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Mel Gibson Fights for Freedom in Braveheart, A Full-Throated Epic of Overwhelming Emotion and Intense Beauty
jaredpahl11 May 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Braveheart is a rousing adventure, a passionate romance, and a soul-stirring drama. In short, Mel Gibson's 1995 classic is everything a great Hollywood epic should be. Gibson's second feature film as a director was a revelation. Who knew that Mel Gibson, an established action superstar and leading man, would be capable of helming a grand Medieval epic with the artistry of Braveheart? The story of William Wallace's legendary fight against English tyranny in Medieval Scotland works as a strong action spectacle, but more than that, Braveheart is a heart-rending, almost spiritual experience, a rare film of bellowing passion that earns every towering emotion it conjures.

Braveheart tackles the ambitious task of retelling the legend of William Wallace (Mel Gibson), a Scottish warrior who led a revolt against the English occupants of Scotland in the early part of the 14th Century. After his secret love (Catherine McCormack) is killed by English noblemen occupying the Scot's village, Wallace begins a rebellion that eventually leads all the way to King Longshanks (Partrick McGoohan) of England. The story is not a historical retelling of the real William Wallace, but an account of the mythic figure of William Wallace, the larger-than-life Scottish hero. Mel Gibson is at his charismatic best as Wallace. His presence on screen conveys every bit of the folk legend that Wallace has become. It might not be an accurate portrait of a real historical figure, but it is an exquisite visualization of a fabled warrior. The movie is, after all, based on the epic poem written by Blind Harry in the 15th Century. The choice to treat the story romantically rather than realistically is treated as a negative by some, but it is actually a brilliant decision by Gibson and screenwriter Randall Wallace. The romantic approach opens the film up to more emotion, more drama, and more action than a straightforward docu-drama would. Braveheart relishes in the romance of a time and place. The story is massive in scope, and it plays to all those time-tested notes of classic Hollywood adventures. Braveheart is a sentimentalized version of William Wallace, no doubt, but it is also surprisingly authentic. From the muddy village huts and crude stone castles to the close-quarter violence of the battle scenes, Braveheart is a legitimately unvarnished look into the cold, cruel world of Medieval Scotland. This marriage of idealism and realism strikes at the heart of what makes Braveheart so special. It works just as well as a tear-jerker and an action adventure.

One of the standouts in Braveheart are the battle scenes, which Mel Gibson stages with tremendous scale and violence. The action is appropriately chaotic, but the way Gibson and editor Steven Rosenblum cut between the indecipherable mayhem and punctuative killshots gives the battles orientation. The violence is effective. Every brutal blow is wince-inducingly severe. This is not typical Hollywood sword and sandals action, this is real, visceral action, and it carries a purpose. Braveheart brilliantly captures the strategy, as well as the barbarism inherent in Medieval warfare.

Braveheart is a fantastic action epic, but it outclasses those trappings. There have been many historical epics that have come and gone before and after Braveheart, but precious few of them can compete with this film's craftsmanship. What Gibson has achieved here is almost miraculous. He takes what might be groaning clichés in the hands of a lesser director, and injects them with a poignancy that they frankly do not deserve. We get the obligatory love stories, the death scenes, the speeches, the evil kings and the treacherous allies. It's all been done before, but never with such unbridled passion behind the camera. The characters are archetypes, but they show what influence a great director and great actors can have on a character. The supporting cast is so filled with personality, you just cannot help but root for what could have easily become two-dimensional placeholders. James Cosmo's Campbell, Brenden Gleeson's Hamish, and Sophie Marceau's compassionate Princess Isabelle are excellent, and Angus MacFadyen as Robert the Bruce does Oscar-worthy work as a man who's loyalty balances precariously between the English and the Scottish sides of the conflict.

James Horner's music may be the under-appreciated key to Braveheart's success. The mournful bagpipes and spirited Scottish melodies of Horner's score are downright essential for the film's emotional climaxes, of which there are many. When those climaxes hit, they hit hard, and that is thanks in large part to the music. Horner's score carries the same earnest spirit of the rest of the production. The music of Braveheart is precisely as big and bold as the story demands.

Braveheart is a masculine story, a simple-minded tale of heroes and villains executed with brute force. Of course it is an exciting action movie, we might have expected that from the star of Mad Max and Lethal Weapon, but the real discovery in Braveheart is its beauty. For all its violence and primitive mayhem, Braveheart never lets go of its absolutely rousing grandeur. It doesn't just allow you to look on it with appreciation, it demands it. Braveheart is cathartic in the way it overpowers you with emotion. There are shots in this film that nearly brought me to tears by their sheer beauty alone. When the story, the characters, the images (filmed by cinematographer John Toll), and the music crescendo, it hits like a wave of overwhelming gratitude. The admirable thing about Braveheart is how Gibson and company stick to their guns. They don't conceal the drama or play it subtly. Gibson allows the tragedies, the treachery, and the triumphs of the William Wallace legend to be extravagant. The story is sprawling, the romances are passionate, and the emotions are let out with uninhibited fury. Braveheart is a man's movie, a brutal action epic that will satisfy any red-blooded man's desire for violence and carnage. The remarkable thing is that Braveheart is also a movie that moved me like few have before.

