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Williamsburg Pop Culture

While there aren’t many movies and TV shows specifically about Williamsburg, there’s plenty of film content on the Colonial period and the American Revolution. Unfortunately, a lot of it is pretty bad. Mel Gibson’s "The Patriot" is decent blockbuster stuff, but there are such glaring historical inaccuracies (the British never burned down churches full of civilians, and central hero Francis Marion was a man of his times—a determined patriot, but hardly a saint), it’s impossible to recommend. "Revolution," a 1985 epic that stars Al Pacino, is truer to history, but was almost universally panned by critics. Even though it wasn’t set in Williamsburg and, controversially, comes down hard against Alexander Hamilton, we’d recommend the excellent HBO miniseries "John Adams," starring Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney, for a good period piece on the Colonial era. Much of the show was shot in Colonial Williamsburg, as were short scenes (the town interlude) in "The Last of the Mohicans." There are plenty of books on the Colonial era to get you in the mood for a visit to Williamsburg. It’s hard to recommend any one title—"The Glorious Cause" and "The Radicalism of the American Revolution"—are both excellent titles on the Revolution itself. "Lies My History Teacher Told Me" is an interesting explosion of some of the myths you hear in history textbooks, many specifically related to the Colonial period. There’s not much music about Williamsburg, unless you count the crappy drum and fife stuff they play in the Historic Area.

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