BraveHeart Review

BY ROGER EBERT / May 24, 1995

Mel Gibson's "Braveheart" is a fullthroated, red-blooded battle epic about William Wallace, the legendary Scots warrior who led his nation into battle against the English in the years around 1300. It's an ambitious film, big on simple emotions like love, patriotism and treachery, and avoids the travelogue style of so many historical swashbucklers: Its locations look green, wet, vast, muddy and rugged.

Not much is known about Wallace, known as Braveheart, except that according to an old epic poem, he unified the clans of Scotland and won famous battles against the English before being captured, tortured and executed as a traitor.

Wallace's dying cry, as his body was stretched on the rack, was "freedom!" That isn't exactly based on fact (the concept of personal freedom was a concept not much celebrated in 1300), but it doesn't stop Gibson from making it his dying cry. It fits in with the whole glorious sweep of "Braveheart," which is an action epic with the spirit of the Hollywood swordplay classics and the grungy ferocity of "The Road Warrior." What people are going to remember from the film are the battle scenes, which are frequent, bloody and violent. Just from a technical point of view, "Braveheart" does a brilliant job of massing men and horses for large-scale warfare on film. Gibson deploys what look like thousands of men on horseback, as well as foot soldiers, archers and dirty tricks specialists, and yet his battle sequences don't turn into confusing crowd scenes: We understand the strategy, and we enjoy the tactics even while we're doubting some of them (did 14th century Scots really set battlefields aflame?).

Gibson is not filming history here, but myth. William Wallace may have been a real person, but "Braveheart" owes more to Prince Valiant, Rob Roy and Mad Max. Once we understand that this is not a solemn historical reconstruction (and that happens pretty fast), we accept dialogue that might otherwise have an uncannily modern tone, as when Braveheart issues his victory ultimatum to the English: "Scotland's terms are that your commander present himself in front of our army, put his head between his legs and kiss his - - -." Uh, huh.

In the film, Wallace's chief antagonist is King Edward I ("Longshanks"), played by Patrick McGoohan with sly cunning; he is constantly giving his realpolitik interpretation of events, and that's all the more amusing since he's usually guessing wrong.

Edward's son, the Prince of Wales (Peter Hanly), is an effete fop who marries a French woman only for political reasons. "I may have to conceive the child myself!" Longshanks says, and indeed, under the medieval concept of prima nocte, or "first night," nobles were allowed a first chance to sleep with the wives of their lessers.

The Princess, played by the French actress Sophie Marceau, does not much admire her husband, who spends most of his time hanging about moon-eyed with his best friend (until the king, in a fit of impatience, hurls the friend out the castle window).

Edward, smarting from defeats, dispatches the Princess to offer his terms to Braveheart, but soon she's spilling all the state secrets, "because of the way you look at me." The Princess is the second love in Wallace's life; the first, his childhood sweetheart Murron (Catherine McCormack), marries him in secret (so the local English lord won't claim his rights). The two spend their wedding night outdoors, and the backlit shot as they embrace gains something, I think, from the frost on their breaths.

These characters come from hardened stock. (When Wallace has a reunion with his childhood pal Hamish, they hurl rocks at each other for entertainment; later, when a Scotsman has his wound cauterized, all he says is, "That'll wake you up in the morning, boy!") It is sometimes seen as an egotistical gesture when actors direct themselves, especially in heroic epics costing (so they say) $53 million. The truth is, given this material, I do not know that anyone could have directed it better. Gibson marshals his armies of extras, his stunt men and his special effects, and creates a fictional world that is entertaining, and thrilling.

And as Braveheart, Gibson plays his role with flamboyance, and cuts it with sly humor. He is an amazing battlefield strategist, inventing new strategies and weapons, outsmarting the English at every turn, leading his men into battle with his face painted blue, like a football fan. There is a scene where he is so pumped up with the scent of battle that his nostrils flare; not many actors could get away with that, but Gibson can.

Credit goes to

BraveHeart Freedom Scene

One of the best scene ever made in the history of hollywood. William Wallace refuses to honor the king and ask for mercy. He cries out freedom in the midst of agonizing pain and is then beheaded.

BraveHeart Poster

These are the BraveHeart Posters that where made for the movie.

Poster 1
braveheart poster

Poster 2
poster braveheart

Poster 3

free braveheart poster

Poster 4

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BraveHeart Speech

Here is the BraveHeart Speech given by William Wallace.

BraveHeart Music

Here is the BraveHeart Soundtrack, main theme. I love this theme, very well composed, one of my favorites.

Purchase BraveHeart Soundtrack

BraveHeart Quotes

Memorable quotes for Braveheart

Young William: What are they doin'?
Argyle Wallace: Saying goodbye in their own way. Playing outlawed tunes on outlawed pipes.

Robert's Father: At last, you know what it means to hate. Now you're ready to be a king.
Robert the Bruce: My hate will die with you.

