Reports are coming in that British actor Edward Woodward has died at the age of 79.
I've liked various bits of Woodward's quite diverse career over the years. Certainly, his role as a police officer in The Wicker Man (opposite such luminaries as Christopher Lee and Britt Ekland) remains a classic.
And there were few actors who could pull off the suit-and-uzi combination as suavely as he during his stint as The Equalizer
But it was his starring role in Bruce Beresford's 1980 film Breaker Morant that made the most powerful impression on me. I believe I discovered it while working at a video store in about 1988. I didn't know much about the Boer War at the time, but the film stands out as a remarkably effective meditation not only on the hypocrises of war and empire but also on the friendships among men in wartime.
It's difficult to find a best-of online right now, but this scene (in which Morant and two fellow soldiers are on trial for shooting Boer prisoners although they had been ordered to do so by their superiors) should suffice.
'Rule .303' -- a reference to the calibre of their Lee-Enfield rifles -- is a phrase that has stuck in my head ever since.
And, this one too, but you want to not watch it if you haven't seen the film yet, as it shows the ending.
But it's powerful stuff.