War, what is it good for? Well, absolutely nothing, as Edwin Starr put it. Yet it's still been a constant fixture in human history. For centuries, blood has spilled over territory disputes and basic hatred. When entering combat, you'd best hope that your side comes out on top in the skirmish or wider conflict.
One strategic move on the battlefield can result in a narrow victory or a crushing defeat. The greatest battles waged have played a key role in shaping world events. Film adaptations have portrayed this history with their own intensely dedicated gusto.
Throughout human history, many failures and crushing defeats have led armies and their commanders to ruin. Thanks to the efforts of the silver screen, we bear witness to these horrific changes of fortune on a grand scale. The horror of mistakes and failed efforts are put on full display.
Some of the poor decisions in this list come from misguided tactics on the battlefield. Others come from individuals making a move that costs their fellow soldiers dearly. Often the following ten moments ruled the fate of both historical events and their cinematic counterparts, fictional or otherwise. Let's take a look.
10. The Patriot - Trusting A Local Militia Force
Starting off, we have The Patriot directed by Roland Emmerich. It arrived in 2000 and took place at the height of the American Revolutionary War. It pits Captain Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson) against the deadly Colonel William Tavington in several major battles.
The character is based on the real-life Banastre Tarleton, an infamous British soldier who led his band of raiders to aid in the recapture of Charleston. The cinematic portrayal of this individual goes for a more ruthless tone as Tavington brutalises many of his continental victims. Despite his methods, he's taken on by General Charles Cornwallis to eliminate the enemy by any means necessary.
This quickly proves to be a mistake. Putting his trust in the violent colonel only stokes the fires of rebellion even more and the result is a decisive battle at Cowpens. This loss, acting as a domino effect, leads to defeat after defeat for the seasoned British commander. He's forced to retreat many times over the coming weeks.
These events, while heavily fictionalised for the film, led to the final siege of Yorktown in 1781. With this final encounter, the British were driven out of the continent and forced to accept the United States as its own independent nation.