[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/DVD_cover_of_the_movie_The_Crossing_9631.jpg]]

->''"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 Creator/JeffDaniels as UsefulNotes/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'' takes a distinctly human view of the struggle. The Continental Army is portrayed not as a plucky band of irregulars but a weary, demoralized remnant in dire need of supplies and a boost to morale. Washington, who is known for being mythologized as much as he is for his historical significance, is shown as a human being who is frustrated and at his wits' end trying to keep what's left of his army from disintegrating while his generals, loyal and plotters alike, question his admittedly desperate plan. The result makes it clear how close the Revolution came to dying before it was even a year old, which makes the victory at Trenton even more impressive.
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!!Tropes:

* AnAssKickingChristmas: The river crossing begins on Christmas night, and the battle itself the morning of the 26th. The film goes with the popular legend that the Hessians were too hungover from their celebrations to mount an effective defense and that Washington timed the battle to take advantage of this.
* 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 (the namesake of Fort Knox) who is mocked by Glover for being fat and ran a bookshop before the war, is an ''excellent'' artilleryman. In fact, he 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.
* CrazyEnoughToWork: This is essentially Washington's plan. He's throwing the whole of his forces (which are not in any good condition) against a garrison that is made up of the enemy's most feared troops (who are in very good condition). It's certainly true that the British wouldn't expect such a thing, but every single person Washington explains the plan to stops at the "crazy" part.
* DarkestHour: In December 1776, the Continental Army under Washington has been enduring defeat and retreat for many months, pushed out of New York and across New Jersey, and the few who haven't deserted are still going to be gone once their enlistments run out at the end of the month. The American Revolution had a lot of very, very low points, but the end titles state that this was the worst of them.
* DawnAttack: Washington ''wants'' this, but the crossing proceeds so slowly that it's past sunrise by the time his army arrives.
* 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."
* DistractedByTheSexy: General Howe, apparently. According to Mercer, Howe's torrid affair with a married woman is the main reason he hasn't totally crushed the Continental Army.
* 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 Washington feels obligated to make one final attempt at a victory, because he feels he owes it to the lads who have not deserted. He also shouts at a group of officers who are huddling inside rather than freezing alongside their troops.
** 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.
* FeeFiFauxPas: When Washington's officers dine with the wealthy couple who have offered their home up for army headquarters, Glover gives a brief speech about how he wears his own clothes and not a uniform, and his hair is his own and not a powdered wig. Their wig-wearing host and his wife look uncomfortable until Washington smooths things over.
* ForegoneConclusion: The Continental Army wins.
* FourStarBadass:
** Washington, front and center.
** General Hugh Mercer as well.
* HollywoodHistory:
** The common wisdom that the Hessians lost because of German Christmas celebrations. In actuality, it had more to do with the fact that they'd stopped routine precautions (such as distance patrols). Even though they were tipped off that something was going on and thus suspended their revelries, they were unprepared for the magnitude of the assault. Some of the Continental officers consequently did believe that Hessian hangovers contributed to their victory and said so in their letters, which is probably why the myth survives.
** 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.
** In the movie, the Americans suffer no casualties. In the real battle, two men died of hypothermia during the march, while two were killed and two were wounded in the battle itself. (Which is still an astoundingly low number, but not EverybodyLives.)
* ImADoctorNotAPlaceholder: Mercer says "I'm more physician than general" before entering into a summation of how dire the army's condition is.
* INeedAFreakingDrink: An Irish innkeeper (and Patriot spy) at first refuses to drink from the bottle of Madeira he's just given Washington. Then Washington tells him about the plan. The innkeeper immediately asks if he can have a glass.
* ItsPersonal: Washington is absolutely livid at the Hessians for killing his retreating troops in Brooklyn, bayoneting them in the back as they tried to flee or surrender. The regular soldiers feel the same way; during the final battle they are merciless to the Hessians and Washington watches without sympathy.
* 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.
* NotWorthKilling: General Howe, the British commander, withdraws all of his troops except for the 1200 Hessians in Trenton because he's written the Americans off as already defeated. (Historically, Rall's superiors also refused numerous requests to bolster defenses.) Washington is shocked, and also insulted.
* OhCrap: A small squad of Hessians manage to get into formation to fire on a line of Patriots...then the American line splits and a canon is wheeled into place right in front of them.
* 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 truth, 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.
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech:
** Gates gives one to Washington. Washington more or less responds with "go to hell" and takes his troops.
** Played straight, then averted: Washington starts giving one to Colonel Glover, calling him a pain in the ass and a thorn in his side, then goes on to call him a damned fine soldier and the bravest man he knows, and would he please be so good as to have his men ferry his troops over the river?
* 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 among themselves quite a lot.
* WhatTheHellHero: At the beginning of the movie, Washington orders Glover to commandeer a fleet of boats from a local foundry so that they may escape the British. Needless to say, the foundry owner isn't too happy.
-->'''Owner''': "My God, sir, is this your 'Revolution'? Is this your 'liberty and equality'? To destroy a man's business? To rob him of his property?!"
-->'''Glover''': "I follow my orders, sir."
-->'''Owner''': "Whose orders?"
-->'''Glover''': "General Washington."
-->'''Owner''': "Then God damn him for the bandit that he is! How am I gonna make a living?! ''Who's gonna pay me??!!''"
* WhereAreTheyNow: Sort of anyway. The characters are all long dead (of course), but the epilogue reveals their fates. (Hugh Mercer was killed less than two weeks later at the Battle of Princeton.)
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