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Best movie ever
rutan0713 September 2005
Most on this site pick the Godfather, or the Shawshank Redemption, but this is it, this is the best film ever made. People will complain, will argue that I am wrong, but I will say it again...Braveheart is as close to perfection as a movie can be. The acting is superb, the man who played Lonshanks, the actor who portrayed Robert the Bruce, both should have been nominated for Oscars due to their powerful rendering of evil and a man who is saved from losing his humanity (from becoming evil) by meeting William Wallace. And let us not forget the direction, the cinematography. Braveheart is glorious, beautiful to look at. The slow motion pictures of horses preparing to charge armed combatants, the entire landscape of Scotland that Mel Gibson captures with the camera. Braveheart is artwork, it is as good as any picture. That the film is number 93 on the list of the top 250 movies ever is a shame. Yes there is violence in this film but that violence does serve a point...that freedom isn't free and sometimes it takes death, gruesome and horrible, to let ones people taste what it is like to be free. Braveheart is a great movie and it deserves to at least be in the top ten of IMDb's list of greatest films.
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Simply amazing
high_voltage_4119 November 2005
I remember seeing this movie for the first time in late 2003, and I was impressed. I saw it again last night, and I was even more impressed. The acting is amazing, and the ending was brilliant. For me, all my guesses were incorrect. Everything that happens in this movie in unpredicted. The last half hour itself was highly unpredictable, and it had a powerful message. When a scene was meant to be dramatic, they did a great job at it. I don't know about everybody else, but the ending did make me cry. The message the movie sent kept me thinking for a while. The amount of courage and bravery was inconceivable, there was barely any faults or anything wrong with the movie. For a movie of 1995, they did a great job.

I absolutely guarantee this movie to anybody who enjoys action and war with a bit of drama mixed in. One of the best, or maybe even the best movie of the 20th century.
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For he had only one life to give for Scotland.
riddler_1138-319 November 1999
On my list of the greatest movies of all time, BraveHeart ranks as number 3. It is by far one of the most epic stories ever told. Mel Gibson deserved all the credit he recieved and more. His portrayal of William Wallace, one of Scotlands most mightiest warriors, was spot on. The only part that lacked was the romantic affair of Princess Isabella and Wallace. It historically never happened. This movie also has other historical errors but WHO CARES!

The Battle of Stirling has to be the second most graphic piece of footage ever shot next to Omaha Beach in Saving Private Ryan. I love the part where the English Commander gives the order to charge and Wallace sees this and raises his broadsword into the air and starts yelling. He charges the field with the Scots and I'll let you see the movie to see what happens next.

Wallace's emotional speech at the battle of Stirling still is inspirational and I think that the REAL William Wallace would be proud of the way Mel Gibson portrayed him.

My hat goes off to Mel Gibson. I hope he makes a few more movies like this one.

Out of ten............10/10!
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Je-ne-sais-quoi-ly great!
zwei17 November 2004
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to watch Braveheart till 2003 when it was on TV. However, the lack of theatrical effects never stopped me from being mesmerized by this epic for one moment. So mesmerized, I literally sat motionlessly on the couch for two minutes after the movie. Any normal audience would likely to cast his/her sense of reality away and be captivated by this distant Celtic saga.

Beside proving himself as a brilliant director, Mel Gibson more importantly gave life to a historical hero whose superb gallantry, vivid character and magnificent spirit shall never be history. Along with the unforgettable 'Alba gu bragh!' and the unprecedentedly heart-stopping 'Freeeeedom', Braveheart unquestionably is one of the greatest movies ever made.
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Man vs King
raidbers2 September 2005
This has to be one of the best movies I have ever seen. I recently purchased it and have watched it at least five times since then, and each time i pick up on things I did not see the other times. The fight scenes are great, the plot is both interesting and thought provoking, there is romance and comedy. This is a movie that any person can appreciate at some level.

True, the historical content may have been distorted, but even though, this movie is meant for entertainment. It is not a history lesson caught on video.

The acting is absolutely superb, this movie is guaranteed to have you on the edge of your seat for the entire three hours.
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A flurry of emotions to move you in every direction (at least once)
suiko13 December 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Unfortunately, I have yet to find a film of quite this caliber again. Braveheart contains elements of Romance (several heart- wrenching and warming instances), Epic/Action (spectacular scenes), Mystery (can take a few viewings to put it all together), History (albeit romanticised) and of course Drama (perfectly unravelled). This level of uncompromised multi-tasking allows the film to move you to laugh and cry, love and hate or even to think and be taught. I'm trying to avoid the clichés of glowing reviews (almost as bad as entirely negative ones) - but this is one of the few movies that I feel deserves one.

