Braveheart (film)

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German title Braveheart
Original title Braveheart
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1995
length 177 minutes
Age rating FSK 16
Director Mel Gibson
script Randall Wallace
production Mel Gibson
Alan Ladd junior
Bruce Davey
music James Horner
camera John great
cut Steven Rosenblum

Braveheart is a 1995 American film starring Mel Gibson as William Wallace . Gibson is both a producer and a director. Sophie Marceau , Brendan Gleeson and Angus Macfadyen can also be seen in other roles . The film received five Academy Awards , including in the categories of Best Picture and Best Director .


At the end of the 13th century, King Edward I of England , known as "Edward the Longshanks", claimed the throne of Scotland and lured several Scottish negotiators into an ambush, where he had all the ambassadors killed despite the parliamentary flag. In the ensuing armed conflict, Williams' father and brother are killed. After the funeral, William is taken in as an eight-year-old orphan by his uncle Argyle, who lives in Ireland , and receives appropriate upbringing from him.

In the years that followed, Scotland suffered from the harsh laws of Edward. Wallace returns to his village as a grown man to marry his childhood sweetheart Murron. Both secretly marry, since the English sheriff invokes the ius primae noctis , the "right of the first night", according to Edward's decree . When an English soldier tries to rape Murron, a fight ensues in which Wallace escapes, but Murron is captured and publicly executed by the sheriff. Wallace returns to seek revenge, storms the garrison with his clan friends and kills the sheriff with his own hands. Thereupon he leads his clan and a growing number of volunteers on a campaign of revenge against the English garrisons in the area.

Eventually a war against England can no longer be avoided, and Wallace gathers the common Scots and various clans around him, while the Scottish nobles hold back, partly for fear and partly to increase their fortunes. For William, however, it is now a struggle for Scotland's freedom and independence. Eduard, at the time in France, hands over the responsibility for suppressing the uprising to his feeble, homosexual son, who, however, does not care much about the matter.

Wallace leads the Scottish Army at the Battle of Stirling Bridge and, together with the nobles who are now ready to fight, to victory. He is then appointed Guardian of Scotland in Edinburgh and knighted , but the nobles cannot agree on a new king. Wallace then decides to launch a pre-emptive strike against England and takes York . He sends the head of the city commandant, Longshank's nephew, to London. Eduard, back in London, is shocked at the capture of York. He throws his son's friend out of the window, who does not survive the fall. Prince Edward then tries to kill his father, but the latter beats and humiliates him. Eventually the King orders his unhappy daughter-in-law Isabelle to negotiate with Wallace. However, she falls in love with Wallace. Meanwhile, Eduard resorted to a ruse: Without Isabelle's knowledge, he had already secretly sent troops from France to Scotland by sea weeks before, in order to cut off Wallace from reinforcements and finally to encircle him. Princess Isabelle can warn Wallace before the trap can snap shut.

Robert the Bruce , the legitimate heir to the throne, gives William, whom he deeply admires, his word to fight with him against England, but his leper , dominant father tries to secure the throne for Robert by coming to terms with the English. That is why Robert, like some noblemen who were bribed by Eduard, betrayed him in the Battle of Falkirk , but plagued by remorse, he ultimately helps the beaten Wallace to escape. Despite the heavy defeat, Wallace continues the fight. Isabelle visits Wallace again, confesses her love to him and shares a night with him.

In exchange for a large bribe, the Scottish nobles finally deliver William Wallace over to Eduard by luring him into a trap with a trick, without Robert the Bruce, who was taken by surprise, being able to prevent it. Wallace is captured by several English soldiers and taken to dungeon in London. Although Isabelle, who is expecting a child with Wallace, stands up for him with the now seriously ill Edward, Wallace is charged with high treason and found guilty. His execution is to be done by dividing into four . On the torture bench, he refused to the last the plea for mercy, which would have shortened his torture and resulted in a quick death. After he shouts the word “freedom” out loud instead of accepting another offer from the executioner to recognize Edward as king, he is finally beheaded . At the same moment, King Edward also takes his last breath.

