Mel Gibson’s Mel Gibson-starring historical film Braveheart dominated the 1995 Academy Awards. The movie, which won Best Picture, Best Director, and three other Oscars, was praised for its epic-scaled conflicts and the heroism of William Wallace, its main character. In the late 13th-century Scottish setting of Braveheart, Wallace commands the First War of Scottish Independence against King Edward I of England.
He sparks a rebellion among the Scottish clans, which unites them in resistance to the invading forces. Wallace, whose reputation is growing, battles valiantly to defend his house and even gives his life in the process. Along with Brian Cox as Wallace’s uncle Argyle, Patrick McGoohan plays King Edward I, popularly known as Longshanks.
Angus Macfadyen plays Robert the Bruce, and Sophie Marceau plays Princess Isabelle in Braveheart.
The unavoidable question on the minds of most spectators when they watch Braveheart is whether it is based on a true story. While the film undoubtedly provides an emotional storyline and gory war—with an R-rating and a three-hour runtime.
Is Braveheart Based on A True Story?
On the actual William Wallace of Scotland, the movie Braveheart is partially based. The movie Braveheart tells the tale of William Wallace, the protagonist, who rallies Scotland’s citizens to fight the English invaders.
It shows the Stirling Bridge Battle, a real-life historical occurrence. Wallace’s life, including his death, and his sacrifice for his nation are central to the storyline of the film. Answering the question of whether or not this movie is based on a genuine story is a little challenging.
In fact, William Wallace, a Scottish hero, served as the inspiration for the film’s protagonist and central plot. On the First War of Scottish Independence against King Edward I, the movie is based.
Some significant elements of the film are, however, only sporadically based on actual events.
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What Really Led to Wallace’s Death?
What caused Wallace’s (Mel Gibson) death is one of the main areas where reality and fiction diverge. While Wallace is kidnapped and given over to the English in Braveheart at the height of the Scottish uprising, the real Wallace’s fate wasn’t as heroic.
Wallace’s military reputation was destroyed by the catastrophic defeat at the Battle of Falkirk in 1298, which claimed thousands of Scottish lives. Following that, Wallace stepped down from his position of authority, and over the following seven years, little is known about him. Wallace was arrested in 1305 and taken to London by a Scottish spy working for the English.
He faced a treason trial at Westminster Hall and was found guilty.
Wallace, according to History Today, was unable to defend himself but was able to solely assert that he wasn’t a traitor because he had never sworn allegiance to the king who had convicted and condemned him.
He was led to his execution after his protests went unheard. The remainder of Wallace’s body was dispersed and displayed all across the kingdom after he was beheaded, with his head being put on London Bridge as a warning to other rebels.
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Is The Movie Historically Accurate?
One of the most historically wrong movies ever is “Braveheart,” which historians have noted on numerous occasions. Wallace, the movie’s main character, is portrayed as a highland farmer. Wallace was a Scottish gentry, nevertheless, as was noted in Slash Film. Additionally, even though they prevailed in the first conflict, they did not advance as far as York.
All of the characters in the movie are shown clad in kilts as they face the icy winter. However, it took another 300 years for kilts to have an impact in that region of the world. The evidence also indicates that Wallace was taken prisoner by his troops in Edinburgh. Actually, a Scottish knight turned in Wallace after he had been taken prisoner in Glasgow.
What Braveheart Gets Right?
The spirit of the struggle for Scottish independence is evident, despite the fact that Braveheart obviously took artistic license to make the narrative more dramatic. Braveheart gave a lot of well-deserved attention to a little-known period of history, and Wallace remains a hero for Scotland.
Additionally, there are a few elements of the movie that the filmmakers manage to get right. First of all, during the reign of Edward I, the English did invade and occupied Scotland, prompting the Scots to revolt soon after. The Battle of Stirling Bridge, the pivotal conflict Wallace led in the movie, actually took place, and it ended in a similar resounding victory.
The English soldiers were forced to cross a narrow bridge that the Scots had trapped them on, making it possible for the Scottish rebels to kill them as they went. Wallace and Andrew Moray were thereafter named the two Guardians of the Kingdom of Scotland, according to War History Online.
Moray and the bridge aren’t in the movie, of course. While Wallace and Princess Isabelle never met in person, the bold, rebellious character of the princess is well-represented in Braveheart.
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Although she never had an affair with Wallace, Isabelle did have an adulterous relationship with an English nobleman named Roger Mortimer who assisted her in overthrowing King Edward II and installing her son, Edward III, as king (via History Extra). She makes this warning regarding the kid she had with Wallace in Braveheart.