The witty banter between friends/foes/lovers/relatives is, in my opinion, flawless and aids the film's claim as a true classic. The soundtrack is similarly top-notch and encapsulates and refracts the patriotic theme during several key moments. The political sub-plot and gorgeous scenery also serve as refreshers during otherwise heavy areas of the story. Perhaps Braveheart's only flaw (but if you share my sentiments it's actually a bonus) is its length so you'll want to prepare a comfy seat and maybe even two pots of tea (complete with cosies!).

I suppose it's also relevant to touch on the historic inaccuracies as I expect this is what people might dislike most about this film. However, "History is written by those who have hanged heroes"; also, the overall sketchiness of such periods coupled with the right of artistic license are enough for me to personally dismiss such thoughts. On that note, I hope you also enjoy what, to me, is the greatest film created (so far).
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Up Scotland
KingBrian126 April 2017
Warning: Spoilers
A stunningly beautiful move that has no historical merit at all Mel Gibson has won the adulation of the world and most importantly the Scots. It captures the honour of the Scots. By today's standards the stereotypes are all in there. The prejudicial Irish, the dastardly English King so if your easily offended stay away from this film. But this film is about landscape, tragedy of lost romance and lots and lots of bloody violence. The action and costumes alone is what makes this film incredible. The movie is a giant re-enactment of ancient Anglo- Scottish rivalry. All Gibson did was point the camera at a beautiful countryside and have fun. So it is a truly exciting film.
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One of the best films ever made
delamericano28 February 2007
Warning: Spoilers
In this spectacular, historic movie a young Scotsman becomes the hero of his country, after his wife gets killed by the members of the English occupying force. In the beginning of the movie young William Wallace experience the death of his father and brother. They get killed by the English Kings Soldiers. After this he grows up with his uncle. Years later Wallace (Mel Gibson) returns back to the farm of his father to fall in love Murron (Catherine McCormack), the same girl who gave him a flower after the burial of his father and brother years ago. Because the English noblemen have the right to deflower every new married girl, Wallace marries Murron in secret. But the young luck won't last forlong. A few English soldiers try to rape Murron at a marketplace. Wallace tries to rescue her but the agressors can catch her and kill her right on the marketplace. When Wallace finds out about it, he takes revenge. He executes the murderers of his beloved. This ation is like a wake-up call for his fellow countrymen. They see him as their Leader to defeat the English occupying power. In their first battle the highlanders accomplish to defeat a numeral superior English Force. Wallace becomes an inspiration and more and more Scottish people follow him into war. Meanwhile in England the tyrannic King Edward the Longshankes (Patrick Mc Goohan) takes notice of the triumphs of Wallace. But this is not his only problem: His and heir apparent is a mollycoddled coward, who doesn't behave like his father would like to see it from a Prince. At least Edward the Longshakes arrange the marriage between his son and the lovely Princess Isabelle of France (Sophie Marceau). Besides this the Kings health is not the best anymore. But not only the English have their problems: The Scottish Landlords betray each other for more land and try to get more land for themselves from the English King. During the movie you'll see a lot of great filmed battles, two heart breaking love storys (first between Wallace and Murron, later in the movie young princess Isabelle falls in love with Wallace) and an exciting story about love, hate, patriotism, deception and heroism all in front of a wonderful landscape (the movie was actually set in Ireland). When you watch this movie, you'll be carried away by this powerful and always haunting epic and unterstand why there was no other chance than giving this movie 5 Oscars (including the award for the best film). It is a film who has it all: A great story, perfect filmed battles, one of the best soundtracks ever made (it is a shame, that the score didn't win an Oscar) and a hell of a cast. The role of William Wallace fits Mel Gibson perfect: heroic, romantic but always in a down to earth kind of way. Sophie Marceau and Catherine McCormack are lovely from their first appearance until the end of the film and Patrick McGoohan gives the most despicable (this is meant as a compliment) interpretation of an English King ever seen. This movie you can see over and over again and it never looses his magic and it is a movie you can watch with men and women as well: Men will love the great staged battles and women will love the lovestory.
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A Majestic Film of Scotland
nakais4 December 2004
Warning: Spoilers
This enthralling movie Braveheart takes a viewer's breath away. The invigorating battle scenes, the incredible acting, and the fierce power of love all captivated me when I first saw this movie. James Horner's music is a masterpiece--it adds elegance and dimension to the magnificent film. Mel Gibson's zealous passion as his character William Wallace is truly an inspiration. Scots are very dignified, highly revered people, and this movie really presented Scotland's pride.

Everything in this film was done tastefully. Even the ending, which by the way is heart-wrenching, was done artistically, as Wallace sees his wife during such a traumatizing event. Of course, nothing was better than the rich satisfaction of watching Wallace scream for freedom, freedom and not mercy. This epic film must be watched again and again.
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A motion picture that dares to be excessive...
Nazi_Fighter_David28 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Set in the late 13th century, 'Braveheart' is the story of one of Scotland's greatest national heroes Sir William Wallace. leader of the Scottish resistance forces during the first years of the long, ultimately successful struggle to free Scotland from English rule...

