After the defeat of his cavalry at the Battle of Stirling, the English commander orders his "infantry" to advance. Infantry as a word was unknown anywhere in Europe in the thirteenth century. The term arose in sixteenth-century Spain, where Royal Princes - or Infantes - were given military commands, and their men became known as Infantería. The correct term should have been "Foot."
Wallace is asked to kiss the royal ensign, during his torture, but this is a rose. Edward 1 was a Plantagenet king who used the Fleur de Lys as their emblem. It was not until the Tudors, nearly 200 years later that the rose was used as a royal ensign.
After Morrison's wedding, the English noble arrives to claim the right of Prima Nocta. When Morrison attempts to fight, his bride calms him by whispering in his ear. While whispering, she is clearly saying, "It'll be OK". The term "OK" was not coined until the mid-19th century.
When some of the village men are about to tend to old Campbell's arrow wound with the aid of a jug of spirits, Campbell says, "It seems like a waste of good whisky." However, the production of "uisge beatha" did not begin in Scotland until about 200 years later.
At the funeral of William's father, purportedly around 1280, bagpipes are played at the funeral. William's uncle says they are "playing outlawed tunes on outlawed pipes." The bagpipes weren't introduced to Scotland until the early 1300's, and even then they were in a more basic form. The "banning" of the pipes wouldn't occur until 1745, more than 250 years after the movie takes place -- and even then, there is some dispute as to whether they were included in the ban as 'instruments of war.'
After Stephen (the Irish) volunteers to fight in William Wallace's army and says that he came to the right place, he laughs. At this moment, we can see that some of his upper molar teeth have modern amalgam fillings.
The film's narrator, Robert the Bruce, describes himself as the 17th person successively named Robert Bruce and the 17th Earl of Bruce. In reality, Robert the Bruce was the 7th Robert Bruce and the 7th Lord of Annandale.
Isabella of France and her retinue are shown speaking French while King Edward and everyone at the English court speak English. In fact, they all would have spoken the same language. Edward's native language was also French. English would not become the court language in England for another hundred years.
In the scene with young Wallace and Hamish hiding on the mountain as the English ride by, when the two stand up and throw rocks at the skulls, young Wallace throws the rocks with his left hand. Later when Wallace returns to the village and Hamish challenges him to the rock throwing contest, Wallace throws with his right hand.
At the battle of Stirling it shows Wallace begin the charge using a war hammer, the same one he used to spike the English cavalryman through the helmet with. The hammers were small and thin with a pick Axe head. It then cuts to the English overseeing the battle, then cuts back to Wallace charging with no sword in hand, he begins the charge and draws his Claymore. The movie cuts to another English scene again, and upon returning to Wallace charging into battle he has his sword nearly out. After another English vantage point he is brandishing the war hammer again and running from a side view. After one last English view, Wallace's Claymore is out and raised above his ahead as he and his men clash into the opposing army.
In the battle of Stirling a Scot is shot in the foot with an arrow. He screams and we assume that he has been defeated. During the next English archer attack the same Scotsman is shot again in the same place and yells the same way as before.
At the parlay with Wallace, Isabelle is shown wearing two different veils, a sheer tight one with a hemmed edge that covers her chin, and one thicker, looser one with a ragged edge that doesn't cover it.
Just before the Battle of Stirling, when Wallace rides up to intimidate the negotiating English commander, we can see the entire English army lined up behind up. In the next scene however, when we see just Wallace and the Englishman, the entire English army behind him has disappeared, except for a line of cavalrymen. This repeats itself.
At the Battle of Stirling, all the way up the point when the calvary charges, the area at the foot of the Scottish soldiers, as well as shots deep into the Scottish army, show no evidence of the large spears. Just as the calvary is nearly upon the Scottish army, there is suddenly lines and lines of the large spears on the ground.
When Longshanks opens the basket and lifts the head clear, he drops it back in the basket with the leather cover off. After he knocks Edward down he sits at the table and the leather cover is clearly on.
