Braveheart (1995) Movie Poster

Trivia for Braveheart (1995)

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  • Real-life Wallaces are extras in the movie. Mel Gibson also stayed with them during the course of the film to learn history.
  • Thin layers of latex were used to attach set elements to the ruins of Trim Castle in Ireland to give it an appearance more befitting its medieval origins while allowing the stone to be unharmed when the additions were removed.
  • Mel Gibson was on the set of Ransom (1996) when Braveheart (1995) and Apollo 13 (1995) were nominated for Best Picture. He pulled a prank on "Apollo 13" director Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer by giving them an ad that claimed "Braveheart" was considered for "Best Moon Shot". The accompanying picture was a shot of the Scottish army mooning the English.
  • Brian Cox, who plays Argyle Wallace, was first offered a larger role, but took the role of Argyle because he felt it was a better one.
  • The battle of Stirling took six weeks to film. Roughly half a million feet of film (90+ hours) were shot for the sequence.
  • Screenwriter Randall Wallace initially planned to start the story with William Wallace as an adult, and added the prologue of his childhood only as an afterthought. When the sequence was first written, Murron gave William a rose at his father's burial. However, someone who read the script pointed out that the rose, a traditional symbol of England, would be inappropriate as a prominent feature in the story.
  • Mel Gibson was supposed to star in Terry Gilliam's (never made) film "A Tale of Two Cities" but turned it down to star in this movie which he then offered to Gilliam to direct, but Gilliam declined.
  • Several major battle scenes had to be re-shot because extras were wearing sunglasses and wristwatches.
  • When asked by a local why the Battle of Stirling Bridge was filmed on an open plain, Gibson answered that "the bridge got in the way". "Aye," the local answered. "That's what the English found."
  • Randall Wallace had been visiting Edinburgh in 1983 to learn about his heritage when he came across a statue of William Wallace outside Edinburgh Castle. He had never heard of the 14th-century figure who shared his name, but was intrigued enough by the stories told to him about "Scotland's greatest hero" to research the story as much as possible.
  • Sir Sean Connery turned down the role of King Edward I because he was filming Just Cause (1995).
  • Mel Gibson initially turned down the role of William Wallace, as he felt he was too old for the part. However, Paramount Pictures would only finance the film if Gibson played the lead role, so he agreed.
  • Mel Gibson, a notorious jokester, directed some scenes in an Elmer Fudd voice and even yelled, "CUT!" during Murron's funeral scene by putting his arm around the actress playing her mother and hollering, "Will you put a sock in it!" This caused the actress to go from crying in character to break character and laugh. Gibson also intentionally started a false rumor that Sophie Marceau was the daughter of noted French mime Marcel Marceau.
  • Mel Gibson was investigated by an animal welfare organization, which was convinced that the fake horses used were real. Only when one of Gibson's assistants provided some videotaped footage of the location shooting were they convinced otherwise.
  • Mel Gibson initially turned down the role of William Wallace when MGM executive Alan Ladd Jr. gave him the script, because he felt he was too old for the part. A year later he changed his mind, after Paramount Pictures said they would finance the film only if he played the lead role.
  • Its Oscar win was the only award it won for Best Picture (no other award or critic group named it the best film of the year).
  • Glen Nevis, the Scottish valley which served as the location for Wallace's childhood village, also enjoys the heaviest rainfall in Europe. During the six weeks spent filming in the area, only three days of sunshine occurred, during which the wedding scene was finished. The filmmakers resigned themselves to the fact that constant rain was inevitable, and opted to film scenes regardless of weather conditions.
  • Wallace's real wife was named Marian. However, it is believed that the name was changed to "Murron" to avoid confusion with the Robin Hood character of the same name.
  • A majority of the actors and extras in this film were actually Irish - members of the Irish Army - although they are supposed to be Scottish or English. As many as 1,600 were used on a given day.
  • Princess Isabella did not set foot in England until 1308, therefore she could not have been in England to warn Wallace about the upcoming Battle of Falkirk.
  • Up to 1,600 extras were used for the battle scenes. Most were members of the F.C.A., the reserve Irish Army. Different companies usually come from the same area, and rivalries are common. Apparently some of the battle scenes are far more realistic than intended, with rival companies trying to beat the lard out of each other.
  • The mechanical horses designed for the battle sequences weighed 200 pounds, and were fueled by nitrogen cylinders propelling them at 30 mph on 20-foot tracks.
  • James Horner's score was also used in several of the trailers for Cast Away (2000); some parts of his score appear in Apollo 13 (1995), as well as Braveheart (1995), which were released only a month apart.