Crucially charismatic in the title role, Gibson plays the heroic figure and emerges as a remarkable hero with wit and romantic soul, determined to rid his country of its English oppressors...

Wallace's revolution was set in motion, with great obstacles from his countrymen... Many Scottish nobles lent him only grudging support as most of them were more concerned with wealth and titles than the freedom of the country... In fact, the Scottish leaders are in favor of revolt-or not-depending on English bribes... Wallace, by comparison, is a man of honor, incorruptible and righteous... He was knighted and proclaimed 'guardian and high protector of Scotland,' but as much as he railed against the Scottish nobles, submitted to Edward I, King of England, he was astonished and in shock to discover the treachery of the leading Scot contender for the throne—Robert, the Earl of Bruce—to whom he confided , 'The people would follow you, if you would only lead them.' Sophie Marceau is exquisite as the distressed princess Isabella of France who ends up falling in love with Wallace, warning him out of several traps...

Catherine McCormack is a stunning beauty who ignites Wallace's revolution...

Patrick McGoohan is chilling, brutal, and vicious as the ruthless Edward I, known by the nickname 'Longshanks.' This king remains simply the embodiment of evil...

While Angus McFadyen moves as a nobleman torn between his conscience and political aspiration, and Brendan Gleeson brings strength and humor to his role as the robust Hamish, David O'Hara is very effective as the crazy Irishman who provides much of the film's comic relief from even the most tensed moments...

Mel Gibson has reason to be proud of 'Braveheart.' It is a motion picture that dares to be excessive... Gibson presents passionately the most spaciously impressive battles (yet staged for films) even excessively, and it is his passion and excess that make the motion picture great... The horror and futility of massed hand-to-hand combats are exciting rather repulsive... It is epic film-making at its glorious best...

Gibson's 'Braveheart' focuses on the human side of Wallace, a character so immense, so intelligent, and so passionate, exploring the definitions of honor and nobility, pushing us to follow the hero into his struggle against injustice and oppression...

There is a great shot of the lovely mountains of Scotland covered in mist with beautiful bagpipe music... James Horner's beautiful score, calls up memories of his work for 'Titanic.'
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One of the best modern movies of time
Smells_Like_Cheese21 April 2002
Warning: Spoilers
I'm talking just in the 90's. The 90's were a great time for the movies, we had so many memorable one's and there is no doubt that "Braveheart" is one of them. "Braveheart" is one of my favorite movies that never gets old. Despite it's long running time, I will watch this movie any day.

Mel Gibson has come so far in the movie business and he not only stars but directed Braveheart. He did a terrific job and deserves a lot of credit for this remarkable film. Despite it not being totally accurate with history, anyone can enjoy "Braveheart". Based on the life story of William Wallace, a town peasant who just wants to live in peace and harmony with a wife and children. But when the British king of England, Longshanks, is sick of Scotland "being full of Scots", he comes up with a way of bringing them more into a British land by "breeding them out". Promising any British soldier to a Scotish bride on her wedding night before her husband can have her. Wallace won't hear of it and marries his love in secret. When a British soldier notices his wife and attempts to rape her, Wallace comes in and saves her causing a riot in their village and he thinks he's got her safe when he sends her away from the soldiers, but they catch her and kill her right in front of her family.

Wallace has had it and wants war for not only the murder of his wife and love, he wants freedom for Scotland and will shed blood to do it. "What will you do without freedom?!", this is one of the most memorable speeches of all cinematic history during their first major battle with the British. Through countless battles, friends, traitors, and bloodshed, all Wallace just wishes for is freedom. As Robert the Bruce says to his father "They look at him and fight by his side." He describes Wallace's bravery and what everyone feels in wanting to be him. I love Robert's last line "You have bled with Wallace! Now bleed with me!" and the army stands and continues their struggling battles for freedom! This is such an inspirational movie with a powerful message "Every man dies, but not every man really lives" to a tearful ending that will make anyone shed a tear to a terrific heartfelt sound track, it's no wonder this won best picture with other Oscars. This is a movie, a terrific one that everyone should enjoy and watch.

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The best movie ever made!!!
jcrap11 March 2005
This is simply the best movie ever made, containing all the elements a perfect movie should, even considering that every person has a right to his/her opinion. The soundtrack is amazing, the scenes are ingenious and the story is simply excellent! This is a story about a Scotsman named William Wallace (Mel Gibson) and his fight for the freedom of the Scottish people, from the oppression of the English ruler-ship. After seeing the death of his wife at the hands of an English nobleman, William Wallace (Mel Gibson) sets out on a quest for vengeance that quickly turns into a crusade for freedom for the entire "country". The extreme violence as well as the human compassion in this movie are overwhelming in its brilliancy.
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Timeless favorite
cgarman319 February 2007
OK, so it was not 100% accurate in content or historical detail but that aside, it was one of the greatest films that has yet to be truly matched. The cast performed very well as this well written tale was told. Even though it is over 10 years old now, it still holds a place in my heart as one of the best. The accuracy of the battle scenes are only eclipsed by the expressions of the actors faces as they share this story. Stephen the Irishman steals the show with his plucky comic relief. Hamish the sidekick does a great job playing against the over the top performance of Mel Gibson. The predominantly European cast does a great job of not needing to fake accents and mannerisms. I have watched this film several times and every time I see something more special.
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Brutal, But Epic Masterpiece
ccthemovieman-125 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This is an emotional, involving and ultimately draining film. By the time you are done, you are spent.

