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Braveheart (1995) Poster

(1995)

Trivia

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"Braveheart" was actually the nickname of Robert the Bruce, not William Wallace.
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.
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."
Although playing father and son, James Cosmo and Brendan Gleeson are only seven years apart in age.
Mel Gibson initially turned down the role of William Wallace, as he felt he was too old for the part. However, he could only get financing for the film if he agreed with Paramount studios to play the lead role.
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."
The extras used for the battle scenes were mostly members of the F.C.A., the reserve Irish army. As they were drawn from many different army companies, and the members of these are usually drawn from the same locality, local rivalry between such companies is common. Apparently, some of the battle scenes seen in the movie are far more realistic than you might imagine, with rival companies actually using the occasion to try the beat the lard out of each other.
Many Scots were offended by the film's portrayal of Robert the Bruce, who is considered a National Hero of Scotland (along with Wallace).
Mel Gibson was on the set of Ransom (1996) when both Braveheart (1995) and Apollo 13 (1995) were nominated for Best Picture. He pulled a prank on Apollo 13 (1995) director Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer by giving them an ad in which Braveheart (1995) was considered for 'Best Moon Shot'. The accompanying picture was a shot of the Scottish army mooning the English.
Several of the major battle scenes had to be re-shot, as extras were seen wearing sunglasses and wristwatches.
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.
Although Mel Gibson was nearly 40, his character was supposed to be in his twenties.
Writer 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. As the sequence was first written, Murron gave William a rose (rather than a thistle) at his father's burial; however, someone who read the script helpfully pointed out that the rose, being a traditional symbol of England, would be (to say the least) somewhat inappropriate as a prominent feature in the story.
Screenwriter 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.
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, rather than on.
Director/producer Mel Gibson was investigated by an animal welfare organization, who were convinced that the fake horses used were real. Only when one of his assistants provided some videotaped footage of the location shooting were they convinced otherwise.
Mel Gibson has said he would give five dollars to anyone who could spot the fake horses in the final film. Reportedly he has not had to make good on the wager.
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.
Primae noctis has never been used in the entire history of the British Isles. It would have encouraged rebellions in newly-conquered territories that were already difficult to govern.
The film is often cited as the least accurate historical epic of all time.
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 romanticised 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."
King Edward I was called "The Longshanks" (long legs) since he was uncommonly tall for a man of the time. Edward I was at least 6 feet, 2 inches.
The sacking of York was invented for the movie. Wallace never got as far south as York during his invasion of northern England.
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.
The battle of Stirling took six weeks to film; roughly half a million feet of film (90+ hours) were shot for the sequence.
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.
Real life Wallaces are extras in the movie. Mel Gibson also stayed with them during the course of the film to learn history.
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 rumour that Sophie Marceau was the daughter of noted French mime Marcel Marceau.
Among the films Gibson watched in order to prepare to direct "Braveheart" were Polanski's Macbeth (1971), _Spartacus_, 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.
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 David O'Hara, a Scot.
William Wallace's father was actually a minor noble man.
The 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 Gaelic speaking at this time in history.
The film is set from 1296 to 1305.
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 role.
It was decided to show the Irish joining forces with the Scots as modern audiences might have found it confusing to see the Irish on the same side as the English.
Prince Edward (later King Edward II) was indeed the first English prince to carry the title Prince of Wales, although he did not marry Princess Isabella until 1308, after both Wallace (1305) and Edward I (1307) had died.
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 the producers said they would finance the film if he played the lead role.
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 Gaelic 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.
Blue body paint (Woad) for battles had stopped being used around the end of the Roman era - roughly 800 years before the events of the film.
James Horner's score was also used in several of the trailers for Cast Away (2000); some parts of his score appear in both Apollo 13 (1995) as well as in Braveheart (1995) which were released only a month apart.
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 1600 were used on a given day.
The film was criticized for not mentioning that Scotland was allied with France and Norway against England.
More than 90% of the movie is fiction.
English soldiers had no uniform during the Scots Wars of Independence.
Randall Wallace had very little historical evidence to work with in regard to William Wallace's life; he has noted that even 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 15th-century romantic poem by the Scottish writer Henry the Minstrel ("Blind Harry") in constructing his story.
While the movie took great care to depict several groups all dressed alike in their representative tartans (the plaid pattern on the kilts), the use of clan tartans and any organized rules for kilts and patterns was a Victorian invention, much later than the time of the movie.
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.
Sean Connery turned down the role of King Edward I because he was filming Just Cause (1995).
Shortly after Wallace is knighted, an elderly member of Clan Balliol (portrayed 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.
Single frames of film were removed at strategic points in the battles in order to produce a jarring, startling effect.
Mel Gibson originally wanted Jason Patric to play William Wallace.
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 during the Eighth and Ninth Crusades.
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.
Nearly all of the movie was filmed in Ireland, apart from a few scenes of the Scottish Highlands.
Although the majority of the characters in the film are Scottish, the actors portraying them were mostly drawn from non-Scottish parts of the UK (exceptions to this rule include Angus Macfadyen (Robert the Bruce) and Brian Cox (Argyle)). Ironically, the one Irish character in the film (Stephen), is played by Scots-born David O'Hara.