After the battle at Falkirk and after being beaten before he's taken captive, Wallace is obviously bloody and cut all over his face. When he is cleaned up after each, he only has one wound; the same exact diagonal scratch from his hairline.
During the battle of Stirling, you can clearly see that the stuntman (playing the English negotiating officer) that Wallace beheads after cutting down him from his horse changes in different shots before as he approaches on horseback.
In the village segment immediately following the first dialogue between Robert the Bruce and his father, Mad Stephen can be clearly seen fighting an English soldier behind Hamish. In a later scene, Stephen is introduced to Wallace and his followers as a complete stranger.
Just before the Battle of Falkirk, Edward is talking to Robert Bruce with a helmet on and The Bruce is on Edward's left. The camera angle changes to Edward's right side and The Bruce is on Edward's right. This happens two or three times.
In the scene with the spikes, as William Wallace is shouting hold, the camera cuts to a calvary point of view, and clearly see the spikes are up before Wallace gives the order. (This happens 2 or 3 times.)
When the horses are charging right before they jump over a little mound of earth, before they strike the long spikes of the Wallace's soldiers, you can see a car behind the horses after they jump. I have only seen this on the wide screen version of the movie.
The landscape in the opening credits and early scenes is the Western Highlands (specifically Glen Nevis) which look utterly unlike the Western Lowlands where Wallace grew up. Wallace never visited the Western Highlands.
Wallace and many other Scottish characters ride horses while dressed in kilts. Even in times and places where the kilt was genuinely worn (it wasn't worn anywhere in Scotland in Wallace's time, and at no time in history was it worn in Wallace's part of Scotland), men who expected to ride anywhere wore trews, not kilts, for the very good reason that it would have been an extremely painful and impractical experience; no underwear was ever worn under the kilt. Kilts were not invented until the 16th Century, more than 200 years after the events in this film.
The Battle of Stirling was actually the Battle of Stirling Bridge (September 11, 1297). The "spears" were far from a new idea and were not employed there. However, Wallace did divide the army, trapped the English cavalry on the bridge and the Infantry in the mud on each side. In their heavy armor, many of the English died by drowning in the mud.
The film shows King Edward I (the Longshanks) dying just before Wallace was beheaded. Wallace was executed on August 23, 1305. King Edward I died on July 7, 1307, while leading another invasion of Scotland.
At the funeral of Wallace's father, the child Murron plucks a thistle, the national flower of Scotland, and gives it to the boy Wallace. This is both physically impossible (every species of thistle in the British Isles is so prickly and so tough-stemmed that you could only wrench one from its stem wearing protective gloves) and symbolically absurd (the toughness and prickliness of the thistle is its whole point as a symbol of Scottishness).
The film depicts William Wallace as having an affair with Isabella, the wife of Edward II, and implies that he fathered her child, the future King Edward III of England. In reality, Isabella was only two years old at the time the film depicts the affair happening. She would not marry Edward until three years after Wallace's death and her son, the future king, was not born until seven years after Wallace's death.
Although the closing narration talks about the Scots winning their "freedom" at the Battle of Bannockburn, the peace treaty of 1328 only lasted for a few years before the Battle of Halidon Hill where King Edward III conquered far more of Scotland than his grandfather ever had.
When William Wallace is seen in action during the first fight (Battle of Stirling Bridge) he is seen performing cuts & slashes that is practicably impossible to perform with his very long two-handed sword (called a claymore).
Sir William Wallace was already a knight and a minor member of the Scottish nobility (mostly owing to his father, Sir Malcolm Wallace) even before the Battle of Stirling Bridge, which is not depicted in the film.
The film depicts a longstanding English occupation of Scotland, implying that it existed since at least Wallace's childhood. However, the English occupation began only the year before Wallace's rebellion.
This is neither a biopic nor a historical documentary but is, rather, a romantic fiction inspired by true events. Many of the "real" characters and events have been deliberately reinterpreted to suit the story, as have some details of costume and custom. Despite this, Both Randall Wallace (writer) and Mel Gibson (director and star) consistently touted this film as "history" and "historical fact" when it was released.
