Breaker Morant (1980)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBBB

Australia, 1980.  The South Australian Film Corporation, The Australian Film Commission, 7 Network, Pact Productions.  Screenplay by , , Bruce Beresford, based on the play by , additional material from The Breaker by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Riveting drama based on the play by Kenneth Ross, about three Australian soldiers on trial in a military court for the execution of Boer prisoners. The dead men had been captured in a raid that was committed as revenge for the murder of a superior officer, but now the Australian army wants to end the war and uses the accused as scapegoats to avoid the revelation of more important war crimes further up the food chain.

Although the soldiers’ lawyer (a wonderfully energetic ) puts on a terrific case, the outcome of what is basically a show trial is so obviously decided before it has even begun that one wonders why they bother with the formality of it all:  the formality, as it turns out, is the basis of everything.

You’ll be at the edge of your seat thanks to all the terrific performances, the screenplay executed perfectly and the outcome appropriately heartstopping. Definitely up there among the best courtroom dramas ever filmed.

The Criterion Collection:  #773

Academy Award Nomination:  Best Adapted Screenplay

Cannes Film Festival Award:  Best Supporting Actor (Jack Thompson)

Golden Globe Award Nomination:  Best Foreign Film


One thought on “Breaker Morant (1980)

  1. Based on a true story. Because of what happened it was a condition of entry into WW1 that Australian troops could NOT be tried or executed for cowardice by British tribunals. No Australian soldier was shot as a punishment as a result.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s