Braveheart (1995)

Mel Gibson’s muscular, multi Oscar-winning epic sees 13th-century Scots rebel William Wallace lead a war of independence from English colonial rule.

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Film details

Alternative titles

  • Braveheart Original
  • Brave Heart Alternative

Cast & Credits

Introduction

“Gibson marshals his armies of extras, his stunt men and his special effects, and creates a fictional world that is entertaining, and thrilling.”
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, 1995

This medieval epic marked a personal triumph for Mel Gibson, producing, directing and starring as commoner William Wallace, who inspires and leads an army of his fellow Scots against the tyrannical rule of the English king Edward Longshanks (Patrick McGoohan). With its stunning battle scenes (shot mostly in Ireland rather than Scotland) and liberties with history, it’s a throwback to the lavish period spectacles of the Hollywood studios of the 1950s, although much more violent and brutal than anything permitted then.

Portraying Wallace’s fight against the English – who are generally depicted as mendacious or effete villains – the movie became a rallying point for many Scottish nationalists on its release, and its profile was further raised following the movie’s 1995 Academy Award wins for Best Picture and Best Director.

Gibson’s yen for gruesome period violence was pushed even further in his next two directorial efforts, The Passion of the Christ (2004) and his Mayan human-sacrifice epic Apocalypto (2006).

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