On This Day: ‘The Patriot’ Starring Mel Gibson Premieres in 2000

by Megan Molseed

It’s been 21 years since Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson) let go of his commitment to lead a peaceful life as a South Carolina farmer in order to save his sons during the American Revolution in “The Patriot.”

“The Patriot” was an early 2000s hit and became a box office phenomenon. Upon its premiere, the film generated over $22 million the first weekend. While “The Patriot” did fall short of the predictions it would open in the number one spot, it did quickly find its place at number two. Falling behind “The Perfect Storm.”

After about sixteen weeks in theaters, the film closed having grossed a total of over $215 million.

Mel Gibson, A Hollywood Leading Man Icon

At the time of the release of “The Patriot,” Mel Gibson was one of Hollywood’s hottest stars. Gibson starred in many Hollywood successes such as “Mad Max,” “Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome,” the “Lethal Weapon” movies, “Ransom,” “Hamlet,” and “Braveheart.”

Mel Gibson won two academy awards for “Braveheart,” one for Best Picture and the other for Best Director.

Recently, the actor directed Hacksaw Ridge, a World War II biopic. The 2014 film was nominated for multiple awards including Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, and Best Director. The film also received Golden Globe nominations in the same categories.

The Patriot” stars Mel Gibson as a peaceful farmer, named Benjamin Martin during the American Revolution. Martin tries to avoid any involvement in the war because of his own experiences fighting in the American Indian Wars. Martin is also committed to shielding his family from the atrocities he committed during his time at war. As a result, his family is unaware that his capabilities surpass those of the average soldier.

Martin’s oldest child, Gabriel Martin, played by the late Heath Ledger, goes against his father’s wishes and joins the Continental Army. Tragedy strikes with the British army, ambushing the Martin farm. The ambush results in the death of one of Martin’s eldest boys, Thomas (Gregory Smith), and the capture of Gabriel.

Martin and two of his other sons ambush the unit in an effort to rescue Gabriel. What follows is one of the film’s iconic scenes as Mel Gibson’s character flawlessly ambushes each member of the unit with his skills. Benjamin’s abilities were so smooth and silent that one survivor refers to him as the “Ghost.”