While Sharon was in Santa Fe last weekend, Jack and I watched The Eagle as a HD rental on the AppleTV last Saturday night. While I had never heard of the movie, Jack had apparently seen trailers for it.
In the movie, they show a fortification that they call Hadrian's wall. This is described as a wall running all the way across Scotland to protect against the northern tribes. At the time, I thought "yeah, right." Researching a little after we finished watching the movie, it turns out that the Romans really did built a wall all the way across Scotland! Began in 122 AD, the wall was the most heavily fortified border in the Empire. In addition to its role as a military fortification, it is thought that many of the gates through the wall would have served as customs posts to allow trade and levy taxation. A significant portion of the wall still exists.
Reading a little more, I realized that the plot of the movie is based on an actual historical event: the masscre of the Roman Ninth Legion. Around 60 AD, an entire Roman legion of 5,000 men was wiped out in battle by the Britons.
When I was in Wales in 1991, we wandered through the Roman fort at Cardiff. I have a couple of pictures from the trip that I am going to work to post in October.
Given that the movie got me to read a little about the Romans in the British Isles, I give the movie a lukewarm recommendation.