  • Many Scots were offended by the film's portrayal of Robert the Bruce, who is considered a national hero.
  • One of the film's weary extras reportedly mistook one of Mel Gibson's children on the set for an errand boy, and asked him to bring a cup of tea. Gibson was within earshot, and nodded and whispered to his son, "Go get it."
  • Randall Wallace had very little historical evidence to work with in regard to William Wallace's life. He has noted that even Winston Churchill's definitive work "A History of the English Speaking Peoples" observed in only a single line that virtually no factual material survives about the Scottish leader. Because of this, Randall Wallace relied heavily on a fifteenth century romantic poem by Scottish writer Henry the Minstrel ("Blind Harry") in constructing his story.
  • Prince Edward (later King Edward II) was indeed the first English prince to carry the title Prince of Wales. He didn't marry Princess Isabella until 1308, after both Wallace and Edward I had died.
  • Mel Gibson originally wanted Jason Patric to play William Wallace.
  • Mel Gibson, who had been heavily criticized for a December 1991 interview with a Spanish magazine, was accused of homophobia for the film's portrayal of the Prince of Wales (and future King Edward II) as an effeminate homosexual. There is strong disagreement among historians as to whether Edward II, who fathered at least five children, was homosexual or even bisexual at all. The scene where Edward I threw his son's lover out of a castle window was particularly criticized for inciting homophobia. The lover was based on Piers Gaveston, who was also married; many historians believe these stories of Edward's homosexuality were invented by the King's enemies in order to discredit him. Gibson refused to apologize for the controversy in a 1995 interview with "Playboy" magazine while promoting the movie. However, in January 1997 he did agree to host a summit for representatives of gay rights organization GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) on the set of Conspiracy Theory (1997). The leaders of GLAAD noted they were disappointed that he did not apologize to them for the film's alleged homophobia. In a 1999 interview with "The Daily Telegraph" Gibson acknowledged "regret" over his controversial 1991 interview, claiming he had been drinking vodka at the time and that his words had frequently been used to criticize him.
  • The castle (King John's castle, Trim, County Meath, Ireland) where a lot of the scenes were shot was also used to film scenes for The Big Red One (1980).
  • Single frames of film were removed at strategic points in the battles in order to produce a jarring, startling effect.
  • The Scots Gaelic chant is "Alba gu brath", which means "Scotland forever". Although Wallace was a Lowlander, many of his troops were Highlanders and a large part of the Lowlands were still speaking Scots Gaelic at this time in history.
  • Two weeks before he picked up two Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director, Mel Gibson was in the hospital undergoing an emergency appendectomy.
  • Mel Gibson has said he would give $5.00 to anyone who could spot the fake horses in the final film. Reportedly he has not had to make good on the wager. Be that as it may, the horse falling into the moat was clearly fake. It remained motionless as it fell, not moving its legs, and slowly turned to its side as it fell through the air, not attempting to right itself. This is very un-horselike behavior.
  • The rough cut of the film initially contained much more violence than the final product. Fearing an NC-17 from the MPAA after negative test reaction, Mel Gibson went back and personally edited some of the film's most graphic scenes to show the brutality more off-screen.
  • Although the majority of the characters in the film are Scottish, the actors portraying them were mostly drawn from England, Wales and Ireland. Angus Macfadyen (Robert the Bruce) and Brian Cox (Argyle) are notable exceptions. Ironically, the one Irish character in the film (Stephen), is played by Scottish actor David O'Hara.
  • In an October 2009 interview with "The Daily Mail", Mel Gibson admitted that the film was heavily fictitious, but claimed the changes had been made for dramatic purposes. He also admitted he had always felt he was at least a decade too old to play Wallace.
  • Although playing father and son, James Cosmo and Brendan Gleeson are only seven years apart in age.
  • When the members of Clan MacGregor attempt to join Wallace's rebellion against the English, the MacGregor chieftain mildly insults Wallace and his men by calling them "Amadans". "Amadan" is both Scots Gaelic and Irish for "fool" or "idiot". Thus, the MacGregor chieftain is calling Wallace and his men fools, both for resisting the English and for not inviting the MacGregors to participate in the rebellion.
  • "Primae noctis," in which a nobleman has the right to have sex with a common man's bride on her wedding night, has never been used in the history of Britain or Ireland. It would have encouraged rebellions in newly-conquered territories that were already difficult to govern. It was more common on the continent, notably France.
  • Shortly after Wallace is knighted, an elderly member of Clan Balliol (played by Bernard Horsfall) asks Wallace about the Balliol claim to the throne of Scotland. In real life, John Balliol became King of Scotland in 1292, but was deposed by King Edward I of England in 1296. The real William Wallace swore his loyalty to King John Balliol, even after Balliol was imprisoned in England.