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).
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. It is strongly disputed whether Edward II, who fathered at least five children, was either 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 allegedly Edward II's lover although he was also married and many historians believe these were just rumours 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 Prince of Wales (the future King Edward II) was made much older for the film so he could be portrayed as a homosexual.
The movie implies Scotland was under English occupation when Wallace was a child. However the invasion only began in 1296, the year before his rebellion started.
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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.
It has been claimed that the success of this film contributed to the rise in support for Scottish devolution in the late 1990s, although others downplay the effect this film had on the referendum.
Mel Gibson declined to grow a beard in order to play Wallace.
Two weeks before he picked up two Oscars for Best Film and Best Director, Mel Gibson was in hospital undergoing an emergency appendectomy.
The men hanging are real actors. They hung from harnesses all day to shoot the scene.
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Tommy Flanagan's scar is real. It's known as a Glaswegian Smile or Glaswegian Grin.
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Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
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Warrior extras earned just $300 per week and regularly worked 14 hour days.
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Catherine McCormack claimed that she still gets asked, "What's it like to kiss Mel Gibson?"
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No one knows if Wallace actually spoke to the Scots before this battle. Randall Wallace said, "I wrote what gave me goose bumps."
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Mel Gibson brought in actual members of the Wallace clan as extras. They're standing around Wallace during the opening shots of battles.
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The movie has been accused of promoting Anglophobia.
The first day of shooting was June 6th, 1994, which was the 50th anniversary of D-Day.
Voted the worst film to win an Oscar by "Empire" magazine in 2005.
The castle (King John's castle, Trim, Co. Meath, Ireland) where a lot of the scenes were shot, was also used to film scenes for The Big Red One (1980).
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Mel Gibson turned down the roles of James Bond in GoldenEye (1995), Two-Face in Batman Forever (1995) and Simon Templar in The Saint (1997) due to his commitment to this film.
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Randall Wallace originally didn't know what William should hand Murron. When he remembered the thistle, he knew it was perfect.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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The Irish and Scottish extras refused to fight each other, so the script was changed.
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Mel Gibson jokingly predicted critics would call the movie "Mad Mac." He was right.
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In order to focus on directing, Mel Gibson would rarely spend long in front of the camera. Most of his scenes were done in 2 or 3 takes.
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After months of filming battle scenes, the worst injury suffered on set was a broken nose.
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Instead of using digital effects, Mel Gibson decided to film real arrows flying through the air.
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That massive wooden gate doesn't just look heavy. It was built by the crew and weighed 7 tons.
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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. Wallace brushes off claims of the movie's historical inaccuracy by saying that the script is only his dramatic interpretation.
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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)).
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One hundred and five consecutive days on location took a toll on Mel Gibson's body. He said that this film was more physically taxing than shooting three Lethal Weapon movies in a row.
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Angus Macfadyen was originally called to audition for Prince Edward. At the audition, he asked to play The Bruce and got the job.
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Wallace was actually shot in the throat, but the producers didn't think anyone would believe it.
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In the original script, the Scots don't see the Irish coming.
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With 1,400 extras for some scenes, it took close to 4 hours to get everyone through costume and makeup.
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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."
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Aside from school plays, James Robinson (Young William) had never acted before. Andrew Weir (Young Hamish) suggested Robinson for the role.
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The first shot in the movie was the first shot that Mel Gibson filmed.
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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 makeup artist, Lois Burwell, suggested the now iconic half-face-covering design.
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The tattoo that William has on his arm can be seen covered by his war paint.
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The film had so many complicated fight scenes that Mel Gibson hired two stunt coordinators for the job.
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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.
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As director, Mel Gibson did all the casting for the movie but never asked anyone to read the script.
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Mel Gibson cites Spartacus (1960) as one of the influences for the film. The story of Wallace parallels that of Spartacus. Both men struggled against foreign rulers. The Big Country (1958) also served as an inspiration.
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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.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

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 a 19th Century American Poet whose name was William Ross Wallace, famous for writing the poem "The Hand That Rocks The Cradle Is The Hand That Rules The World", who is of no relation to the William Wallace in the film.
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."
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.
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 these people standing over me."
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