Princess Isabelle: The king desires peace.
William Wallace: Longshanks desires peace?
Princess Isabelle: He declares it to me, I swear it. He proposes that you withdraw your attack. In return he grants you title, estates, and this chest of gold which I am to pay to you personally.
William Wallace: A lordship and titles. Gold. That I should become Judas?
Princess Isabelle: Peace is made in such ways.
William Wallace: Slaves are made in such ways. The last time Longshanks spoke of peace I was a boy. And many Scottish nobles, who would not be slaves, were lured by him under a flag of truce to a barn, where he had them hanged. I was very young, but I remember Longshanks' notion of peace.

Robert the Bruce
: Lands, titles, men, power, nothing.
Robert's Father: Nothing?
Robert the Bruce: I have nothing. Men fight for me because if they do not, I throw them off my land and I starve their wives and their children. Those men who bled the ground red at Falkirk, they fought for William Wallace, and he fights for something that I never had. And I took it from him, when I betrayed him. I saw it in his face on the battlefield and it's tearing me apart.
Robert's Father: All men betray. All lose heart.
Robert the Bruce: I don't wanna lose heart. I wanna believe as he does.

William Wallace
: It's all for nothing if you don't have freedom.
William Wallace: Are you ready for a war?

Young William: I can fight.
Malcolm Wallace: I know. I know you can fight. But it's our wits that make us men.

Hamish: Personal escort of the princess.
William Wallace: Aye.
Hamish: Musta made an impression.
William Wallace: Aye.
Hamish: I didn't think you were in the tent that long.

Robert the Bruce: [Robert the Bruce is visiting his leper father] Father?
Robert's Father: Ah, come in. Come in.
Robert the Bruce: A rebellion has begun.
Robert's Father: [pause] Under whom?
Robert the Bruce: A commoner... named William Wallace.
Robert's Father: [another pause] You will embrace this rebellion. Support it from our lands in the north. I will gain English favor by condemning it and ordering opposed from our lands in the south. Sit down. Stay awhile.
Robert the Bruce: This Wallace... he doesn't even have a knighthood. But he *fights*, with *passion*, and he *inspires*.
Robert's Father: [laughing] And you wish to charge off and fight as he did, eh?
[Robert nods slightly]
Robert's Father: So would I, eh?
[he laughs again]
Robert the Bruce: Well, maybe it's time.
Robert's Father: [the elder man stops laughing] It is time... to *survive*. You're the seventeenth Robert Bruce. The sixteen before you passed you land and title because they *didn't* charge in. Call a meeting of the nobles.
Robert the Bruce: But, they do nothing but talk.
Robert's Father: Rightly so. They're as rich in English titles and lands as they are in Scottish, just as we are. You admire this man, this William Wallace. Uncompromising men are easy to admire. He has courage; so does a dog. But it is exactly the ability to *compromise* that makes a man noble. And understand this: Edward Longshanks is the most ruthless king ever to sit on the throne of England. And none of us, and nothing of Scotland will remain, unless *we* are as ruthless. Give ear to our nobles. Knowing their minds is the key to the throne.

William Wallace: There's a difference between us. You think the people of this country exist to provide you with position. I think your position exists to provide those people with freedom. And I go to make sure that they have it.

Longshanks: Not the archers. My scouts tell me their archers are miles away and no threat to us. Arrows cost money. Use up the Irish. The dead cost nothing.

Murron: You're going to teach me to read, then?
William Wallace: Aye, if you'd like.
Murron: Aye!
William Wallace: In what language?
Murron: Ah, you're showing off now.
William Wallace: That's right. Are you impressed yet?
Murron: No. Why? Should I be?
William Wallace: Oui. Parce que chaque jour j'ai pensé à toi.
[Yes. Because every single day I thought about you]
Murron: [hesitates, impressed despite herself, then smiles] Do that standing on your head and I'll be impressed.
William Wallace: Well, my kilt will fly up, but I'll try.

Stephen: The Almighty says this must be a fashionable fight. It's drawn the finest people.

William Wallace: Lower your flags and march straight back to England, stopping at every home you pass by to beg forgiveness for a hundred years of theft, rape, and murder. Do that and your men shall live. Do it not, and every one of you will die today.

Robert the Bruce: You have bled with Wallace, now bleed with me.

Princess Isabelle: I understand you have suffered. I know... about your woman.
William Wallace: [pauses] She was my wife. We married in secret because I would not share her with an English lord. They killed her to get to me. I've never spoken of it, I don't know why I tell you now, except... I see her strength in you. One day, you'll be a queen. And you must open your eyes. You tell your king that William Wallace will *not* be ruled... and nor will any Scot while I live.

Princess Isabelle: The king will be dead in a month and his son is a weakling. Who do you think will rule this kingdom?

William Wallace
: I came back home to raise crops, and God willing, a family. If I can live in peace, I will.

William Wallace: [to Mother MacClannough, who says he's out of his mind to ride in the rain] Oh, it's good Scottish weather, madam. The rain is falling straight down. Well, slightly to the side like

William Wallace: Why do you help me?
Princess Isabelle: Because of the way you are looking at me now.

BraveHeart Trailer

Here is the Official Trailer for the BraveHeart Movie.

BraveHeart Sword

This is a pic of the sword used by William Wallace. You can purchase the sword online from

braveheart sword