  • At the Battle of Falkirk (July 22, 1298), the English army was personally led by King Edward I, who decisively defeated the Scots. The real-life King Edward I was a military genius who learned combat tactics while fighting the Mamelukes--a Muslim military caste--in the Middle East during the Eighth and Ninth crusades.
  • King Edward I was called "Longshanks" (long legs) because he was at least 6'2", uncommonly tall for a man of the time. William Wallace was even taller, at 6'5".
  • Among the films Gibson watched in order to prepare to direct this film were Roman Polanski's Macbeth (1971), Spartacus (1960), Chimes at Midnight (1965), Alexander Nevsky (1938), A Man for All Seasons (1966), The Lion in Winter (1968), Seven Samurai (1954), Throne of Blood (1957) and NFL films.
  • Although Mel Gibson was nearly 40, his character was supposed to be in his 20s.
  • Aside from a few scenes in the Scottish Highlands, nearly all of the movie was filmed in Ireland.
  • Mel Gibson declined to grow a beard in order to play Wallace.
  • The Irish actually fought against William Wallace. Mel Gibson decided to show the Irish joining forces with the Scots because modern audiences might be confused to see the Irish and the English on the same side. The Scottish and Irish actors also refused to fight each other.
  • The Prince of Wales (the future King Edward II) was made much older for the film, so he could be portrayed as a homosexual.
  • The film takes place from 1280 to 1314.
  • The tattoo that William has on his arm can be seen covered by his war paint.
  • Mel Gibson later said regarding this film, "Some people said that in telling the story we messed up history. It doesn't bother me because what I'm giving you is a cinematic experience, and I think films are there first to entertain, then teach, then inspire. There probably were historical inaccuracies--quite a few. But maybe there weren't, who's to say, because there was very little history about the man. It wasn't necessarily authentic. In some of the stuff I read about him, he wasn't as nice as he was on film. We romanticized it a bit, but that's the language of film--you have to make it cinematically acceptable. Actually, he was a monster--he always smelled of smoke because he was always burning people's villages down. He was like what the Vikings called a 'berserker'. But we kind of shifted the balance a bit, because somebody's got to be the good guy and somebody the bad guy, and every story has its own point of view. That was our bias."
  • Wallace's two most trusted captains throughout the film are Hamish, who is Scottish, and Stephen, who is Irish. Hamish was played by Irish actor Brendan Gleeson and Stephen by Scottish actor David O'Hara.
  • Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
  • The land in which William Wallace was born and later returned to was the lowlands of western Scotland. He was born in Elderslie and held lands there. The land was not like it was in the film, but more flatland for farming.
  • Angus Macfadyen was originally called to audition for Prince Edward. At the audition, he asked to play The Bruce, and got the job.
  • Warrior extras earned just $300 per week, and regularly worked 14-hour days.
  • Wallace was actually shot in the throat, but the producers didn't think anyone would believe it.
  • Mel Gibson jokingly predicted critics would call the movie "Mad Mac." He was right.
  • Catherine McCormack claimed that she still gets asked, "What's it like to kiss Mel Gibson?"
  • Randall Wallace originally didn't know what William should hand Murron. When he remembered the thistle, he knew it was perfect.
  • In the original script, the Scots don't see the Irish coming.
  • The men hanging are real actors. They hung from harnesses all day to shoot the scene.
  • As director, Mel Gibson did all the casting for the movie, but never asked anyone to read the script.
  • Mel Gibson enjoyed working on a set so far away from Hollywood. With most of the shooting done on-location, studio executives couldn't interfere with production.
  • Every time Mel Gibson would yell his lines, his horse would run. It made the scene more difficult to shoot, but added to the intensity.
  • Mel Gibson was on location for 105 consecutive days, and it took its toll on his body. He said that this film was more physically taxing than shooting three "Lethal Weapon" movies in a row.
  • The film had so many complicated fight scenes that Mel Gibson hired two stunt coordinators for the job.
  • In order to focus on directing, Mel Gibson would rarely spend long in front of the camera. Most of his scenes were done in two or three takes.
  • With 1,400 extras for some scenes, it took close to four hours to get everyone through costume and make-up.
  • After several months of filming battle scenes, the worst injury suffered on-set was a broken nose.
  • Instead of using digital effects, Mel Gibson decided to film real arrows flying through the air.
  • That massive wooden gate doesn't just look heavy. It was built by the crew, and weighed seven tons.
