Breaker Morant (1980)

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Breaker Morant is a 1980 Australian film about the 1902 court martial of Breaker Morant, directed by Bruce Beresford and starring British actor Edward Woodward as Harry "Breaker" Morant and Jack Thompson as his attorney. The all-Australian supporting cast features Bryan Brown and Lewis Fitz-Gerald. Beresford co-wrote the screenplay from the 1978 play Breaker Morant: A Play in Two Acts by Kenneth G. Ross.

Breaker Morant heavily influenced Australian New Wave war films such as Gallipoli (1981), The Lighthorsemen (1987), and the five-part TV series ANZACS (1985). Recurring themes of these films include the Australian identity, such as mateship and larrikinism, wartime loss of innocence, and the military coming of age of the Australian nation (the ANZAC spirit).

The film was a top performer at the 1980 Australian Film Institute awards, with ten wins, including: Best Film, Best Direction, Leading Actor, Supporting Actor, Screenplay, Art Direction, Cinematography, and Editing. It was also nominated for the 1980 Academy Award for the Best Writing (Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium).

In a 1999 interview, director Bruce Beresford explained that Breaker Morant was meant to explore what can cause ordinary men to commit crimes against the rules of war. He further expressed disappointment that, because of his film, Lieutenant Morant and his co-defendants are now seen as victims of a kangaroo court by many Australians.

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