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->''"Washington needed a victory, they got a miracle."''

'''''The Crossing''''' is a 2000 made-for-TV movie that aired on A&E, depicting the first Battle of Trenton in UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution. It stars Jeff Daniels as GeorgeWashington and follows him through December, 1776 as he tries to find a way to save his army and the Revolution from disintegration after a desperate retreat across the Delaware.

There are no British troops immediately in the vicinity, their commander having deemed the Continentals too pathetic to bother with, leaving instead a force of 1200 Hessians--around the numbers that Washington can drum up from the other generals. He decides to cross the Delaware on Christmas night and ambush the Hessians, a plan that ''everyone'' thinks is crazy. But with enlistments set to expire at the end of the year, Washington sees no other choice if the Revolution is to continue at all.

Although it takes some liberties with the facts of the battle (see HollywoodHistory for details) ''The Crossing'' portrays the struggles of Washington and the Continental Army in a realistic and unromantic way.

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!!Tropes:

* UsefulNotes/AlexanderHamilton: Young Hamilton was in his role as Washington's aide here.
* AmericanAccents: Several characters have British accents, as would be accurate to that time. Colonel Glover also has an unmistakable Massachusetts accent.
* AnAssKickingChristmas: Yup. Actually a part of Washington's plans, at least in the movie and popular legend.
* AwesomeButImpractical: The Hessians' formations are fine when attacking in a planned battle, not so much in an ambush where most of them are still half-asleep.
* BadassBookworm: Henry Knox, who is mocked by Glover for being fat and ran a bookshop before the war, is an ''excellent'' artilleryman.
** "Excellent" doesn't quite cover it. General Knox (for whom Fort Knox, Kentucky was named) was considered a natural genius in the use of artillery by his British enemies, and has come to be considered one of the greatest artillery officers the world has ever seen.
* BrutalHonesty: This is Colonel Glover's trademark, along with generally being insulting.
* CampingACrapper: Non-lethal version. The owner of a foundry comes out of the privy to see Colonel Glover and a ''large'' number of soldiers waiting to inform him that they have just commandeered his shipping fleet.
* ChekhovsGun: [[spoiler:The rifle sealed with candle wax.]]
* CurbStompBattle: Hamilton versus the Hessians in the guardhouse and the rest of the Continentals in the main battle against the Hessians.
* DarkestHour: The American Revolution had a lot of very, very low points, but the end titles state that this was the worst of them.
* DeadpanSnarker: Washington, and several others in his army.
--> '''Mercer:''' They say the General [Howe] has her flat on her back every afternoon, fornicating like a fifteen-year-old.
--> '''Washington:''' [{{beat}}.] Well that's very stimulating, Hugh, but what does it have to do with me?
* {{Determinator}}: "As long as I command a corporal guard, I will march on Trenton."
* TheDreaded: The Hessians, who killed surrendering troops at Brooklyn. They're particularly dreaded by the Pennsylvania German troops, who call them "devils."
* AFatherToHisMen: Very much so. It's actually one reason he feels obligated to make one final attempt at a victory, because he feels he owes it to the lads who have not deserted.
** Colonel Rall shows some signs of this as well, the SkewedPriorities part below not withstanding. He seems to keep himself alive long enough to ask that his men not be abused in surrender.
* ForegoneConclusion: The Continental Army wins.
* FourStarBadass: Washington, front and center.
** General Hugh Mercer as well.
* GeorgeWashington: The writers and producers deliberately gave him a very human characterization here.
* HollywoodHistory:
** A key part of Washington's plan (and why it still succeeds despite running into daylight) is that the Hessians are hungover from their Christmas celebrations. Although some of Washington's staff ''did'' truly think this would be the case, the Hessians had been warned that the Continentals were planning something and apparently did not revel, although they were still caught off-guard.
** The confrontation between Gates and Washington didn't happen. In fact Gates was even more weaselly than the film suggests--he contrived to avoid the concentration opposite Trenton entirely, reporting to Congress instead of showing up in Washington's camp.
** The scene where a squad of Patriots led by Hamilton ambush and slaughter a German guardhouse did not happen. There was a guardhouse, and the garrison of said guardhouse exchanged volleys with the Americans for a while before retreating back into town when they realized there were way too many Americans coming for them to deal with.
** The weather during the river crossing, the approach on Trenton, and the battle was even worse that the movie indicates, with the Delaware choked with ice and and heavy sleet in the Americans' faces as they attacked. This may have been left out of the movie due to budgetary limitations.
* IdiotBall: General Howe withdrawing all of his troops except for the 1200 Hessians. Washington is both incredulous and insulted to realize that his army is NotWorthKilling.
