Director: Mel Gibson
Cast: Mel Gibson, Brendan Gleeson, Brian Cox, Catherine McCormack, Patrick McGoohan
Synopsis: In the 13th Century England, after several years of political unrest in Scotland, the land is open to an invasion from the south, King Edward I of England (Patrick McGoohan), nicknamed Longshanks, has decided to conquer Scotland. After invading Scotland Longshanks arranges a meeting with the Scottish nobles to discuss terms of peace. Local farmer Malcolm Wallace and his son John are heading to find out the terms set out by Longshanks but they arrive to find all of the nobles slaughtered finally learning his notion of peace. In a rage Wallace and other local farmers try to attack the English leaving both Malcolm and John dead with his youngest son William (Mel Gibson) who is now to be raised by his uncle Argyle (Brian Cox). Years later there is still unrest in Scotland so Longshanks decides to invoke Prima Noctae which gives English lords the right to the first night with any newly wed Scots in an attempt to “breed them out” of Scotland. This also coincides with the return of William from his travels with Argyle where he is met by his old friend Hamish (Brendan Gleeson) and the love of his life Murron (Catherine McCormack). When he secretly marries Murron to avoid the Prima Noctae they are not able to hide there affections very long and she is attacked by an English soldier and William intervenes and they both try to flee. Murron is not able to escape and the English lord in charge of that region decides to make an example of her and slits her throat in front of the entire village. This sets Wallace off on a personal war against the English which inspires many more to join his cause in making it a free Scotland.
Trivia: There is an in-joke in the film that William Wallace’s private time with Isabella led to the conception of Edward III. This could not have been the case, since Edward III was born almost ten years after Wallace died. Mel Gibson was on the set of Ransom when both Braveheart and Apollo 13 were nominated for Best Picture. He pulled a prank on Apollo director Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer by giving them an ad in which Braveheart was considered for ‘Best Moon Shot’. The accompanying picture was a shot of the Scottish army mooning the English.
Why I think you should see this: Mel Gibson is an interesting man he is a very talented actor and director but a reasonably shitty person but if you can separate the man from his movies theres a lot to appreciate about him. This film is his masterpiece and it is one of the best films of 1995. Mel gives his best performance and Patrick McGoohan makes for a despicable enemy in Longshanks. This is a great film so check it out sometime.