Top 100 Movies of All Time Braveheart

Top 100 Movies of All Time Braveheart
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Top 100 Movies of All Time Braveheart. Wherein we at THiNC. are doing our homework, eating our peas, and attempting to learn from Hollywood’s on list of the 100 best movies of all time. If I were to make a list of the one hundred best movies of all time, almost none of these movies would be on this list. Certainly not Braveheart. I mean, it’s a fun ahistorical movie, and all. But no. So it is really an educational exercise to see what we can learn from Hollywood’s top movies of all time. I will say, I have to begrudgingly admit, that I have started to half enjoy this excursion through the wilderness of these movies. Some have been painful (I’m looking at you Dr. Zhivago) but many have been insightful (Rocky was fun).

I remember very clearly when I watched this in the theater. I remember who I was with. I remember the circumstances around the date, and I remember the feeling of elative-deflatingTM that occurred. The simultaneous exultation, the elation, the excitement of the film, and the simultaneous emotional destruction the film wrought. “FREEEDDDDDDOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMM!!” If I just spoiled the movie for you – I can’t help you. This movie came out over 25 years ago.

You have to remember a day when Mel Gibson was the Belle of the Ball in all of Hollywood. For you younger readers out there – it’s difficult to imagine this sort of world. But, Mad Max, Lethal Weapon, Tequila Sunrise, The Patriot, the guy was an enormously bankable. And when Mel Gibson received the screenplay from Randall Wallace, who based the screenplay upon a poem – not historical fact – Paramount agreed to make the movie only on condition that Mel Gibson played the lead role of Sir William Wallace. Paramount was very dubious that a historical war epic would drive ticket sales. But they knew that if they stood a chance at all, it would require Gibson’s close involvement. And sure enough, Braveheart went on to bring in over $210 million dollars in the theaters, and went on to win five Academy Awards… including a win for best director for Gibson.

The lesson I learn here, is that movie making and awards do not need to go hand and hand with historical accuracy. Like, at all. (Wallace did NOT impregnate Isabella of France, nor did the Wallace line secretly infiltrate the British Monarchy.) So I’m realizing that the art of movie making is just that. Art. IE, movie makers prefer anthems to ballads… or something.

Braveheart Walkthrough

I was surprised at how well the movie held up. And then I thought about it for half a second. The film is attempting to depict 1280. It should hold up. I mean, shouldn’t it? I would think so anyway.

The story is about King Edward’s invasion of Scotland in 1280. The attack quickly followed the death of Alexander III of Scotland – who, as luck would have it, did not leave an heir to the throne. And it is a young William Wallace who watches King Edward’s betrayal and murdering of a number of Scottish nobles. Also, in the course of the battles between Scotland and England, his father and brother die fighting the English. And as a result, Wallace is taken to Europe to be educated by his uncle Argyle. So this is the setup… the stage of Wallace’s horrifying past, and liberation towards education.

Years later – Wallace returns to Scotland, and things have not gotten any better. In fact, they’ve gotten worse for Scotland. Wallace has given grants of land and privileges in Scotland. The worst of which is the idea of Prima Nocta. Prima Nocta was the law that allowed English Nobles to sleep with a woman on the first night of her marriage. Fun. The goal was to breed the Scots out of Scotland, as opposed to fighting them out of Scotland. Historically though, there is no evidence that this actually was enforced or enacted. Regardless, as a plot McGuffin, Wallace rescues Murron from being raped by English soldiers, YAY! But as he fights off the soldiers, she is publicly executed, BOO! And in response, Wallace and his men attack an English garrison in his home, and slaughter them. He sends the surviving English troops back to England to let them know that Scotland has revolted.

Edward, now really pissed, tells Prince Edward to shut Wallace down any way that he can. But instead of shutting down Wallace, his renowned increases and the surrounding clans join in on the rebellion. Wallace captures York and other locales, and even sends the English king’s nephew’s head back to London. All the while, Wallace is looking for the support of Robert the Bruce who happens to be a contender for the Scottish crown. But Wormwood, I mean, Bruce’s leper father convinces Bruce that he should submit to England in order to secure the Scottish thrown. The question is, living free and large, but at risk, versus living safe, and pampered lives under the English heel. In the middle of all this, the King of England sends his son’s wife, Isabella of France to attempt to talk Wallace off the ledge. But that was solely a distraction for his landing of an invasion in Scotland. But the King doesn’t count on Isabella becoming enamored with Mr. Wallace, and warning him of the coming invasion.

Wallace then attempts to convince Robert the Bruce to lead them into battle against England. Which, HE DOES! YAY! But it’s all a ploy, and he is actually betraying Wallace… he doesn’t engage his cavalry, leaving them exposed. And results in the death of numerous important Scots. At the end of the battle, the Bruce realizes the destruction he caused to his own countrymen, and vows he will never be on the wrong side again. He even flips out on his leper father.

Wallace knows of the traitors in his midst, and kills them for their betrayal… and then starts his guerrilla war against the English. He even has help from Isabella, with whom he even has an affair. Did I mention Wallace got married in secret in the beginning of the film? Yeah, he did that. My bad. Robert the Bruce and Wallace hold a secret meeting, but Robert’s father conspires against his son, and captures Wallace, and hands him over to the English. Robert disowns his father, and Isabella gets her revenge by informing the now mute father that she was pregnant with Wallace’s child.

Wallace is tried for high treason, and condemned to torture and death by beheading. But, in the midst of his torture, he refuses to recant, and instead screams Freedom at the top of his lungs. Just before he is beheaded, he sees a vision of Murron smiling his direction from the crowd. In 1314, Robert who has become the Scottish king, leads his men in rebellion against the English, finally ending with Scots winning their freedom.

Historical Inaccuracies of Braveheart

Look, no one thinks that Braveheart was accurate. But, when Hollywood endeavors to retell a historical story, shouldn’t there be some sort of effort towards accuracy? I get it that a movie can take the shell of an event, and build a more fully fleshed story in the process. Aftermath. Cough. Got it. But when we recount history – shouldn’t it at least attempt an effort at being on point? Almost the entirety of the film is made up. Some have said that it is literally the most historically inaccurate film of all time. Sharon Krossa noted in a brilliant essay that “The events aren’t accurate, the dates aren’t accurate, the characters aren’t accurate, the names aren’t accurate, the clothes aren’t accurate–in short, just about nothing is accurate.” And she goes on to point out that the belted plaid wasn’t introduced until the 16th century. Others have pointed out that Wallace’s wild painted face was a 1,000 years to late, and his tartan kilt was 500 years too early! hahaha. And worse, the battle of Stirling Bridge could have done with a bridge! hahaha.

History is tricky. What is the burden of an entertainment industry to tell historical stories historically? I mean, this is the same industry that crafts Marvel movies and also made E.T. happen. If it sells tickets, then it should be in play. Heck, there was a recent movie that slotted Hitler as an invisible friend (We are looking at you Jo Jo Rabbit) so not too much should be expected. And yet, historical accuracy seems to be quasi-important… no? As a viewing audience, I assume that I’m not being lied to directly. Right? And yet, large swaths of this movie are literal lies. Seems strong to say it like that, but it is still true. But if we have a good time, is it okay?

Final Thoughts on Braveheart

I am of two minds on this one. First problem? Mel Gibson. Second problem, Mel Gibson. Third problem… Mel Gibson. No just kidding, third problem is historical accuracy. It usually isn’t so blatantly bad as it was for this movie. Heck, this movie was written by a family member of this story! He obviously had a bone to pick.

Want to see the other movies I’ve already covered in the top 100 list… check them out right here.

Edited by: CY