What makes this movie so intense is the passion of the main character: Scottish rebel leader William Wallace, played by Mel Gibson, who put his heart and soul into this performance. Add to that a powerful story, great cinematography, excellent action scenes and even some humor....and you have a classic film.

Patrick McGoohan shines as the evil English king and Sophie Marceau, Agnus McFadyen and Catherine McCormack all contribute. I'm sorry the latter had such a short role as her beauty captivated me very much. All the characters in Wallace's "army" are fun to watch, too.

For those a bit queasy with bloody violence, this is not a movie for you. There are lots of gory action scenes that includes limbs being hacked off. This is not a film for the feint of heart. The only objection I have to the violence is the ending. Seeing a man tortured is not my idea of entertainment. I now fast-forward through that part but otherwise thoroughly enjoy the rest of the three-hour film, an "epic" adventure, if there ever was one.

The most memorable scene in the film, for me, was not any of the action scenes but just the absolutely stunned look on Gibson's face when he discovers his trusted ally was anything but that. To discover that the key people in the country that you are fighting for are not backing you must have been indescribably crushing to, although since this is the movies I don't know how accurate this was to the real story. Whatever the accuracy, it's a great film and belongs in anyone's collection of epic-adventure masterpieces.

The Blu-Ray transfer, by the way, is spectacular.
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Deserving the Oscars
lyesilpinar2 July 2006
The Best film I have ever seen. And the most successful one which has stayed in Turkish cinemas 2 years in a row. Having watched this movie more than 200 times, I am declaring it as my whole life's movie. Special side characters, as Steven, Hemich and most of the rest remind me of a huge history "wirtten by those who have hung heroes".

When dying in your beds, many years from now; Would you be willing to trade, all the days -from this day to that-, for one chance -just one chance- to watch this film and tell everybody we know, that they can watch lots of movies but they will never watch any Braveheart quality movie again..
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superbly acted and directed
BradFan-28 November 1999
Warning: Spoilers
If you are a Mel Gibson fan of any sorts this movie is a must see. A wonderful directing job, supported by a wonderful cast. Men will appreciate the attitude depicted by Mel Gibson towards his love and his country along with the added violence. Women will swoon and pine for the hopeless romantic they will find in Mel as he avenges the death of his wife and fights for the freedom of his fellow countrymen. This movie gave me a whole new respect for Mel as a director and actor. In my opinion it is the best movie Mel has made to date.
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Medieval superman takes on evil empire in revisionist epic
pwfinch13 February 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Shockingly one-sided portrayal of real, tragic events that left thousands of innocents dead on both sides of the Anglo-Scottish border.

Previous historical epics have dealt very maturely with the subjects of conquest, rebellion, repression, etc - 'Spartacus' being one good example, 'El Cid' another – so for that reason alone, this self-indulgent, schoolboy fantasy rates as a big disappointment.

Basically, Mel Gibson throws the history book away, and makes Scottish knight William Wallace into a Geronimo-like hero, constantly on the run, constantly outwitting (and brutally slaughtering) his cruel, pompous, haughty, tyrannical, cowardly, ignorant, 'pagan' (!) enemies. Rarely is it mentioned that the real guy killed anyone who understood the English tongue, and often skinned and burned alive his prisoners – many of whom were taken during Scottish raids into England (yes, it happened both ways, though this film would have you think differently).

Does it work? Sure it works, on a very simple level. The scenery is lovely, the battles are probably the most convincingly filmed to date (though if you look closely, you'll see that they mainly consist of brawny Scotsmen bloodily butchering screaming, squawking Englishmen). But it does work. It's pacey enough, it's entertaining and it has as raw, gutsy feel.

If, however, you're like me, and you prefer at least a little bit of historical accuracy, then it's a dog's breakfast. To begin with, the armies Wallace led are portrayed in the movie as poorly-armed highlanders, whereas in reality they were lowlanders, easily as well equipped as the English armies they fought. The battle of Stirling Bridge was decided by the collapse of the bridge under the weight of the English cavalry, most of whom then drowned in their armour. The Scots did wreak some butchery, but mainly on the small infantry vanguard who'd got to the other side – the English 'heavy horse' were never involved. At Falkirk, the Irish didn't side with their fellow Celts (they despised the Scots), and though the battle was indeed won by the English because the Scottish nobility fled the field, Wallace also fled – how else did he survive? The characterisation is extraordinarily weak. Gibson himself, though his performance strikes a convincingly muscular, patriotic note, speaks in modern Glaswegian and sports blue woad and Celtic plaits that predate the Dark Ages never mind the Middle Ages. Sophie Marceau's beautiful French princess is totally one-dimensional as an abused innocent (in truth she was a scheming harpy, who later connived in the savage murder of her own husband and then an attempted coup). Patrick McGoohan (who steals the show for me – at least he gives his character some charisma), concentrates mainly on the stern, unyielding side of Edward Longshanks – we don't learn that he founded Parliament, or revised countless laws for the benefit of the underclass, etc.