* ItsPersonal: Washington is absolutely livid at the Hessians for killing his retreating troops in Brooklyn.
* JerkAss: General Gates is portrayed as one here, to the point where Washington ordered him out at gunpoint. (In RealLife, Gates tried twice to replace Washington during the war before disgracing himself through cowardice.)
* TheLancer: Hugh Mercer to Washington. Not only is he Washington's NumberTwo, but is explicitly stated to be his closest friend.
* LanguageBarrier: The Pennsylvania German troops under Captain Heineman. When he requests that he be able to warn his men that they'll be attacking Hessians, Washington's staff shrugs and allow it because they figure nobody could understand them.
* LimitedAdvancementOpportunities: Colonel Glover would be a general if he hadn't offended all of Washington's staff at one point, but he's not too interested in higher rank anyway.
* TheMenFirst: Washington yells at some officers who elect to warm themselves at the fire while their troops are freezing outside.
* MildlyMilitary: One point that Gates uses to strike at Washington during his rant; Washington admits that he is right in that and then turns it around on him.
* MilitaryMaverick: Washington. Given that he's the commander-in-chief, he can get away with it basically on the strength of "because I say so," But not even Mercer, his best friend, thinks the plan will work.
* NotSoDifferent: Washington is disgusted by the Hessians, as they are only hired mercenaries fighting for profit; while the British at least have an excuse to not want the Colonials to be free. Gen. Nathaniel Greene gives a little speech on the matter, pointing out that one of their own chief complaints is overtaxation, and that everyone ultimately fights for profit.
* OneBulletLeft: A particularly well done, and extreme, example. A Colonial soldier seals his powder chamber with wax, hoping it will stay dry. This makes him the ''only soldier in the Continental Army'' to have a gun that can fire, and he only has one shot. [[spoiler:He uses it to mortally wound Col. Rall, ending the battle]]
* PoirotSpeak: A little bit with Captain Heineman, but mostly with words that are almost cognates anyway--"und" for "and" along with a hard "g" in "general."
* PsychoForHire: Washington's opinion of the Hessians. In reality, most of the foot soldiers were ill-treated conscripts who had no say in being shipped off to fight in America.
* RaceAgainstTheClock: Washington has until the 31st of December to win a victory so that his men will have a reason to re-enlist.
* RagtagBunchOfMisfits: The Continental Army of course, but they're more "dirty, hungry, sick and demoralized" than "ragtag" at this point in time.
* RealityIsUnrealistic: A battle against ''Hessians'' fought by ill-trained, dispirited farmers and militiamen and [[spoiler:and there were no Continental casualties? Yeah right!]][[labelnote:*]]In fact, there were two casualties... but they died of hypothermia, not Hessians.[[/labelnote]]
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: Gates gives one to Washington. Washington more or less responds with "go to hell" and takes his troops.
* SkewedPriorities: When informed of the American attack, Colonel Rall very methodically dresses in his uniform rather than immediately taking command. Meanwhile, his men are being cut down in their pajamas.
** Presumably he didn't know how badly the battle was going.
* SophisticatedAsHell: Washington. A Virginia gentleman and lover of fine wine. Also known for peppering his speech with curses, and saying this during the crossing:
-->"Move your fat ass, Henry! Don't shake your balls or you'll swamp the boat."
* TheSpymaster: We see hints of Washington's information network, both in letters and an in-person meeting with a contact.
* WarIsHell: From the opening scene, which shows Washington's broken, dispirited army on the retreat. When [[spoiler:the dying Colonel Rall demands to surrender to Washington]] as a courtesy of war, Washington bitterly snaps that "there are no ''courtesies'' in war."
* WeAREStrugglingTogether: Both General Lee and General Gates think that they should be in charge, and Washington's staff bicker amongst themselves quite a lot.
* WhereAreTheyNow: Sort of anyway. The characters are all long dead (of course), but the epilogue reveals their fates.
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