English in the 13th century was drastically different from modern English. The characters in the movie, however, speak modern English, which naturally includes a huge amount of vocabulary not used in Wallace's time. This is clearly an artistic decision, not a mistake. Think of it as a "translation" of what they were "really" saying.
As Murron tries to escape on the horse we can see the blood spatter all around her mouth prior to being struck by the staff (and knocked from the horse).
In the events preceding her escape, she bit a chunk of flesh from the cheek of one of the Englishmen who was attempting to rape her. This is were the blood came from.
During the Battle of Stirling, as Wallace meets up with Mornay (on horse), an English soldier in the background is run through by a spear. He acts out the injury, turns around, and continues fighting, as if nothing was wrong.
When we first see Edinburgh, where Robert the Bruce welcomes the council of nobles, a stable boy in a red tunic is standing behind Bruce, Mornay, and Craig. The scene takes place in 1296. When Wallace is captured in 1305, we see the same boy in the same tunic, and he hasn't aged.
The "thistle bloom" that young Murron gave to young William at the funeral was clearly a silk flower - no surprise then that when William produced it many years later to show Murron that it was still bright (and silky shiny) purple and green, rather than dull and crumbly.
When William Wallace rides into Mornay's bed chamber on the horse and jumps into the water, you can see how the horse floats, it being a fake horse. Also, the horse falls into the water upside down, which a real horse would not do.
At the end of the first battle, when William Wallace is standing looking upon the field, the nobleman arrives on his horse to salute Wallace because of their victory. In the background, an Englishman and a Scot are fighting. They are obviously doing a repeated sequence where the Englishman pushes his sword across the Scot, a mortal blow, and the Scot just turns around and continues the sequence as if nothing happened.
Just after Wallace realizes Robert the Bruce was fighting with the English, he is lying on the ground with an arrow in his chest. The piece of shaft gets caught on his hair and it moves around freely showing that it isn't really in his chest, just maybe stuck to his shirt.
After Wallace makes love to Isabelle he rides off and is then part of a group riding down a long and winding road. Far off in the distance (at the bottom of the hill) a car or van can be seen moving towards the camera.
Wallace's black, modern day underpants can be briefly glimpsed during the scene before Murron gets her throat slit. He jumps up onto the roof of a hut when he is being chased, and they can be clearly seen.
When Nicolette is telling Isabelle (the Princess of Wales) about Wallace taking Murron's body to a secret place, Isabelle is sitting leaning forward. Isabelle then sighs, sits up straight and leans her head against the post that is to her right. Immediate cut back to Nicolette, and Isabelle is leaning forward again as Nicolette reaches out to hug her.
As Wallace approaches the fortress on horseback to avenge the death of his wife the camera shows his hand behind his head underneath his hair grasping the weapon he uses to hit the guard. As the angle changes his hand appears outside his hair and then underneath again as he pulls the weapon.
In the scene where Murron has her throat slit, William's face is splattered with blood, then at her funeral his face is clean, but in the scene after her funeral his face is again splattered with blood.
When Princess Isabelle visits William Wallace in the dungeon, she orders the gaoler (jailer) to leave the room, and he pulls the door closed slightly. This is viewed with an over-the-shoulder angle from Wallace. The shot then cuts to the Princess, then back to the over-the-shoulder shot, where we see the door is open farther than where the gaoler pulled it closed.
During the execution scene, the executioner, ready to behead Wallace, raises his axe over his head with both hands. The movie cuts from him. When the movie cuts back to him, he has the axe raised over his right shoulder rather than over his head.
After William is shot by an arrow at Falkirk, he breaks the arrow, leaving the shaft in his chest. When he is shown lying back onto the grass, the shaft is gone, but then it returns again in later shots.
When Steven pulls the sword out of Faudron's chest and exits camera right, if you slow down the action you can clearly see that the sword is cut off almost to the hilt with two male nipples sticking out of the sword that were inserted into obviously two holes in a chest plate on Faudron to appear as though the sword was deeply embedded in his chest.