It's a big missed opportunity. The same story could still have been told, painting Wallace as a hero, depicting Scotland as an oppressed society, but a bit of balance and political back-story would have made it much more interesting and, dare I say it, more adult.

It sill works, but only the way a pre-1960s cavalry vs Indians western works: as a bit of rousing fun, anachronistic in a more educated age.
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Wallace's courage is inspiring
Jakethemuss27 November 2005
This epic tale of patriotism, love and conflict opens with a birds eye view which takes you through mist and air out onto an open loch with scenic mountains in the background. This is accompanied by stirring bagpipe music, and shortly by the start of a narrative by Robert the Bruce.

After a short introduction of a young William Wallace, involving his fathers death and his first step into warrior-hood, we are taken to present day England where Edward Longshank's tight rule over Scotland is getting increasingly harsh. Enter a fully grown Wallace (a rugged long-haired Gibson) who is back to start a family and a new life. He soon meets Muran, a girl who he remembered from way back. He and Muran fall in love and shortly get a private nighttime marriage, as a public one would result in the 'Prima Nocte' rule being enforced.

Unfortunately, one of the English soldiers controlling their village confronts a scared Muran and forces her into a quiet spot. William leaps to Muran's rescue and all hell ensues. The commanding officer executes Muran promptly for assault on one of the King's men as she bit him whilst defending herself. She was supposed to meet William at a secret spot after she was rescued but was knocked off the horse.

William returns to the village on horseback to give himself in, but he has other plans. The uprising that ensues is one of the most pulse racing and exciting fights that has ever graced the silver screen IMO. This is the spark that starts off the Scottish revolution for freedom. Soon, other clans join Wallace, then whole towns stand by him. He soon finds himself on the fields of Stirling for a real showdown. I thought I'd give you the first hour in a nutshell, the rest of the movie revolves around Wallace, Longshanks and the Queen of France as they all fight for their own cause.

The battle scenes are ground breaking and upfront, the senses of comradeship, love, patriotism and courage all take a stand throughout the film. The music adds further to the epic, be it sad and haunting tunes, or strong and stirring bagpipe anthems. Wallace is portrayed as a beacon of strength and power, not to mention a much honoured leader. Sometimes Gibson takes his character a little too far, but the title Braveheart is one that is implied to Wallace's qualities. The films dramatic and moving ending is a good finish to a superb and powerful film.
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Plan 9 From Outer Space as alleged history
DaveFilmlover6 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
The biggest heap of dog dung ever to be unleashed on the cinema going public. Absolutely no redeeming features other than the soundtrack. Crap story which bears no relationship to historical fact, acting and direction woefully poor and the accents are a joke (save for James Cosmos-a genuine Scot, so he should have been expected to get it right) Battle scenes are straight out of Monty Python. With legs getting chopped off and the victim toppling over, you half expect one of them to get back up and say "Come back and fight you coward" like the Black Knight in "Monty Pythons Holy Grail" A totally one sided perverted, twisted version of history. Presumably made to pander to the sort of Scottish football fan yobbo who hates everything English and blames all the worlds ills on those south of Hadrians Wall. One thing I would agree, at the end when "wee Jimmy Cranky" (Gibson) screams "Freedom" I felt the same way, at last it had finished and I could get out. This should have been a great film given the true facts of events at the time. Suggestion to Mel Gibson, next time don't let your prejudices rule your head and read a history book!!
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Awful, AWFUL Film
freemantle_uk29 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I hate Braveheart! As an Englishman and as a history student I am insulted by this film. It is obvious that Mel Gibson has a hatred for England and Britain as whole and Randell Wallace only looked at a basic history of the Scotland war and I mean really basic!

