Legacy Distribution will debut Benedict Arnold: Hero Betrayed, a documentary that claims to capture “the brutal hardships of the revolutionary war and the heroic deeds of a man scorned by history.”
The feature-length film challenges the long-standing narrative of Benedict Arnold as a traitor and places him among the names of American war heroes, with its in-depth interviews with historians and re-enactments featuring Peter O’Meara (Knightfall, Band of Brothers) and narrated by Martin Sheen (The West Wing, The Departed).
“Shining a light on the Revolution like never before, Benedict Arnold: Hero Betrayed confronts the myths surrounding Benedict Arnold and reaffirms that history is never black and white and always memorialized by the victors,” an announcement of the film says. “Arnold’s contributions to America have been largely forgotten, although they are second in importance to only George Washington. At a time when statues are being torn down and cancel culture is redefining heroes and traitors, this film could not be more relevant.”
“Benedict Arnold has always been seen as a cartoon villain,” says director Chris Stearns. “To really understand him as a person, we needed to see what he was struggling to overcome. I hope viewers will come to appreciate his very personal story as well as the large-scale story of the great sacrifice and effort he and others gave to the cause of liberty.”
“The heroic journey and Shakespearian tragedy of Benedict Arnold is worthy of grand cinematic treatment, but to dispel the myths surrounding him, we wanted reputable historians to tell the story,” continues producer Thomas Mercer. “So we set out sights on a hybrid approach- a documentary with cinematic visuals of huge land and naval battles, and faithful recreations of 18th-century life.”
“I’ve always seen Benedict Arnold as the Darth Vader of the American Revolution,” says co-producer Anthony Vertucci. “The very best and worst of the American ideal. Self-made, brave, enterprising. And today’s perception. Vain. Greedy. Traitor. But the real question is why the most fervent patriot of the Revolution turned his back on the cause he fought for and nearly died defending? The nuance and space between all of these characteristics and the answer to that fundamental question is worthy of deep exploration. What is treason?”
Synopsis Provided by the Producers
Benedict Arnold is not the villain of American history most people were taught to believe. New facts and never before presented material illuminate his heroic contributions to the American Revolution and explains his later change of allegiance.
For the crucial first three years of the Revolution, Arnold’s battlefield heroics foil British invasions. Then his idealism is shattered by self-serving political and military leaders. He feels betrayed by the cause he had joined for the principles of an egalitarian society. Instead, he encountered an arbitrary system of personal favoritism and cronyism. He had lived up to the ideals of the Declaration of Independence while others had not. He concludes the Revolution had taken a bad turn and America would be better off under Britain’s rule.
“Benedict Arnold: Hero Betrayed will change the way everyone sees the American Revolution and make them question who the real heroes and villains were,” says Legacy Distribution CEO, Dana Webber. “It is essential that people should watch this incredible new film to get a better understanding of our history, and understand that there is always more to the story than what is written by those who were victorious.”
Benedict Arnold: Hero Betrayed will premiere on demand and through a one-time fee to download, including on iTunes and Amazon, on November 2, 2021. The film is directed by Chris Stearns and produced by Thomas Mercer, Anthony Vertucci, Steve Letteri and Michael Camoin.
James S. Kaplan says
They should do a film about Horatio Gates a true patriot who won the Battle of Saratoga, not a vain impetuous traitor like Benedict Arnold. Gates really did help create the modern United States including
New York City. Visit the Lower Manhattan Historical Association’s Saratoga/ Yorktown celebration
every October at Trinity Churchyards.
James S. Kaplan, Chairman and Past
MARK HESLER says
Reading the recently released ‘Valcour’, will give you a good sense of Arnold as an outspoken and essential Revolutionary War leader, a brave & daring military strategist and officer who endeared the loyalty of his troops. I still think that if the command of Fort Ticonderoga in the spring of 1777 was given to Arnold (as he anticipated), instead of St. Clair, the Fort (and Mt. Independence) wouldn’t have been abandoned by the Americans overnight on July 5th, as Burgoyne moved his forces down the lake and put the fort under siege…!
Gregory Hubbard says
‘…his idealism is shattered by self-serving political and military leaders. He feels betrayed by the cause he had joined for the principles of an egalitarian society.’
Wow, Benedict Arnold as a victim! Golly, really? And if, if, if in regard to his military career? All ‘what if’ speculations. are completely pointless. They ignore the forces that provoke the decisions made.
Anyone can edit history, and make villains into heroes. After all, there were many important members of the United States military who made the decision to support the Southern Secession, and history revisionists still present this as an heroic act, an effort to ‘preserve’ ‘states’ rights, while ignoring slavery, or pretending that it wasn’t devastating. In my opinion, books such as ‘The Guns Of The South’ are nothing but fairy stories created by authors who have ignored contemporary (1850-1870) attitudes and beliefs.
Count the memorials to Robert E. Lee, a fine officer in the United States Army, who was also a true bigot, and who became a true traitor, leading armies that killed many tens of thousands of American armed forces personnel and civilians. He is honored with more than 200 places, buildings, schools, highways, memorials and museums, etc., named in his honor. (This is changing.)
Arnold was a traitor. The flaws in his character which encouraged him to decide to be a traitor to the American cause were present long before his actual betrayal. He was vain and self important, and when he didn’t receive the honors he felt he was due, he picked up his toys, and betrayed his troops, his friends, and the American cause. In my opinion, any attempts to rehabilitate his image by celebrating his accomplishments BEFORE he turned on the American cause are dishonest, and miss the point. Remember, HE MADE THE DECISION TO BECOME A TRAITOR.
There are other talented individuals beside Lee and Arnold who destroyed their position in American history through their decision to betray their nation.
Remember, John Wilkes Booth was considered a remarkable actor. He was also a vicious bigot, which propelled him into the assassination of President Lincoln. He was still a fine and celebrated actor! However, that doesn’t change HIS DECISION to become one of the nastiest assassins in American history.
For me, historical ‘ifs’ are silly. Rehabilitating historic villains as real heroes ignores contemporary ideas and forces, and their most important life decision as their legacy.
debora L.Mc dougall says
Benedict Arnold was a complicated man who lived a complicated life in a complicated’and important time in this country’s history. In spite of how his life
ended up – being considered an American traitor and a British hero – buried in’Westminster Abbey – his life was truly an American story that should be
told in its completeness and studied – to understand the America of that time..
Another American who should have a film made about his life is Dr, Joseph Warren
who died at the Battle of Bunker Hill at the start of the American Revolution.
He also actually was head of the Massachusetts commission that sent BA to re-claim Fort Ticonderoga from the British for which Ethan Allen received most of the credit.