At the end of the film, Robert the Bruce is said to have received the Scottish royal crown by the grace of England, which would have made him an English vassal . Shortly before the Crown was accepted by the English, however, he changed his plans and led the remaining supporters of Wallace to the Battle of Bannockburn . The film does not show the outcome of the battle, but mentions in the closing words that the Scots finally won their freedom in this battle.

Historical templates and film errors

The film is based in part on actual, historical circumstances. The Scottish rebel leader William Wallace actually existed, even if the cinematic representation does not match the details of the story in every way. The film gives the impression that all of the events of the Scottish War of Independence took place within a short period of time, which, in the case of Robert the Bruce, greatly distorted the historical facts or took them out of context.

The main source of the script written by Randall Wallace in 1995 is the poem Wallace by the minstrel Blind Harry , written in the 1470s. It is the oldest written document in which Wallace is portrayed as a folk hero and the reason for his fame that continues to this day. After it was first printed in 1508, it quickly spread across Scotland and Wallace became a Scottish hero of freedom.

Historical sources about William Wallace contain four court documents and a trade agreement with the cities of Lübeck and Hamburg, which was signed by Wallace and the nobleman Andrew de Moray on October 11, 1297 and is kept in the Lübeck city archive. For the first time as one of Scotland's freedom fighters, Wallace is portrayed in the five-volume chronicle of John Fordun . This five-volume work, probably written around 1363, is still considered the most important historical source about Scotland in the 12th and 13th centuries: Chronica Gentis Scotorum .

The film action begins in 1280. This is the year of death of the Scottish King Alexander III. issued and marks the beginning of English oppression. In subsequent revolts, led by Wallace, the Scots defend themselves against the English invaders and conquerors. The historical facts are more complex. First, King Alexander III dies. not until six years later, in 1286. A provisional government follows because his heir to the throne at three years old is still too young to become Queen of Scotland. But she dies already in 1290. So the England loyal King John Balliol is elected King of Scotland. In fact, however, he is more a vassal of England than King of Scotland. Above all, the Bruces refuse to take the oath of allegiance. After he is poisoned in 1296, the English conquer Scotland. This leads to the freedom struggles shown in the film. The second date shown in the film, the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, is historically correct. It is true that the Scots were first led by Robert the Bruce in this battle .

At the end of the film, the impression is given that the Battle of Bannockburn was sparked spontaneously after Robert Bruce found out about Wallace's death. In reality, Bruce had been involved in guerrilla warfare with the English for eight years , and the battle itself took place nine years after Wallace was executed. About a year after his death, the battle of Methven actually took place, which ended in a heavy defeat for Bruce. The then uncrowned Robert Bruce is referred to in the film as the "Earl of Bruce", in fact he was the Earl of Carrick .

The film claims that Wallace supported Bruce's claim to the Scottish throne. In reality, he was on the side of the deposed King John Balliol . The film shows Robert Bruce's father (who was also called Robert) as a leper . However, there is no historical record of it. Historians have long assumed that King Robert Bruce himself died of leprosy, but this theory is no longer supported. At Falkirk, Wallace was not betrayed by Bruce. He actually switched sides, but this happened several years earlier due to the conflict with the Comyn family who supported John Balliol (the conflict is completely left out in the film). Wallace was hunted and captured after the Scots were forced to surrender in 1305. Although the Picts ( Latin picti "the painted ones"), Britons , Gauls and Teutons colored their faces with blue paint, the war paint that can be seen in the film on Wallace and some of his followers had been around for around 1000 at this time Years "out of fashion". At the time the film is set, there were also no kilts in Scotland . The appearance of kilts has not been proven before 1600.

The English king died two years after Wallace's execution. In the film, Wallace is executed while the king is dying. During Wallace's final cry for freedom, the king dies. Even the image of the young Robert the Bruce as an easily influenced procrastinator does not correspond to historical facts: the Scottish king is often described as unscrupulous. In addition, it was Robert the Bruce who covered the English with guerrilla warfare from 1307 until he finally won the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, united with Wallace's troops, and is therefore considered a Scottish national hero.

