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Braveheart Vs. William Wallace

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Braveheart vs. William Wallace

The movie Braveheart, directed by Mel Gibson and released in 1995, is an epic tale about a Scottish hero named William Wallace. The movie is exceptionally accurate when compared with other historical movies. However, changes have been made to make the film more entertaining and romantic. Despite some minor historical glitches, Braveheart is wonderfully composed and really gives the viewer a good idea of what living in Scotland in the 13th-14th centuries would have been like.

Braveheart starts out with a young William Wallace whose father, a Scottish patriot, is killed by the English. He comes back to the village of his birth when he is much older. There, he meets Murron who he knew from his childhood. They get married. An English Sheriff kills Murron. Wallace kills the Sheriff and proceeds to fight many more battles with the assistance of his fellow patriots. He has an affair with the Princess of Wales, Isabella, and fathers her child. The King of England, Edward I, executes him (Braveheart, movie).


The movie Braveheart is almost entirely in English. The Scottish nobles, rebels and peasants as well as the English soldiers and royalty all speak English. Princess Isabella, her lady in waiting and Wallace were the only exceptions. Isabella, when speaking to her lady, spoke entirely French. Wallace displayed his knowledge of both French and Latin at various points all the way through the movie. All of the Scottish characters, including Wallace, displayed delightful Scottish accents throughout the entirety of the production (Braveheart, movie).

One of the major differences between reality and the motion picture was very obvious from the beginning. Language. Scottish people of that particular time period, 13th-14th centuries, would not have spoken English. Rather, the uneducated people would be speaking their native Gaelic, and educated Scotsman would have been speaking either Gaelic or Latin (Braveheart, commentary). The real William Wallace did know English, French, Gaelic, and Latin, but one finds it hard to believe that he would have spoken much beyond Gaelic around his uneducated countryman (Campbell, 1). The rest of the characters, with the exception of Princess Isabella and her lady in waiting, also spoke English in the movie. Again, the Scottish would have been speaking Gaelic in reality, but the Englishmen would have still spoken English. The reason for this inaccuracy is understandable. If the producer, Mel Gibson, would have required all of the Scottish and Irish characters in the movie to have spoken Gaelic or Latin, it would have taken an extremely long time for the actors to learn not only the lines, but their translation. Those actors which weren't already fluent in Gaelic would have had to learn the translation in an effort to have performed with emotion and feeling. It's hard to act out words that have no meaning to the actor. Another downfall to a film almost entirely in Gaelic was its audience. The audience for this production was for the most part English speaking. This fact alone would have called for subtitles. Not only are subtitles more expensive for the producer, they also make the picture less enjoyable for its patrons (Braveheart, commentary). This inaccuracy of language can, however be forgiven. The language was changed for one simple reason, to make the movie more suitable for its viewers.


William Wallace

The main character in Braveheart, William Wallace, played by Mel Gibson, starts out life wanting nothing to do with the turmoil that his country was facing. However, has he grew older, and after the murder of his wife, Murron, played by Catherine McCormak, he finds the hero within himself and joins up with his fellow Scotsmen to fight for Scottish freedom. He is extremely successful in battle, and become notorious for showing no mercy to the lives of the English. He slaughters them with casual fray. After he loses a battle, he is captured by the English and taken to the castle of King Edward I. There he is tried for treason, hanged, drawn, and beheaded. Also during his life, he has an affair with Princess Isabella, and is the father of her baby. This makes for a very suspense filled production, but is not entirely truthful (Braveheart, movie).

The real William Wallace was born in Scotland, and lived in a small village. He was the son of a nobleman who was killed by English soldiers for opposing their force in Scotland (Campbell, 1). Wallace leaves with his uncle to receive an education. Upon his arrival, he is reunited with Murron, and marries her. The Sheriff of Lanark kills her soon after. In reality, he was also a passionate Scottish patriot. Up until this part of the movie, it is remarkably accurate in its portrayal of Wallace. Princess Isabella's affair with Wallace was completely inaccurate however. Wallace wasn't even alive when she was married to the Prince (Trial 2). The section of the movie where Wallace is executed is also very realistic except for the part where the Princess tells the King that she is carrying Wallace's child. The screenwriter, Randall Wallace, no doubt wrote in this fictitious part of the story to and yet another flair of romance into the film (Braveheart, commentary).

Robert (I) the Bruce

Robert Bruce, played by Angus MacFayden, is a very confused character from the beginning. He is aware that his title brings with it, certain obligations, but he is also mindful of his duty to the people he serves. He swears to Wallace that he will fight with the Scottish, but doesn't show up to the battle. At the same time, a mysterious man whose face is hidden by a helmet is fighting along side the King. When Wallace later goes after the King, the helmeted man knocks him off of his horse. The man's mask is removed, and it is Robert Bruce. He has betrayed his friend. Bruce changes his mind, and invites Wallace to a meeting with him where Wallace is tricked and captured. Bruce takes up arms with Wallace's army and defeats the English at the battle of Bannockburn (Braveheart, movie).

In my research, I was unable to find much information about Robert Bruce. I did find documentation that he was a friend of Wallace's, and shared similar political interests. Bruce also led Wallace's army in their victory at the Battle of Bannockburn (M. Campbell, 7). He was later crowned King of Scotland (Robert 1).

Edward I

The character of Edward I, played by Patrick



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