  • Mel Gibson cites Spartacus (1960) as one of the influences for the film. The story of Wallace parallels that of Spartacus, in that both men struggled against foreign rulers. The Big Country (1958) also served as an inspiration.
  • Tommy Flanagan's scar is real. It's known as a Glasgow Smile or Glasgow Grin.
  • No one knows if the real William Wallace actually spoke to the Scots before the big battle; Randall Wallace said "I wrote what gave me goose bumps." Even though no evidence exists for it, the rousing speech and especially the line "They may take our lives, but they'll never take our freedom" has become one of the most quoted (and parodied) in movie history.
  • Mel Gibson says Wallace's speech would've been better if Wallace just hit an Englishman in the head. "I would've done it that way if I could do it over."
  • Aside from school plays, James Robinson (Young William) had never acted before. Andrew Weir (Young Hamish) suggested Robinson for the role.
  • Randall Wallace first had the idea for the film on a vacation to Edinburgh. He saw statues of William Wallace (no relation) and Robert the Bruce adorning Edinburgh Castle and asked a tour guide who they were. The guide proceeded to tell the screenwriter about their story. Wallace was immediately inspired to write a screenplay about the famed warriors.
  • Randall Wallace opted to do specific historical research after he completed his screenplay, because he wanted to capture the drama of the story first and input historical details later. He brushes off claims of the movie's historical inaccuracy by saying that the script is only his dramatic interpretation.
  • Mel Gibson opted against including a main title sequence, because he felt the film should launch right into the story. Nevertheless, famous designer Kyle Cooper created a brief title sequence for the film.
  • The first shot in the movie was the first shot that Mel Gibson filmed.
  • Mel Gibson's brother, Donal Gibson, plays the leader of one of the clans that joins up with William Wallace at the midpoint of the movie.
  • Mel Gibson admits that he borrowed the cinematic techniques for most of the violent shots in the movie, like shooting at different speeds, or using jump cuts to emphasize the violence, from his Mad Max (1979) director George Miller. He also admittedly borrowed ideas and techniques for more atmospheric shots from Peter Weir (who directed Gibson in Gallipoli (1981) and The Year of Living Dangerously (1982)).
  • Mel Gibson brought in actual members of the Wallace clan as extras. They're standing around Wallace during the opening shots of battles.
  • Mel Gibson originally wanted to have St. Andrew's Cross (a symbol of Scotland that appears on its contemporary flag) as the woad design on his face, but the film's make-up artist, Lois Burwell, suggested the now iconic half-face-covering design.
  • Scottish singer Fish (best known as the lead singer of the British rock band Marillion in the 1980s) was offered a role in the film but it clashed with his tour to support his 1994 solo album "Suits". He later expressed sadness about this because it "could have been a big move" in his acting career.
  • Mel Gibson's attempt at a Scottish accent was widely criticized.
  • Towards the end, the sequence when Hamish throws Wallace's sword into the air was not scripted.
  • During post-production, Mel Gibson and editor Steve Rosenblum were grappling with a hefty 195-minute (3 hrs., 15 min.) cut, which was way too long for a general release print. When Paramount Pictures executive Sherry Lansing intervened, she suggested which portions she felt should be cut. This initially irked both men, who resented being admonished by a female producer. After some revisions of their cut, however, both eventually agreed that Lansing's suggestions were the right way to go, and they reduced the running time to two hours and 58 minutes.
  • Brian Cox (Argyle Wallace) previously played William Wallace in The Wallace (1975).
  • Daniel Day-Lewis, Liam Neeson, Christopher Lambert, Jeff Bridges, and Robin Williams were considered to play William Wallace.
  • Jodie Foster was considered for the roles of princess isabelle of France and William Wallace's wife Murron.
  • Andrew de Moray (Murray), the real-life lieutenant of Sir William Wallace, is considered just as important as Wallace in resisting the English at that time. The character of Hamish Campbell is loosely based upon de Moray.
  • The only Best Picture Oscar nominee of the year to be also nominated for Original Screenplay.
  • The only Best Picture Oscar nominee that year to be nominated for Best Sound Effects Editing, and Best Makeup.
  • Despite winning Best Picture, it is the only Best Picture Oscar nominee that year not to be nominated in any of the acting categories.
  • Released in the first year of the Screen Actors Guild Awards, it was the only film until The Shape of Water (2017), 22 years later to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards, without a nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.
  • The first Best Picture Oscar winner to also win Best Sound Editing.
  • As children, after William's father's funeral had ended, the young Murron gives William a Scottish thistle. When William returns, full grown, following his period of tutelage under his Uncle Argyle, William gives Murron the same pressed thistle, at the end of this first courting of his future wife.
