Instead, it become clear that the three Australians, played by Edward Woodward, Byran Brown and Lewis Fitz-Gerald are being used as pawns for British politics. Their attorney, played by Jack Thompson, has only been given one day to prepare his case. And yet he presents some masterful legal arguments as he cross-examines the witnesses and puts the three accused men on the stand. There is much tension, a lot of surprises and constantly fascinating.There was also excellent character development as little by little the audience discovers who these men are and the untenable situation in which they were thrust. The name "Breaker Morant" is the name of one of the accused. His nickname is "Breaker" because he was a horse breaker before he was in the military. It's a good title for the film, and made me think about all the "breaking" that goes on in the military.The morality of following orders gets explored in all its various forms, and the fact that is a true story made it even more interesting. When it was over, it gave me much food for thought. And I was so intrigued that I barely noticed how good a screenplay it was and how well it was paced. For those who like courtroom dramas as well as war movies, I give it a high recommendation as a classic in its field."
An outstanding production, albeit inaccurate in places.
Linda Linguvic | 01/22/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I am a retired army officer, with 40 years service in southern African forces. I have also made an in-depth study of the events that led up to the court martial which sentenced Lts Harry Morant and Peter Handcock to death. As such I was very critical in my viewing of Breaker Morant. Given that the film was largely based on Kit Denton's book "The Breaker", there are several inaccuracies of fact in the film, eg. the execution never took place at Pietersburg - it was in Pretoria. Also, five officers were court-martialled, not only three as shown in the film. I understand that the film was made on location in South Australia, which explains why the terrain was unlike that in which the Bushveld Carbineers operated. Finally, I am now a registered tourist guide and have designed a tour which covers the same ground as the Bushveld Carbineers, visiting the places where Breaker Morant operated and carried out the tasks that led to his execution. The 7-day tour ends at his graveside in the Church Street cemetery in Pretoria. If anyone wants to know the real facts, using this excellent film as background, I'd be happy to hear from them. In conclusion, I rate the film as the best I've seen concerning the Anglo-Boer War. It highlights the strong emotional reactions that the war had on the lives of those who took part in it (including my Australian grandfather, who settled in South Africa after the war)."