Before coming to America to make such acclaimed films as Tender Mercies
and Driving Miss Daisy
, Australian director Bruce Beresford made a lasting impression with this compelling courtroom drama, considered one the finest films of the Australian new wave of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Based on a true story about three soldiers in the Boer War who are served up as political scapegoats of the British Empire, the film uses a flashback structure to dramatise the courtroom testimony. It begins when the three Australian soldiers are railroaded for the justified killing of a German missionary and placed on trial for court-martial not as a matter of justice, but to mollify the German government for the sake of political expediency. Burdened with a competent but inexperienced and hopelessly disadvantaged lawyer, the soldiers realise that their fate has been sealed and the outcome of their trial is a fait accompli. Unfolding with urgent precision and a riveting focus on its well-drawn characters, Breaker Morant
was the all-time box-office hit in Australia at the time of its release in 1980, and it remains one of the very best historical dramas ever made. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com
During the Boer War, the Australian unit led by Lieutenant Harry 'Breaker' Morant (Edward Woodward) is commanded to fight the Boers to the death. Morant, keen to avenge the death and mutilation of his best friend at the hands of the Boers, is happy to comply, but his capture and execution of prisoners leads to him and two colleagues being court-martialled. A 16-minute interview with star Edward Woodward, recorded in 2000, is also included.