This big and sometimes messy movie achieves the seemingly impossible: it demythologizes the American Revolution and lets us see it in a completely new light. Hugh Hudson (Chariots of Fire) has directed a starkly beautiful,... more » powerfully visceral portrait of war from the point of view of the little people who are swept along in its wake. Al Pacino is Tom Dobb, a poor, illiterate trapper bringing up a young son when rebellion breaks out in New York. Dobb's small boat is requisitioned for the war effort, and he and his son become reluctant conscripts. It takes six months and some truly vile treatment by the British before the conflict becomes personal for Dobb and he makes the American cause his own. The Dobb family's tale intersects that of British Sergeant Major Peasy (a formidable Donald Sutherland) and his own son. As the tide of the war turns, the enemies' fortunes are reversed. Tom's love interest, Daisy McConnahay (Nastassja Kinski), is a fiery beauty who breaks from her family of wealthy Tories (British sympathizers) to fight for freedom. Kinski is wonderful as a living Lady Liberty, and Pacino has some extraordinary moments of raw emotion as Dobb. The film's highlights include authentic, grisly re-creations of famous Revolutionary War battles, including Yorktown and Valley Forge. This movie will draw you in, gradually but inexorably, as it creates its convincing and compelling world. --Laura Mirsky« less
One of the most unjustly maligned films of all time.
firstname.lastname@example.org | Seattle, Washington | 08/10/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The makers of Revolution made a few mistakes along the way, but those have been dwelt upon at length and are sufficiently summarized in the comments of other reviewers. What this movie did right was to show a fast-paced chronology of the American Revolution through the eyes of ordinary individuals actually caught up in the torrid flow of events. As a history major, I loved the details that they where able to throw into the two hours of viewing while also establishing characters that you could actually care about. It is a dificult task to please everyone when you put forth a work of historical fiction and the fact that they were able to trace much of the war while also telling an original story that crossed through events is worth praise. Casting Pacino as a Scottish trapper may not have been the best choice, but regardless, as a Pacino fan I still feel that this is one of his most emotionally satisfying roles and I think it's a shame he was so badly lashed for venturing out into new territory as an actor. I would highly recomend this movie to any history lover or any Al Pacino fan. Once you get beyond his attempt at a Scottish accent Pacino is brilliant and gives a moving performance, including a closing speech that still gives me chills."
A better movie than most think
Adam Cole | Brisbane, Queensland Australia | 06/01/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am surprised at the bad press this incredible film received. The suggestion that "The Patriot" was a more accurate reflection of the American Revolution is laughable - talk about pure Hollywood. "Revolution" far surpasses "The Patriot" in both its beauty, realism and emotional depth. This film didn't try to romanticize the war, or make it out to be exciting and noble. The film is stark and harsh. One can't watch it without thinking about just how horrific it could have been to live in those times.
I'm also confused by the arguments about Al Pacino's character being "Scottish." I've seen this film several times and I never had the impression that he was playing anything other than an uneducated man with a poor grasp of pronunciation. I can accept that he might have been speaking with an extremely watered down Irish accent (watered down by being away from the country of origin for many years perhaps), or even a point halfway between the typical North American accent and the English-Irish accent that the former was derived from - a sort of "Proto-American" accent. But what no-one seems to have noticed is that everybody else in the film also had this accent! (Unless you count the Tories and the English). I found Al Pacino's performance highly convincing, and if anything, I think it is some of his best work.
In short, if you want to see a good film about the War of Independence - a film that doesn't try to make it into a box office exercise (e.g, "The Patriot") - I could not recommend "Revolution" highly enough."
A movie worth watching!
