'Breaker' Morant

"Excellent"

'Breaker' Morant Review


Before there was Nicholson's "You can't handle the truth!" outburst in A Few Good Men, there was the firey Edward Woodward as an Australian soldier during the Boer War (South Africa, 1899 to 1902). Like Jack, Woodward is on trial for murder -- in this case of Boer guerillas, executed possibly under the implicit orders of the Aussie government. Now a scapeoat, Woodward's "Breaker" Morant is asked to defend his actions. His explanation -- "We caught 'em and we shot 'em under rule 303!" -- is one of cinema's most undernoticed and passionate speeches. The camera cuts away to show us exactly what rule 303 is: The caliber of the rifles used by Morant's division.

Heavy stuff, and though most of the based-on-a-play Morant plays out in holding cells and the courtroom, as a court martial determines the guilt of Morant and two of his compatriots (including Brian Brown in an early role), it's still compelling and fascinating stuff. Morant is a genuine bastard, but he's just following orders and trying to win a war. It's the same argument that we'd see in umpteen Nazi films (and understanding the intricacies of the Boer conflict is probably a fool's errand), but Woodward's Morant makes for a troubling and complex anti-hero. He's aided amicably by Jack Thompson, playing the three lieutenants' good-hearted but ultimately ineffective attorney. (Also of note, this film was director Bruce Beresford's big break. He'd come to Hollywood shortly after Morant hit.)

Morant's last words in the film will spoil the ending for those of you who haven't seen it, so feel free to stop reading and start watching if you're new to the movie. (Hey, it's 25 years old and the 100-year-old story is true, so don't blame me too harshly.) But anyway, Morant's line, "Shoot straight, you bastards -- don't make a mess of it!" stands as a second awesome soliloquy in a scene full of memorable, small moments. Check it out.



'Breaker' Morant

Facts and Figures

Run time: 107 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 3rd July 1980

Distributed by: Live Home Video

Production compaines: 7 Network, Pact Productions, The Australian Film Commission

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Fresh: 21

IMDB: 7.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Lt. Harry 'Breaker' Morant, as Major J.F. Thomas, as Captain Alfred Taylor, as Lt. Peter Handcock, as Captain Simon Hunt, as Col. Ian 'Johnny' Hamilton, as Sargeant Major Drummond, as Corporal Sharp, as Christiaan Botha, as Lt. George Ramsdale Witton, as Major Charles Bolton, Alan Cassell as Lord Horatio Kitchener, Rob Steele as Captain Robertson, as Sargeant Cameron, Bruno Knez as Reverend H.V.C. Hess, John Pfitzner as Boer Leader, as Dr. Johnson, Michael Procanin as Visser, Ray Ball as Court Reporter, Wayne Bell as Lt. Reed, Halifa Cisse as Black Guide, Norman Currer as Boer Singer, Bridget Cornish as Hunt's Sister, Judy Dick as Mrs. Shiels, Barbara West as Mrs. Vanderberg, Ria Erskine as Boer Girl, Ian Gray as B/M Thomas, Sylvia Horseman as Boer Pianist, Dick Henderson as Captain Nicholson, Alan Lovett as Scots Sentry, Trevor Mann as B/M Little, Jon Nicholls as Lt. Baxter, Peter Osborn as Minister, Ron Peterson as Feist, Don Quin as Witton's Father, Maria Reed as Boer Girl, Ron Rodger as English Orderly, Nellie Seidel as Boer Girl, Laurie Walton as Judge Advocate, Hank Bernard as Large Boer, Elspeth Radford as Handcock's Wife, Bud Tingwell as Lt. Col. Denny

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Advertisement
Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.