The film is about William Wallace's rising against the English in the late 13th Century. They are many historical inaccuracies in the film. I can understand minor things just to make the story flow better but Braveheart takes the biscuit. William Wallace was a minor noble and he wouldn't have lived in a shack, and most of the Scottish nobles in the film also were living in poor conditions which was not the case. Scottish nobles were well-off and wouldn't have been must different to English nobles. Many Scottish nobles tended to own land in England as well as Scotland. The film make out that England had invaded and occupied Scotland for a long time, what really happened was Edward I wasn't too interested in Scottish affairs at first and he was later invited to help the Scottish to solve the crisis in picking a new king. However, Edward I became upset when his ally he made king tried to flex his muscles. Braveheart also makes out the Scottish army ran around painted themselves blue and defeated a superior army with ease. The Scottish army in the late 13th century wouldn't have been much different to any army in Western Europe and would have been as well armed and armoured to as the English army. The only different between the English and Scottish armies were the Scottish army was more infantry based whilst the English army was more calvary based. I personally think this film is pretty insulting to Scotland as well as England! William Wallace would not have fought for revenge or freedom but for his own personal interest, believing he would have got a better deal any an independent Scotland then under semi-English rule. They was no idea of nationalism or the nation-state in the medieval period. As well as already mentioned many Scottish nobles had land in England and many had English names like Campbell. The film also ignores that William Wallace was also a brutal man, not some heroic revolutionary. They are other things such as the Battle for Stirling Bridge was not fought at a bridge and that it was implied that Queen Isabel was in love with Wallace and that he fathered Edward III, which couldn't have been possible because at the time Wallace's death Isabel was six-years-old and lived in France. Some people have praised the acting in the film, I ask why? I don't think its anything special. Mel Gibson's performance wasn't particularly good, and only Sophie Marceau stood out to me. Edward I was a one-dimensional villain, showing he takes joy out of violence and death, in real-life he was an experience commander, but he was no different to any other Christain king at the time. William Wallace was a simple man who was driven to going to war, against this did not happen. Prince Edward was effeminate, weakly wimp: he was bisexual and not a good military commander, but he was not weak willed and he couldn't have lasted in medieval society if he was effeminate. He was also famous be being a fit man. The portrayal of Prince Edward was homophobic.

This was a hate-filled movie that shouldn't have been made. If it was made as a fictional film set in an made-up country it would have called unrealistic. This was a weak film and should not have won Oscars for best Director or best Film, the Usual Suspect was hundred times better and should have won those Oscars. The only good thing to come out of the film was some good action and the costumes of the English army. But this is not enough to save this film and people have seen Mel Gibson and Randall Wallace for what they really are for making films such as the Passion of the Christ, Apocalypto and Pearl Harbor. If you have any taste at all don't watch this film!
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Epic recreation about a notorious Scottish hero who purposes to free his country from the tyranny of Edward I
ma-cortes7 February 2015
In 14th Century Scotland, when his secret bride is executed for assaulting an English soldier who tried to rape her, William Wallace begins a revolt and leads Scottish warriors against the cruel English tyrant , the nasty ruler Edward I (Patrick McGoohan)the Longshanks (as he was called "The Longshanks" -long legs- since he was uncommonly tall for a man of the time , Edward I was at least 6 feet, 2 inches) who wishes to inherit the crown of Scotland for himself , ruling Scotland with an iron fist and succeeded his effeminate homosexual son Edward II Prince Edward (he was indeed the first English prince to carry the title Prince of Wales, although he did not marry Princess Isabella until 1308, after both Wallace (1305) and Edward I (1307) had died) . As William Wallace begins his long quest to make Scotland free once and for all, along with the assistance of Robert the Bruce. There took place several battles such as Stirling , York (though the sacking of York was invented for the movie ,Wallace never got as far south as York during his invasion of northern England) and the famous Battle of Falkirk (July 22, 1298), in which the English army was personally led by King Edward I, who decisively defeated the Scots , the real-life King Edward I was a military genius who learned combat tactics while fighting the Mamelukes during the Eighth and Ninth Crusades . There also appears Robert the Bruce , though many Scots were offended by the film's portrayal of Robert the Bruce (Angus McFayden) , who is considered a National Hero of Scotland .

This epic movie contains thrills , emotion ,romance , breathtaking battles and being based on historical events . However , some reviewers often cited as the least accurate historical epic of all time and more than 90% of the movie is fiction. This is the classic story about confrontation between good guys , the Scots , versus bad guys , the Sassenachs . A simplistic and pure tale with rude stereotypes and offering a stew of Hollywood clichés , being overlong but well played and directed by Mel Gibson . Interesting script by Randall Wallace , this screen-writer had been visiting Edinburgh in 1983 to learn about his heritage when he came across a statue of William Wallace outside Edinburgh Castle; he had never heard of the 14th-century figure who shared his name but was intrigued enough by the stories told to him about "Scotland's greatest hero" to research the story as much as possible. The film was heavily fictitious but Gibson claimed the changes had been made for dramatic purposes , he also admitted he had always felt he was at least a decade too old to play Wallace. Impressive production design , including thousands of extras , a majority of the actors and extras in this film were actually Irish - members of the Irish Army - although they are supposed to be Scottish or English, as many as 1600 were used on a given day. The film is very crude and brutal , including bloody battles , strong tortures with disembowelment provoking brave grimace and violent scenes as when Edward I threw his son's lover out of a castle window was particularly criticized for inciting homophobia , the lover was based on Piers Gaveston, who was allegedly Edward II's lover. Colorful and glamorous cinematography by John Toll , showing marvelous outdoors , including glamorous opening shots , snowy peaks , silvery lochs , dark mists and many other things . Evocative and sensitive musical score by James Horner ; despite the film being set in Scotland, and based on the life of a Scottish folk hero, the primary instrument heard throughout the soundtrack -most notably at William's father's funeral- are the Uilleann pipes, which are a smaller traditionally Irish version of bagpipes rather than the ubiquitous Great Highland Bagpipe.