William Wallace in no way arose from the rural conditions depicted in the film. His family owned land in Ayrshire and Renfrewshire and were part of the Stuarts' closest followers . Furthermore, Wallace was much younger than Gibson in key parts of the film, and also considerably taller, which Gibson circumvents with the help of a humorous insert during the film. The secret marriage to Marion Braidfood (Murron) from Lanark can be considered historically correct, but the two were married longer than shown in the film. They had a daughter together. In contrast, the historical Princess Isabelle , who is the wife of the heir to the throne in the film and is expecting a child with Wallace, was only about 10 years old at the time of Wallace's execution in 1305 and was still living in France. She came to England in 1308 and was married to Edward II .

A key scene is Wallace's legendary address on the battlefield of Stirling "They may take our lives, but they never take our freedom!", Which, however, resembles the speech given by the young English King Henry V to his before the Battle of Azincourt Troops in Shakespeare's play of the same name is borrowed.

Furthermore, the coat of arms (three lions and three lilies) used in the film as a claim to France's crown only later became the coat of arms of England . There wasn't even whiskey yet. It was first mentioned more than 200 years later.

The ius primae noctis , which is partly decisive for the rebellion, never existed in this form.


The budget for the film was $ 72 million. The revenue is roughly three times that amount, around $ 210 million. The film was shot in and around Fort William , in Glen Coe and Glen Nevis as well as on Loch Leven . Trim Castle (County Meath, Ireland) served as the "castle backdrop" for the film.

The film has been used as inspiration several times in pop culture, for example in Ice Age 4 - Fully Moved (2012), where a herd of hyrax with a blue-painted leader and long spears attack a group of much larger pirates. In Das A-Team - The Film (2010), the character Murdock imitates William Wallace's speech with blue make-up.

The theme song was released as a trance version by DJ Sakin .


source rating
Rotten tomatoes

“An epic set between 1275 and 1305, in which there is much talk of freedom, but which is nothing more than an elaborate revenge story. Miscast in the main role, the film takes refuge in voyeuristic cruelty and evil clichés. "

"Mel Gibson's 'Braveheart' is an outstanding, immensely gripping and haunting battle epic, which revives the rough and dark days of the Middle Ages and breaks a lance for the irrepressible desire for self-determination and freedom."


"Poignantly opulent hero adaptation."


“He [Mel Gibson] put a lot of heart and soul into this film, but also has a sense of humor and mystical flair. Sadistic excesses on the canvas are balanced out. "

- Angela Errigo : 1001 Films: You Should See Before Life Is Over

The German Film and Media Assessment FBW in Wiesbaden awarded the film the rating "valuable".


Braveheart won five Academy Awards and received a Golden Globe Award .

Academy Awards 1996

BAFTA Award 1996

Empire Awards 1996

  • Empire Award in the Best Film category

Golden Globe Awards 1996

  • Golden Globe for Best Director for Mel Gibson
  • Nominated in the category Best Film (Drama)
  • Nominated in the Best Music category for James Horner
  • Nominated for Best Screenplay for Randall Wallace

MTV Movie Awards 1996

  • MTV Movie Award in the Best Action Scene category
  • Nominated in the Best Film category
  • Nominated for Best Actor for Mel Gibson

Saturn Award 1996

  • Nominated in the Best Action / Adventure Film category
  • Nominated in the Best Costume category for Charles Knode
  • Nominated in the Best Music category for James Horner

Web links

Commons : Braveheart  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. See Brown 2004, p. 188.
  2. See Morton 2001, p. 19.
  3. a b See Brown 2004, pp. 180-189.
  5. a b at Rotten Tomatoes , accessed on September 19, 2014.
  6. a b at Metacritic , accessed on September 19, 2014.
  7. Braveheart in the Internet Movie Database (English)
  8. ^ Braveheart in the Lexicon of International FilmsTemplate: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used
  9. Braveheart on
  10. Braveheart on
  11. Angela Errigo: 1001 Films: You Should See Before Life Is Over . Zurich 2012, ISBN 978-3-283-01158-1 , p. 844.
  12. Braveheart on fbw-filmbü