- Directors: Roland Emmerich
- Producers: Dean Devlin, Mark Gordon, Gary Levinsohn
- Writers: Robert Rodat
- Genres: Action, Drama, War
- Actors: Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Jason Isaacs, Joely Richardson, Chris Cooper, Tom Wilkinson
At the beginning of the American Revolution, Benjamin Martin (Gibson) is a South Carolina veteran of the French and Indian War and a widower raising his seven children on his farm. Gabriel (Ledger), the eldest, is anxious to join the American forces fighting the British in the Revolutionary War. Knowing war from personal experience, Ben tries to discourage his son’s ambitions, but his son enlists anyway.
Gabriel returns home two years later, stumbling wounded into the family home and carrying military dispatches. The next day, a military skirmish have the Martins caring for the wounded from both sides. British soldiers – the ruthless Green Dragoons cavalry – arrive and kill the Colonial wounded, burn down the Martin house and arrest Gabriel as a spy, intending to hang him. Ben’s next eldest son Thomas (Smith) is shot and killed by the leader of the Green Dragoons, Colonel William Tavington (Isaacs).
Making use of his knowledge of fighting in the wilds, Ben and his two younger sons, Nathan (Morgan) and Samuel (Chafin) set forth to ambush the British column in the woods. They manage to kill most of the soldiers in an ambush and free Gabriel. The boys are horrified at their first glimpse of their father’s ferocity. Gabriel rejoins the cause against his father’s will again, stating it is his duty as a soldier. Ben decides to join as well, leaving the rest of the children in the care of their aunt Charlotte (Joely Richardson), Ben’s sister-in-law.
Martin and his family return to their home to find the militia helping to rebuild it. Occam (Jones) tells Ben, “Gabriel said that if we won the war, we could build a whole new world. Just figured we’d get started right here, with your home.” Benjamin smiles.