'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

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

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.