This motion picture was very well directed by Mel Gibson and he picked up two Oscars for Best Film and Best Director ; though this film has been accused of promoting Anglophobia. Mel said that was influenced by various classic and historical flicks , among the films Gibson watched in order to prepare to direct "Braveheart" were Polanski's "Macbeth," "Spartacus," "Chimes at Midnight," "Alexander Nevsky," "A Man for All Seasons," "The Lion in Winter," "Seven Samurai," and "Throne of Blood" . Rating : Better than average. Worthwhile watching . The picture will appeal to Mel Gibson fans .
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Bad History, Bad Drama.
Tanya-Valeria12 May 2006
Mel Gibson really does seem to have a downer on the English doesn't he? But my dislike of this film is certainly not based on some misplaced jingoistic pride.

I'm quite a history fan and I don't mind at all when the sins of the father are hung out to dry. But I do insist on credible - don't insult my intelligence with a pantomime villain and romanticised plot developments. William Wallace was the father of Edward III? Give me a break, Edward II having other um, 'interests' doesn't mean he couldn't father a child, or that his wife is likely to sleep with Scottish outlaws.

As for Edward, the ruthless, brilliant strategist and general; getting his archers to fire on his own forces in a mêlée - yes that must be how he was so successful a military commander. Confidence and loyalty-inspiring stuff.

The only difference between this and the Alan Ladd Knight of Olde fifties Hollywood crap is that you saw people's arms being chopped off. Yes, the violence is more realistic. That's it.

I prefer my corn on the cob, not the screen.
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Simplistic but superlative action film (spoilers)
alainenglish26 April 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Those who lambast Mel Gibson for his supposedly anti-Jewish sentiments in his recent production "The Passion of the Christ" would do well to remember his anti-English, and indeed anti-gay, portrayals in this otherwise superlative action film. Gibson's epic, bloody romance was never meant to be a factual account of Scottish legend William Wallace, but has stimulated more interest in the real thing than a mere documentary ever could.

Set in Britain in the 13th Century the plot, based largely on myth about the Scottish renegade, sees a young William Wallace (James Robinson) witness the brutal murder of his father (Sean Lawlor) at the hands of English occupiers. He is taken under the wing of his wise Uncle Argyle (Brian Cox) and grows up under his guardianship. Wallace (now played by Mel Gibson) returns home an educated man, falls in love with a beautiful local girl Murron (Catherine MacCormack) and marries her. However, when English soldiers rape and murder his wife, Wallace mounts a rebellion, bringing him into conflict with both the English King Edward Longshanks (Patrick MacGoohan) and duplicitious Scottish nobles, led by Robert the Bruce (Angus MacFayden)...

The film makes no effort whatsoever in regards to historical accuracy, and the the characters come off (with variable success) as simplistic stereotypes. There is nothing wrong with most of this, but some stereotypes could have been avoided, in particular the portrayal of King Edward's son as a snivelling homosexual fop. By necessity the English are the villains, with the Scots either passionate warriors or double-dealing nobles. Whilst the anti-English sentiment is a touch overdone (a character exclaims "Excellent!" when he's told he'll get to kill the English), it doesn't seriously harm the film.

Gibson has thankfully not Americanised his tale by asking American actors to assume fake Scottish brogues. With the exception of Gibson himself, almost everyone's accent here is natural and the film is better for it. Gibson delivers his all as Wallace, managing a passable Scottish accent. His Wallace is a Scottish Mad Max, only savvier, more sentimental and with a powerful patriotic streak. The character, though, lacks the ambiguity to make him a realistic personality. The film sees nothing questionable in Wallace invading England, effectively lowering himself to the level of his former oppressors.

As for the supporting players, Patrick MacGoohan quietly evinces menace as the ruthless King, and Sophie Marceau makes the most of her limited role as the Princess of Wales. Angus McFayden gives a sympathetic portrayal of a torn Robert the Bruce, and Brendan Gleeson and David O'Hara provide solid backup as Wallace's trustiest allies.

The battle scenes in the film are frenetically staged, with lots of quick editing plus copious amounts of blood and gore. They are well put together, but the endless slicing, dicing and skewering becomes repetitive after a while. Woven into the tale is a gentle Celtic score by James Horner.

Whilst it has stirred interest in Scottish interest and heritage (including the life of the real William Wallace), taken on its own terms, "Braveheart" is an enjoyable action film and should not be taken any more seriously than that.
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Historically inaccurate and overrated
AndrewKnevett13 November 2005
Braveheart has to rank as one of the most overrated movies in the history of cinema. Yes it is visually stunning and the battle sequences are extremely well done, but it is historically inaccurate and portrays the English in such a bad light that the film has been used by the Scottish National Party to whip up support. This distortion of history is, sadly, all too common in Hollywood film making.

If and when the United Kingdom breaks up then Mel Gibson can smugly boast to have played a part in its downfall. The fact Braveheart won 5 Oscars awards also shows how politicised the ceremony is.

Rated 1 / 10
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