  • Young William, expecting his father and brother to return from battle, wakens to the rumbling of a cart drawn by two large, long-horned oxen. These two animals were obtained from Cotswold Farm Park, a subsidiary activity of Heath Farm in Oxford, England. They are named "Edward" and "Phillip", and each weighed nearly 1 ton. They were shipped to the filming site in the Glen Nevis Valley of Scotland, where Wallace's childhood home and village were replicated.
  • The line "They may take our lives, but they'll never take our freedom!" was ranked 99th on the list of Hollywood's 100 Favorite Movie Quotes by The Hollywood reporter. It was one of three Best Picture Oscar nominees of that year to end up in the list; the other two are Babe (1995) ("That'll do, pig. That'll do") on 71 and Apollo 13 (1995) ("Houston, we have a problem") on 24.
  • Sections of the British media accused the film of harboring Anglophobia. The Economist called it "xenophobic", and John Sutherland writing in The Guardian stated that: "Braveheart gave full rein to a toxic Anglophobia". In The Times, Colin McArthur said "the political effects are truly pernicious. It's a xenophobic film." Ian Burrell of The Independent has noted, "The Braveheart phenomenon, a Hollywood-inspired rise in Scottish nationalism, has been linked to a rise in anti-English prejudice".
  • At one point, Mel Gibson wanted Brad Pitt to play William Wallace.
  • Robert the Bruce's father, who was also named Robert, is portrayed as implicated in the capture of William Wallace in Edinburgh. However, he died in 1304, and Wallace was captured by Sir John de Menteith in Glasgow in 1305.
  • In the close-up of young Murron passing the thistle to young William, the hands are not children's, but adults. This would be the director's use of foreshadowing about their future relationship together.
  • The characters speak about William Wallace (portrayed by Mel Gibson) as a patriot, Mel Gibson would later go on to play Benjamin Martin in The Patriot (2000) in which he was also portraying a patriot. Interestingly, both films depict a rebellion against the King of England, though against different kings and in different countries.

Spoilers

  • In the movie, Wallace is jumped, beaten down and captured at Edinburgh Castle, betrayed by Robert Bruce the Elder. In real-life, Wallace was betrayed by a Scottish nobleman loyal to King Edward, Sir John Menteith. Wallace was captured at what is now Robroyston (named for another legendary Scottish hero, Rob Roy MacGregor), a suburb of Glasgow.
  • William Wallace's disembowelment was filmed in graphic detail, but was cut so that it's implied to occur out of frame due to negative test audience reaction.
  • When speaking with Isabella before his execution, William Wallace delivers the famous quote "Every man dies--Not every man really lives." This famous quote, commonly attributed to the "Braveheart" character, was actually authored by 19th-century American poet William Ross Wallace, famous for writing the poem "The Hand That Rocks The Cradle Is The Hand That Rules The World". He has no relation to the William Wallace in the film.
  • (Cameo) Paul Tucker: The film's Accountant is the English soldier at the end who says "I hope you washed your arse this morning. It's about to be kissed by a king."
  • Elder Campbell is wounded in every battle he is seen participating in. He takes an arrow in the chest during the initial uprising against the local magistrate, his hand is cut off during the Battle of Stirling Bridge, and finally he takes an axe to the gut during the battle of Falkirk.
  • Mel Gibson really hanged himself for a moment during his death scene. He had to be cut down. Gibson says, "I remember waking up with all of these people standing over me."
  • It's been rumored that originally in Wallace's death scene, when Wallace is beheaded, Wallace's ghost appears and he walks over to Murron and they walk away.
  • Was voted the second "Most Historically Inaccurate Movie" by The Times, third by Ranker, and fourth by ScreenRant. Major points of contention were: William Wallace, a landowner and minor knight in real life, presented as a poor villager; his relationship with Queen Isabella (who was around 5-years-old at the time of his death); anachronistic garments and traditions, such as kilts, face-painting, and battle tactics. Some of the other inaccuracies include: Scotland had only been occupied by England for a year prior to Wallace' rebellion; Robert the Bruce actually bore the nickname Braveheart, not Wallace; although he would often change his allegiance, he did not directly betray Wallace; Longshanks died on a campaign two years after Wallace' execution; the execution itself was much more graphic than insinuated, involving emasculation and evisceration. Both screenwriter Randall Wallace and director/actor Mel Gibson have acknowledged these deviations from reality, but maintain that they were inspired by the myth surrounding Wallace, and wanted to tell a cinematically compelling story rather than a history lesson.
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