The Patriot script
The Patriot (2000)
Synopsis: Mel Gibson portrays Benjamin Martin, an unassuming man who is forced to join the American Revolution when the British threaten to take his farm away from him. Together with his patriotic son, Gabriel, the pair faces the vicious Redcoats with a heroism that reflects the stubborn pride of a young country's most dedicated supporters.

FADE IN:

CREDITS OVER:

EXT. SOUTH CAROLINA COUNTRYSIDE - DAY

Woodlands. Beautiful. Untamed. Soaring old-growth elms

arch over riverside maples along the shores of the gently

curving, deep-water Santee River.

SUPERIMPOSITION:

SOUTH CAROLINA:

April, 1776

Upstream, the swamps. Beautiful. Hundreds of BIRDS SING.

Shafts of sunlight pierce the canopy, cutting through the

hanging moss and kudzu, falling onto soft, swaying ferns

covering the high ground.

The water is clear, with fields of floating lily pads,

each with a stark white flower rising from it.

SUPERIMPOSITION:

THE FOLLOWING IS BASED ON A

TRUE STORY:

EXT. POND BLUFF - DAY

A farm built between the banks of the river and the deep

green of the swamps. Good, fertile land, hacked out of

the wilderness.

The perfectly tended fields are ripe with barley, hops,

alfalfa and tobacco. Two sturdy brothers, NATHAN, 13 and

SAMUEL, 12, work one of the fields, rhythmically swinging

scythes through the barley.

The house, built of native brick, is well-constructed and

well-maintained. There's a barn, a workshop and a forge.

It is a home of substance rather than wealth. On the

front porch, MARGARET, 11, pumps a butter churn while her

brother, WILLIAM, 6, watches.

GABRIEL, 18, strong and handsome, walks out of the woods

with a musket in his hand and a dozen game-birds over his

shoulder. At his side walks THOMAS, 14, also carrying a

musket.

INT. WORKSHOP - DAY

A perfect colonial workshop, fastidiously arranged with

every conceivable tool of the period. A foot-powered

lathe. A drop-forge. A lifting saw. Racks of tools,

planes, hammers, augers, drills, blocks, all hanging in

their places. All very well-worn.

FRANCIS MARION methodically works his lathe, turning a

piece of hardwood, shaving off tiny curls of wood with a

razor-sharp chisel. He's in his late-forties, strong and

weathered. His hands, though big and callused, handle the

chisel with a surgeon's precision. Self-educated and

self-sufficient, he has built himself, as he built his

farm, brick by brick, from the coarse clay of the earth.

A finely-made rocking chair, missing only the dowel on

which Marion is working, sits on the work table. The

chair is a work of art, thin and light, a spider-web of

perfectly turned wood, no nails, no glue.

Sitting on the woodpile, SUSAN, 4, a silent, stone-face

wisp of a child, watches her father.

Marion takes the piece of wood out of the lathe, carefully

fits it into the chair, inserts a peg and taps it into

place. Then he steps back and appraises his handiwork.

He picks up the chair and hooks the top rail to a scale,

countering with a three-pound weight. The chair floats.

Marion blows softly on the weight which sinks. Susan

nods, so far, so good. Marion puts the chair on the floor

and walks slowly around it, checking every angle.

Then, the acid test. He takes a deep breath and lowers

himself onto the seat, gingerly adding an ounce at a time.

Not a creak. He smiles and sits back with a sigh.

CRACK! THE CHAIR SPLINTERS under Marion's weight, DUMPING

HIM on his ass on a pile of broken wood.

MARION:

Damnation!

He picks up some of the wood, about to fling it across the

room but stops as Susan shoots him a disapproving look.

He calms himself.

MARION:

Sorry.

Susan gets down from the woodpile and puts the remains of

the chair in the fireplace. As she climbs back up to her

perch, Marion steps over to his wood rack, extracts a

fresh dowel, fits it into the lathe and starts all over

again.

END CREDITS.

EXT. WORKSHOP - DUSK

Marion leaves the workshop with Susan at his side. Nathan

and Samuel walk past, exhausted from their day in the

field.

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Robert Rodat

Robert Rodat (born Keene, New Hampshire, 1953) is an American film and television writer and television producer. more…

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