L Gontzes | Athens, Greece | 07/17/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Unlike The Patriot which was purely made for propaganda purposes, Revolution, follows a much more pragmatic, realistic and in effect more truthful account of events during the American War of Independence (1775-1783). The film brings to the screen two main stories, which are unfolding simultaneously: On the one hand, a father and son trying to survive the turmoil of a country at war with itself, and on the other, the War of Independence and its ripple effects on America in the background. The movie portrays superbly the hardships endured on the battlefield and the war?s effects on society; the corrupt politics, the different attitudes and mentality of New Yorkers during the War, the Loyalists and the Continentals. It provides therefore, valuable insight into a very important period of American History. Specifically: In the beginning, we get a taste (though a very light one) of what happened to those that remained loyal to their country, which after all was Britain; they got thrown into the river (the film only shows the best case scenario). When the redcoats re-capture NY, there are many flag waving Loyalists greeting the troops, not necessarily merchants or aristocrats, but ordinary citizens. When France declares war on Britain, in 1778, the Continentals cheer that "now the war will be over in two weeks." We know though that the war will not end until 1783, therefore it portrays how naive and gullible people were at the time (by the way, not much has changed). Moreover, we get to see the double-crossing merchants and politicians that supported whichever side the wind happened to be blowing in, always in search of profit. Towards the end, with the Revolution over and the victors celebrating in the streets there are already voices that can be heard calling for the expulsion of non-WASP's from America (not a surprise considering the content of the Declaration of Independence: "the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions"). Tom Dobb after the end of the war lines up to receive what he had been promised, however, he is only given 40 out 70 dollars and none of the 150 acres of land. This is exactly what happened and led briefly to civil war in Massachusetts in 1786 when another war veteran, Daniel Shays also feeling betrayed led 2,000 other war veterans against the MA government, in what will become known as "Shays' Rebellion." The irony here is that Shays and the 2,000 veterans led a revolt against the same government they themselves help set up through the American Revolution and for similar reasons: High taxation, inflation, lies and broken promises etc. Therefore, the movie successfully sheds light on aspects of American History that some would rather keep hidden under the carpet. As a result, Revolution is a daring movie, which shatters several misconceptions, deliberate and not, surrounding attitudes towards the War of Independence, and provides for historical truths, which had been suppressed for long years in the name of "patriotism". "
Very Effective and Entertaining Movie
Adam Cole | 10/31/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This movie has consistantly been trashed by numerous professional and amateur reviewers alike. Even Leonard Maltin, my personal favorite movie guy, rated it a "BOMB". I can`t understand why. Although it isn`t a perfect film endeavor, it does tell a story that`s never been told before...but obviously in a manner that many found extremely annoying at best. Aside from New York and L.A. movie houses, I don`t believe this film was released nationally at any time. Personally, I thought it was a very different type of movie, but effective and entertaining in a strange way. It gave me a feel for the time period, including an appealing atmospheric identity. Being an ex-NewYorker and exposed to the famous Revolutionary battlefields, that still exist throughout the metro area, I felt an aura of actually being present in that time period, with events occuring on both surrealistic and realistic levels. Al Pacino is a born/raised New Yorker and I believe captured the essence of his character very well. Pacino gave a solid portrayal of an 18th. century individual caught up in a violent period of American history....and lets not forget, without the hindsight of knowledge and understanding a contemporary person has of those past events and occurances. This movie has been unfairly criticized and overly maligned in my humble opinion. A unique film deserving of more praise then it has been awarded. See it for yourself."
Jonathan Sharpe | Seattle, WA USA | 02/16/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I wrote a review for this film six years ago while I was a college history student. After one more degree, and six more years of study in the history field, I still consider this film the best treatment of the American Revolution.
It might not fit everyone's tastes, the scenes are often dark and the mythical version of the American Revolution that we've grown to love is toned down a bit in favor of a more gritty potrayel. However this film somehow captures a more satisfying picture of the period than any other film I've seen.
In "Revolution," we see a fact little dwelled upon in most history books: that our war for independence was won with the blood of average and often poor American immigrants. These forgotten patriots deserve just as much credit for winning the war as the aristocratic heroes such as Thomas Jefferson (who sat out the war in Monticello). It is the average, everyday heroes who made this country what it is and I was thrilled to see "Revolution" attempt to show what it might have been like for people not named Jefferson or Franklin to have lived through such a turbulent time.
Although the storytelling is not perfect and the film does hit a few bad keys which break up the feel of the picture (such as the potrayel of the English dandies), it more than makes up for the mistakes. Pacino is wonderful. He draws us into the human drama of a father and son trying to stay afloat in a sea of chaos and breaks our hearts. By the end of the journey we are left with a stirring story of a father and his son; as well as a poignant reflection upon the American miracle."