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Braveheart, 1995

Braveheart, 1995

Braveheart is a 1995 American epic[4] historical drama film directed and co-produced by Mel Gibson, who portrays Sir William Wallace, a late-13th-century Scottish warrior.

Braveheart is a 1995 American epic[4] historical drama film directed and co-produced by Mel Gibson, who portrays Sir William Wallace, a late-13th-century Scottish warrior. The film depicts the life of Wallace leading the Scots in the First War of Scottish Independence against King Edward I of England. The film also stars Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan and Catherine McCormack. The story is inspired by Blind Harry's 15th century epic poem The Actes and Deidis of the Illustre and Vallyeant Campioun Schir William Wallace and was adapted for the screen by Randall Wallace.

Development on the film initially started at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer when producer Alan Ladd Jr. picked up the project from Wallace, but when MGM was going through new management, Ladd left the studio and took the project with him. Despite initially declining, Gibson eventually decided to direct the film, as well as star as Wallace. Braveheart was filmed in Scotland and Ireland from June to October 1994 with a budget around $65–70 million.[5] The film, which was produced by Gibson's Icon Productions and The Ladd Company, was distributed by Paramount Pictures in North America and by 20th Century Fox internationally.

Released on May 24, 1995, Braveheart was both critically and commercially successful, but got criticized for its numerous historical deviations.[6][7] The film grossed $75.6 million in the US and grossed $210.4 million worldwide, and received numerous awards. A spin-off sequel, Robert the Bruce, was released in 2019, with Angus Macfadyen reprising his role.

Plot

In 1280, King Edward "Longshanks" invades and conquers Scotland following the death of Alexander III of Scotland, who left no heir to the throne. Young William Wallace witnesses Longshanks' execution of several Scottish nobles, suffers the deaths of his father and brother fighting against the English, and is taken abroad on a pilgrimage throughout Europe by his paternal uncle Argyle, who has Wallace educated.

Years later, Longshanks grants his noblemen land and privileges in Scotland, including jus primae noctis. Meanwhile, a grown Wallace returns to Scotland and falls in love with his childhood friend Murron MacClannough, and the two marry in secret. Wallace rescues Murron from being raped by English soldiers, but as Wallace fights off the soldiers Murron is captured and publicly executed. In retribution, Wallace leads his clan to fight the English garrison in his hometown and sends the surviving garrison back to England with a message of rebellion for Longshanks.

Longshanks orders his son Prince Edward to stop Wallace by any means necessary while he visits the French King to secure England's alliance with France. Alongside his friend Hamish, Wallace rebels against the English, and as his legend spreads, hundreds of Scots from the surrounding clans join him. Wallace leads his army to victory at the Battle of Stirling Bridge where he decapitates the English commander Cheltham. Prince Edward fails to send reinforcements to York, enabling Wallace to sack the city, killing Longshanks' nephew whose severed head is sent to the king. Wallace seeks the assistance of Robert the Bruce, the son of nobleman Robert the Elder, a contender for the Scottish crown. Robert is dominated by his leper father, who wishes to secure the Scottish throne for his son by submitting to the English. Worried by the threat of the rebellion, Longshanks sends his son's wife Isabella of France to try to negotiate with Wallace as a distraction for the landing of another invasion force in Scotland.

After meeting him in person, Isabella becomes enamored of Wallace. She warns him of the coming invasion, and Wallace implores the Scottish nobility to take immediate action to counter the threat and take back their country, asking Robert the Bruce to lead. Leading the English army himself, Longshanks confronts the Scots at Falkirk. During the battle, Scottish noblemen Mornay and Lochlan, having been bribed by Longshanks, withdraw their men, resulting in Wallace's army being routed and the death of Hamish's father, Campbell. Wallace is further betrayed when he discovers Robert the Bruce was fighting alongside Longshanks; after the battle, seeing the damage he helped do to his countrymen, Robert reprimands his father and vows never to be on the wrong side again.

Wallace kills Lochlan and Mornay for their betrayal, and wages a guerrilla war against the English assisted by Isabella, with whom he eventually has an affair. Robert sets up a meeting with Wallace in Edinburgh, but Robert's father conspires with other nobles to capture and hand over Wallace to the English. Learning of his treachery, Robert disowns and banishes his father. Isabella exacts revenge on the now terminally ill Longshanks, who can no longer speak, by telling him that his bloodline will be destroyed upon his death as she is pregnant with Wallace's child and will ensure that Prince Edward spends as short a time as possible on the throne before Wallace's child replaces him.

In London, Wallace is brought before an English magistrate, tried for high treason, and condemned to public torture and beheading. Even whilst being hanged, drawn and quartered, Wallace refuses to submit to the king. The watching crowd, deeply moved by the Scotsman's valor, begin crying for mercy on Wallace's behalf. The magistrate offers him one final chance, asking him only to utter the word, "Mercy", and be granted a quick death. Wallace instead shouts, "Freedom!", and his cry rings through the square, the dying Longshanks hearing it. Before being beheaded, Wallace sees a vision of Murron in the crowd, smiling at him.

In 1314, Robert, now Scotland's king, leads a Scottish army before a ceremonial line of English troops on the fields of Bannockburn, where he is supposed to formally accept English rule. Instead, he invokes Wallace's memory, imploring his men to fight with him as they did with Wallace. Hamish throws Wallace's sword point-down in front of the English army, and he and the Scots chant Wallace's name as Robert leads them into battle against the English, winning the Scots their freedom.

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