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Breaker Morant

Breaker Morant

5.0 8
Director: Bruce Beresford

Cast: Edward Woodward, Bryan Brown, Lewis Fitz-Gerald


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Breaker Morant is one of the most acclaimed Australian films, telling a powerful tale of wartime betrayal and injustice. Henry "Breaker" Morant (Edward Woodward) is an Englishman living in Australia at the end of the 19th century. When war breaks out in 1899 between Britain and the Boers (descendants of Dutch colonists), Morant and a number of Australians


Breaker Morant is one of the most acclaimed Australian films, telling a powerful tale of wartime betrayal and injustice. Henry "Breaker" Morant (Edward Woodward) is an Englishman living in Australia at the end of the 19th century. When war breaks out in 1899 between Britain and the Boers (descendants of Dutch colonists), Morant and a number of Australians volunteer for duty and are absorbed into the non-regular units of the British army. Acting under orders from his commanders, Morant oversees the execution of several Boer prisoners; it turns out that one of them was German, and in order to keep the peace with Germany, Britain agrees to courtmartial Morant and two other soldiers, sentencing two to death and one to life imprisonment. Based on a play by Kenneth Ross, Bruce Beresford's film is powerfully filmed and acted and has become a classic anti-war movie since its 1980 release; the script (co-written by Beresford) was nominated for an Academy Award. The final execution scene is nearly overpowering in its sense of tragedy and futility.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
The film that gave director Bruce Beresford international recognition, Breaker Morant is one of the most acclaimed films ever to come out of Australia. A blunt, unsentimental account of one of the occasions on which Britain used and abused its Australian soldiers, it brilliantly depicts the betrayal, rage, and hypocrisy that characterized both the soldiers' trial and the nature of Australian-British military relations. To that end, Breaker works as a kind of belated expose; like Gallipoli a year later, it brought decades-old wrongdoings to light for the benefit of a modern audience. Thanks to Beresford's excellent direction, however, the film avoids the trap of self-righteous moralizing that often accompanies such biased storytelling. In fact, as rooted as it is in the tradition of military drama, Breaker Morant is as much a compelling character study. What really grabs the viewer is not so much the injustice at hand -- that's a given -- as the ways it is dealt with by the men upon whom it is inflicted. As the titular Morant, Edward Woodward displays both dignity and soft-spoken rage, while Bryan Brown communicates hot-tempered defiance as Handcock and Lewis Fitz-Gerald is terrifically naive as Witten, the youngest of the three court-martialed men. Jack Thompson is also memorable as the country lawyer who defends the men. These actors' performances are what make the film so affecting, giving the story both humanity and terrible sadness. Unlike the injustice portrayed in Breaker Morant, the sympathy we feel for its victims is not a given; instead, it is earned.

Product Details

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[Wide Screen]
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Special Features

Audio commentary from 2004, featuring Beresford; New interviews with Beresford, cinematographer Donald McAlpine, and actor Bryan Brown; Interview with actor Edward Woodward from 2004; New piece about the Boer War with historian Stephen Miller; The Breaker, a 1973 documentary profiling the real Harry "Breaker" Morant, with a 2010 statement by its director, Frank Shields; Trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Edward Woodward Lt. Harry Morant
Bryan Brown Lt. Peter Hancock
Lewis Fitz-Gerald Lt. George Witton
Jack Thompson Major J.F. Thomas
John Waters Capt. Alfred Taylor
Rod Mullinar Major Charles Bolton
Charles "Bud" Tingwell Lieutenant Colonel Denny
Terence Donovan Capt. Simon Hurst
Vincent Ball Lt. Ian Hamilton
Frank Wilson Dr.Johnson
Alan Cassell Lord Kitchener
Russell Kiefel Christian Botha
Judy Dick Mrs. Shields
Ray Meagher Sgt Major Drummond
Chris Haywood Sentry
Rob Steele Captain Robertson
Wayne Bell Lieutenant Reed
Barbara West Mrs. Vanderberg
Ian Gray B/M Thomas
Dick Henderson Captain Nicholson
Alan Lovett Scots Sentry

Technical Credits
Bruce Beresford Director,Screenwriter
William M. Anderson Editor
Matt Carroll Producer
David Copping Art Director
Phil Cunneen Score Composer
Mont Fieguth Special Effects
Jonathan Hardy Screenwriter
John Hardy Screenwriter
Heath Harris Stunts
Judy Lovell Makeup
Donald M. McAlpine Cinematographer
Chris Murray Special Effects
Anna Senior Costumes/Costume Designer
Tony Smart Stunts
Greg Smith Stunts
David Stevens Screenwriter
Pamela Vanneck Production Manager
Gary Wilkins Sound/Sound Designer


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Breaker Morant 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An outstanding movie, well served by time. It tells the timeless story of soldiers carrying out the orders of their superiors, but who are then used as scapegoats when the the policies of their superiors fall from favor. The parallels to Vietnam made this film particularly poignant when it was first released.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was an excellent movie. I was shocked to hear it was popular with anti-war groups, since it is often used in the military to promote dicussions and dialouge about moral and ethical decision making for young leaders. It tells a story that few, who have not been in combat, can understand the diminishing value of human life as violence and death are seen far too often. One's morals and values are very susceptible to change when the daily situation has dramatically changed and their is no anchor to the life one led outside of the combat zone. It's a tragic story of the few being sacrificed to end an endless war. And it was based on a book written by the only one of the three not executed entitled "Scapegoats of the Empire".
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is a historical drama that epitomizes the arrogance of the British military aristocracy. Never have I seen a more splendid adaptation of ''British justice''. The Boer War is historically depicted for all to see. A fantastic effort and must see!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a movie for anyone interested in war and/or history. It is the best movie in the last thirty years.
Guest More than 1 year ago
To have seen this film is to have experienced one of the great masterpieces in film making of the last 30 years.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I couldn't agree more with what's already been said here. A great movie, great acting, great script and - what no one has yet mentioned - great cinematography. The visuals are just fabulous. One of the best war movies ever made, but not just a war movie. It transcends the genre. Everyone should see it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great movie about the British military and its policies during WWI.