Braveheart (1995)
November 1, 2022 2:04 PM - Subscribe

Enraged at the murder of a loved one, Scottish warrior William Wallace (Mel Gibson) slays a platoon of the local English lord's soldiers. This leads the village to revolt and, eventually, the entire country to rise up against English rule.

Also starring Catherine McCormack, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan, Angus Macfadyen, Brendan Gleeson, James Robinson, James Cosmo, Sean McGinley, Gerda Stevenson, Mhairi Calvey, Jeanne Marine, Sean Lawlor, Sandy Nelson, Alan Tall, Andrew Weir, Brian Cox, Peter Hanly, Stephen Billington, Tommy Flanagan.

Directed by Mel Gibson. Written by Randall Wallace.

75% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Currently streaming in the US on HBO Max and Showtime. JustWatch listing.

Today, I'm going to post a bunch of movies that are probelmatic and/or made by/starring problematic people, but also either: have merit/are acclaimed; won some awards; are very popular; have a certain amount of cultural cachet. I'll be tagging these #problematicmovies.

In this case... it's primarily a Mel Gibson thing. (I, as well, am not a fan.) Although there are historical inaccuracies in this film that drive many nice people up a wall, and those may come up, too.
posted by DirtyOldTown (15 comments total)

there are historical inaccuracies in this film that drive many nice people up a wall
I'm not even particularly nice...

but I am a Medievalist and very annoying to watch this movie with.
posted by supermedusa at 2:24 PM on November 1, 2022 [10 favorites]

Mel aside, accuracy aside, Braveheart hasn't held up well for me. Everything is a bit much and tiresome to rewatch.
posted by Stuka at 2:38 PM on November 1, 2022 [2 favorites]

Stuka that was always an issue for me with this movie. they took a really fascinating, exciting, dramatic slice of history and tarted it up with Hollywood exaggerations and overkill. like, why? (I know why...)
posted by supermedusa at 2:50 PM on November 1, 2022 [2 favorites]

That Stewart Lee bit is fantastic. He begins by baiting a Scottish crowd by calling the film shit, runs quickly through three factual inaccuracies, but then, hilariously, digs in on the third--that real version of the French princess Wallace has sex with in the film was four years old when he died--positing that maybe that is true and Wallace is just a horrific pedophile.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:57 PM on November 1, 2022 [6 favorites]

Just to add to DirtyOldTown's point- the fact Lee is taking the piss out of a Scottish national hero, in Glasgow (traditionally considered a tough crowd) with an English accent is amazing. The crowd is laughing as much in disbelief at his chutzpah and control of them, as the material itself.
posted by Gratishades at 3:17 PM on November 1, 2022 [11 favorites]

For me, this movie was artfully made in some ways, but was always kind of dadbait, just Very Important Man Mythologizing all the way around.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 3:20 PM on November 1, 2022 [4 favorites]

Now that my brain has been cooking on it, I realize Braveheart's biggest problem for me is that it's about the wrong people. Longshanks, his son, and the princess are all far more interesting than Wallace and his collection of Alpha Male Warrior Poets. I'll rewatch The Lion in Winter anyday over Braveheart.
posted by Stuka at 3:32 PM on November 1, 2022 [4 favorites]

I haven't seen it since it first came out on video and while I enjoyed it then, I have no real reason to watch it again. Apollo 13 should have won best picture.
posted by octothorpe at 4:50 PM on November 1, 2022 [2 favorites]

I remember thinking how amazing the battle sequences were when it first came out. If I recall correctly, I think that it was a return to large scale battle scenes that had gone out of style at the time. Also remember thinking that it felt more realistically gritty.

I look at it now and I think it looks like fight choreography from a music video.

But then again, most fight scenes depicting battles from the past look like music video fighting- running toward an entrenched enemy with no plan (dumb), and then sloppy slow-motion dance-movey gesticulation.

And also his hair is ridiculous. It just didn't register at the time. I don't remember wondering how much hair spray they used to tease Gibson's wig into shape. I guess that was just the water we were swimming in.
posted by ishmael at 6:02 PM on November 1, 2022

My strongest memory of seeing this in the theater is that, looking around, I could see that most of the audience was crying during the torture scenes, including the tough-looking young men seated down the row from me.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:08 PM on November 1, 2022

Totally worth watching just for Patrick McGoohan. It blew my mind when I realized years after the movie came out that Longshanks was the same person as #6.
posted by LionIndex at 8:14 PM on November 1, 2022 [5 favorites]

I liked this when it came out, but that was half my lifetime ago (OK, more) and I like to think I've aged better than it. An interesting period in history retold inaccurately in the service of Alpha Man myth for the star.

Still has some lines I quote now and then though, like "Guess we didn't get dressed up for nuthin'".
posted by nubs at 9:09 PM on November 1, 2022

Also I feel like a lotta Jan 6 types aspire to live like this movie. Self-serving, violent cosplay mugging for the camera. Any time I hear a nutjob invoke "freeedom" I wince a little on their behalf.
posted by ishmael at 10:41 PM on November 1, 2022 [3 favorites]

I went to watch this multiple times in the theatre, culminating in the outing with a group of friends to the cheap theatre where a pair of us did our faces up with blue and white make-up only to find the film was sold out and we ended up sitting through a Hugh Grant rom-com instead. This was a life lesson, I've never watched Braveheart since though I still like to mutter "aye, some of you will die" on occasion.
posted by elkevelvet at 2:01 PM on November 2, 2022 [3 favorites]

« Older Movie: The Man with Two Brains...   |  Movie: Million Dollar Baby... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments