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Breaker Morant (1980)

Edward Woodward , Jack Thompson , Bruce Beresford  |  PG |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (144 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Edward Woodward, Jack Thompson, Bryan Brown, Terence Donovan, Lewis Fitz-Gerald
  • Directors: Bruce Beresford
  • Format: Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: January 15, 2008
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (144 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000X73NCM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #107,656 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Personal revenge or act of war? Crazed soldiers or political scapegoats? Winner of 10 Australian Academy Awards, this powerful film directed by the Oscar®-nominated Bruce Beresford (Tender Mercies, Driving Miss Daisy) continues to stir audiences with its timeless themes of wartime morality and military hypocrisy. Based on a true story, Edward Woodward (TV's The Equalizer) unforgettably stars as the controversial folk hero and Renaissance man Lt. Harry "Breaker" Morant. As South Africa's Boer War draws to a close, Morant and two fellow Australian soldiers are court-martialed for murder. Their only hope lies in a small-town lawyer who fights passionately for their lives.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
99 of 101 people found the following review helpful
Skillful director Brian Beresford, a brilliant ensemble of Australian actors, and the very talented English actor, Edward Woodward, came together in South Australia in 1979 to shoot one of Australia's finest films...a war time courtroom drama that excels in acting, narrative, script and cinematography.
Released at a time when the Australian film industry was on the verge of a world wide surge of interest with many other fine films (Mad Max 1979, Gallipoli 1981 etc.)...."Breaker Morant" set a benchmark for quality drama.
In the midst of the Boer War, three members of the Bushveldt Carboniers...Harry Morant, Peter Handcock & George Witton stand accused of the murder of Boer prisoners and a German missionary.
The men become the subject of a British court martial and it soon becomes clearly evident that they are mere pawns in a far greater diplomatic agenda between warring nations. The film closely tackles the issues of trialling soldiers for murder in times of war...and the differing interpretations of the orders recieved from senior officers.
Jack Thompson is outstanding as defence attorney, Major J.F. Thomas, attempting to save the lives of the trio. A youthful Bryan Brown is very memorable as the wild, simple larrikan, Peter Handcock...and Edward Woodward, in a moving and remarkable performance plays the role of the horse breaker-cum-soldier, Harry Hardboard Morant. Add a wonderful support cast including noted Australian actors Charles 'Bud' Tingwell, Alan Cassell, John Waters and Chris Haywood...and it's easy to see why this film garnished several key AFI awards upon it's release, and remains so highly regarded amongst critics and fans alike.
An intelligent, moving and thought provoking film "Breaker Morant" will be savoured by those who enjoy intense, challenging historical drama's. Highly Recommended !!
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60 of 62 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
"Breaker Morant" is best military courtroom drama available on videotape and not just because it is based on a true story. Unlike "The Caine Mutiny" or "A Few Good Men," the trial takes up most of the film, with events depicted in flashbacks. Also, the defendants are innocent of (most of) the charges against them. Harry "Breaker" Morant (played by a still unknown Edward Woodward years before "The Equalizer") led a group of Australian horse soldiers who had to deal with guerillas during the Boer War. Because the British government wishes to negotiate a peace, Morant and two of his officers are charged with various violations of military law the most important being the execution of Boer prisoners. Leaving nothing to chance, the British command gives the defendants an Australian lawyer to defend them who has never been in a courtroom; however, the man is inexperienced, he is not stupid. It is clear to everyone that the trial is a sham. This is why "Breaker Morant" has more in common with "Gallipoli," another Australian film about British disdain for their subjects from that colony continent.
"Breaker Morant" was directed by Bruce Beresford, who along with Jonathan Hardy and David Stevens was nominated for an Oscar for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium for adapting Kenneth G. Ross' stage play. This movie also had one of the best trailers I have ever seen and it is impossible to forget Woodward's voice declaring, "We were out on the veldt fighting the Boer the way the Boer fought us.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding production, albeit inaccurate in places. January 22, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
I am a retired army officer, with 40 years service in southern African forces. I have also made an in-depth study of the events that led up to the court martial which sentenced Lts Harry Morant and Peter Handcock to death. As such I was very critical in my viewing of Breaker Morant. Given that the film was largely based on Kit Denton's book "The Breaker", there are several inaccuracies of fact in the film, eg. the execution never took place at Pietersburg - it was in Pretoria. Also, five officers were court-martialled, not only three as shown in the film. I understand that the film was made on location in South Australia, which explains why the terrain was unlike that in which the Bushveld Carbineers operated. Finally, I am now a registered tourist guide and have designed a tour which covers the same ground as the Bushveld Carbineers, visiting the places where Breaker Morant operated and carried out the tasks that led to his execution. The 7-day tour ends at his graveside in the Church Street cemetery in Pretoria. If anyone wants to know the real facts, using this excellent film as background, I'd be happy to hear from them. In conclusion, I rate the film as the best I've seen concerning the Anglo-Boer War. It highlights the strong emotional reactions that the war had on the lives of those who took part in it (including my Australian grandfather, who settled in South Africa after the war).
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Countroom drama based on true event. Magnificent! September 2, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
This 1979 Australian film is based on a true story which took place during the Boer War in South Africa from 1899 to 1902. The British fought to keep their colonial empire going; the South African settlers who were mostly of German or Dutch origin fought for their independence. It was a guerilla war with atrocities on both sides. The British brought in Australians to do the actual fighting, and, when a German clergyman who was a Boer spy was killed, the Brits wanted to assuage the Germans. And so they put three Australian lieutenants on trial for shooting Boer prisoners, an act that had been accepted by them all along. These three men were scapegoats. This is their story.
Most of the film takes place in the courtroom, which is supposed to be a place of justice. Instead, it become clear that the three Australians, played by Edward Woodward, Byran Brown and Lewis Fitz-Gerald are being used as pawns for British politics. Their attorney, played by Jack Thompson, has only been given one day to prepare his case. And yet he presents some masterful legal arguments as he cross-examines the witnesses and puts the three accused men on the stand. There is much tension, a lot of surprises and constantly fascinating.
There was also excellent character development as little by little the audience discovers who these men are and the untenable situation in which they were thrust. The name "Breaker Morant" is the name of one of the accused. His nickname is "Breaker" because he was a horse breaker before he was in the military. It's a good title for the film, and made me think about all the "breaking" that goes on in the military.
The morality of following orders gets explored in all its various forms, and the fact that is a true story made it even more interesting.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappoined
This DVD will not play on our equipment ...We dont't know what it is meant for....
Region 2 ?????
So much for that

Disappointed in San Ant
Published 1 month ago by rudy
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Dialogue is accurate when compared with the court transcripts. Some liberties taken with the actual events, but not substantially. An excellent study for military law.
Published 2 months ago by P. Forsberg
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best courtroom dramas of all time
Why was a paper-shuffler lawyer assigned to defend three scapegoated men? Precisely because it was supposed to be a sham trial like a Stalinist show trial. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ralph Cinque
4.0 out of 5 stars Justice does not prevail
A clear-eyed view of the futility of right in the face of overwhelming might. The British Empire rolls over Australian notions of morality.
Published 2 months ago by Michael J Briggs
1.0 out of 5 stars WHAT's LEFT TO CHEW?
AN EXTREMELY DATED MOVIE - granted the subject matter is blistering and wry, but the performances are hard subtle - granted that's a fine line since we're dealing with the... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Minnie and Henery Krumb
5.0 out of 5 stars Breaker Morant
Great film. It's a must see if you like military law or politics as it affects trials.
Well done and inspiring acting by all the cast.
Published 2 months ago by mike6
4.0 out of 5 stars An often overlooked classic
Breaker Morant is one of those films that is often overshadowed by other films that feature better known actors. That's a shame because it is actually a very good movie. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jackbooted thug
1.0 out of 5 stars Blurry, No color
When we finally watched the video, it wasn't in color. Tried on 2 different DVD players, same result - no color.
The picture was fuzzy, blurry gray. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Faith Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars Who should be held accountable.
Breaker Morant is an outstanding movie dealing with a very obscure war and the moral and political fallout from using guerrilla tactics to combat an unconventional enemy. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Robert J.Butterfield
4.0 out of 5 stars Blu-ray review, list of special features included...prices are...
Full disclosure: I did not purchase this through Amazon. "The gentleman's war is over." That phrase, spoken by Captain Hunt in the film, sums up the entire Boer War. Read more
Published 8 months ago by John Smith
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Topic From this Discussion
is the blu-ray re-cut, too?
Every Region 1 edition I've seen (including the Blu-ray) begins with Morant's introduction; the execution occurs at the end. Whether this was changed for other markets, I don't know.
Nov 7, 2013 by John Smith |  See all 3 posts
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