Breaker Morant

Breaker Morant

DVD - 2008
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Three Australian lieutenants are court martialed for executing prisoners as a way of deflecting attention from war crimes committed by their superior officers. Based on a play and true story.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Mar 24, 2019

How did I miss this one? A brilliant piece of filmmaking. Highly recommended!

Feb 23, 2019

"Well Peter, this is what comes of empire building." This is maybe the only film I know about eh Boer War, which was between the English and the Dutch settler in South Africa around the turn of the 20th century. Based on a true story, it's a compelling critique of imperialism and brings up the always provocative issue of following orders, even if they don't seem morally sound (Also, see the Nuremberg trials, Abu Ghraib, and every war ever.) Edward "the Equalizer" Woodward, Bryan Brown, and Jack Thompson star and Australian Bruce Beresford, who also directed "Driving Miss Daisy" (seriously), directs. There's an interview with a historian on the extras that is helpful for context. I'd also recommend the book "The Boer War" by Martin Boseenbroek, if you're interested in more history.

Jan 23, 2019

Paths of Glory meets A Few Good Men. So engaging, so deep, so beautiful. Every detail is perfected, normally the rifles in these kind of movies stick out like a sore thumb, but here, they are period correct. The drama is so blunt, bleak, and real, it drives the point home. If you like period dramas, courtroom dramas, or even a war drama (thankfully lacking a romantic interest) then you will like this film.

Oct 05, 2017

A perfect film !!! Everything is great, the acting is top notch all throughout. EDWARD WOODWARD is stunning in this film and that great voice of his echoes in the mind. My views on the morals of this film have changed over the years. As a young man I felt it was a travesty of justice but after getting older and serving in Afghanistan I see the true tragedy, These men murdered unarmed prisoners and civilians for personal revenge and dishonored the role of soldier and are not heroes. A great combination of war and courtroom drama at its most visceral filmmaking. Truly a classic. WAR IS THE REAL TERROR and makes killers of us all. No heroes or saviors only ghosts to haunt the world ~ 420

Aug 30, 2017

Believe I saw this film when it first came out (1980). Excellent film by Bruce Beresford about three Australia soldiers court-marshaled during the Boer War (1899-1902). Also known as the South African War, the British were concerned about their African properties and the Boers (primarily white Dutch settlers/farmers) were well settled in South Africa at the time. The two sides come to war and Australians were recruited to fight for the British. Three Australian soldiers are court-marshaled for war crimes which for the British are means to pass the blame onto “colonials” in their service. Jack Thompson plays their lawyer (I was thinking was he Crocodile Dundee – no he was not, but very famous and active Australian actor), Edward Woodward plays Breaker Morant and Bryan Brown plays another of the soldiers (I remember him from the excellent miniseries A Town Like Alice. He was also in the Thornbirds). Their war crimes seemed to be approved military action – okay to kill Boers, but eventually the colonials become scapegoats for the Empire. The film is primarily set during the court-marshal but has flashbacks to events in the story. Well done film worth watching. There is a short titled The South African War in the Supplements which you may want to watch first if you are unfamiliar with the Boer War. Disc Two is a documentary about Breaker Morant – the film is based on a true story.

Feb 02, 2017

One of my favorite movies of all time. Great acting. Best last line of all time.

Sep 05, 2016

I saw this film when first released in 1980 and thought it was one of the best films ever out of Australia. British actor Edward Woodward and Australian actors Bryan Brown and Jack Thompson were great both in the courtroom and out in the wild. Thompson got the Cannes win for best supporting actor. In my opinion, it must have been great directing because I never saw him act this good in his later films. A lesson - leaders of war often need a scapegoat. They got a few here and just like in Stanley Kubrick’s excellent film "Paths of Glory."

Jul 30, 2016

There are two great Australian films that show the worst side of betrayal of soldiers who are doing their best. Breaker Morant and Gallipoli. Both are tremendous films and I cannot imagine how anyone who likes cinema could rate either as less than a five star film. While the stories are not familiar to most Americans, they are well known in Australian and New Zealand. I have watched both many times and still am blown away by the stupidity of the commanders and the terrible price these soldiers pay as a result. Strongly encourage everyone to watch both.

Jul 27, 2016

This is a gem of a film that I give 5 stars--no idea why BiblioCommons shows only 4.5. It's a must-see for those interested in history, especially about the British Empire and the Boer War in South Africa. It is an unforgettable true story about good men--one a mere boy--betrayed by the British government because it needed scapegoats.

The hero, Harry 'Breaker' Morant, an exemplary soldier, was condemned for no other reason than that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, as were the two other Australian soldiers. Alone in the back of the beyond, they were subjected to a sham trial by the British--not the enemy. He knew immediately that the trial was a pretense, and that it would be futile to fight. It's a David and Goliath story about 1 man vs. the mighty British Empire.

Their 'trial' was a travesty of justice, but they were only 'Colonials', after all, not Oxbridge-educated English gentlemen, and their trial took place half a world away, hidden from the glare of world press. Even though the setting is an obscure corner of the world over a century ago, it's a universal tale of betrayal, courage and character, about real heroism and bravery.

Morant was a seasoned soldier, a generation older and wiser, a rock for the young soldier who was still so naive and idealistic and could not imagine being betrayed by those he trusted. Harry's demeanor throughout was the epitome of Honor and Bravery. He was the real gentleman in the courtroom, shaming the men charged with his sham trial.

Edward Woodward is absolutely brilliant in his portrayal of Morant, and veteran Aussie actor Jack Thompson's portrayal of Morant's exasperated, desperate Australian attorney is masterful. He fights valiantly for Harry and the others despite the bleak odds, despite the roadblocks set up by the British government and his client's fatalism.

Like any good story, this story is about the human experience: Weakness and strength of character, courage and honor in the face of betrayal. It's an unforgettable story about courage and character, about real heroism and bravery.

I first saw this movie when it was released in 1980, and it has stayed with me to this day, perhaps because I was about the same age as the young soldier in the story, also idealistic and naive in many ways.

If you enjoy this film, you might also want to see another Australian film released around the same time (1980), also about Australian soldiers who fought bravely for Empire--this time in World War I. The film is "Gallipoli", the main character played by young Mel Gibson before he became a star. The soundtrack includes Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings" which is absolutely heartbreaking in view of the slaughter on screen.

Mar 18, 2016

This is a 1980 Australian war-crime docu-drama directed by Bruce Beresford.
The film centers around the 1902 court martial of Lieutenants Harry Morant, Peter Handcock, and George Witton---one of the first war crimes prosecutions in British military history.
Apparently, these Australians were framed by the British brass.
So, no wonder, Harry Morant has become a folk hero in modern Australia.
But I've never heard of this story.
These crimes took place during the Second Anglo-Boer War were committed by the people who were quite normal.
This is quite understndable because a war drives men crazy.

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at OPL

To Top