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BRAVEHEART (1995) - R

A rousing historical epic about Scottish independence from the ruthless British King Edward "The Longshanks" who, in attempting to inherit the Scottish crown for himself, rapes and pillages many a Scottish town. When the young William Wallace sees his entire family killed off by the English, he is left under the care of his uncle. Raised to be a humble, hard working, albeit cultured man, Wallace reurns to his hometown, Elderslie, Scottland years later a grown man. Marrying his childhood sweetheart, upon her wrongful death, Wallace sets out on a bloody quest for vengeance. Along the way, he attracts and inspires bands of helpless Scots. Together, Wallace and his Scotsmen set out fighting against England for their freedom. Political complications involving the beautiful Queen of France, an allegedly homosexual heir to the English throne, and the Welsh sects of the British Isles ensue in this classic, historic epic based on the legend/ history of one man who dared to inspire a country to believe that, above all, there is no greater gift than that of freedom.

This blockbuster features an A-list cast, including Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan, Brendan Gleeson, David O' Hara, and Ian Bannen.

Ten Oscar nominations; 5 wins (1995's Best Picture, Director, Cinematography, Makeup, Sound Effects Editing)

Director Mel Gibson's BRAVEHEART, is a sweeping, stirring historical epic.

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"They may take our lives, but they cannot take our freedom"

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The basic story chronicles the life and battles of William Wallace, a 13th century Scottish rebel warrior. After losing a loved one, to the cruel policies of the English monarchy, Wallace wages a very personal, and very bloody rebellion against King Edward The First of England.

While there was no love between the Scots and the ruling English, at the beginning of this film, King Edward makes things intolerable for many when he gives the English nobility, the cruel right of "Prima Nocta," that allows them to sleep with all new brides on their first wedding night. Wallace's wife, Murron, (Catherine McCormack) is taken by Lord Bottoms, (Rupert Vansittart) and winds up getting executed by the magistrate, when she fights off a rape by a British soldier. The birth of a rebellion is the result. Tired of a "hundred years of murder, theft and rape," William Wallace transforms from peaceful farmer to a brutal leader of the fight for independence, with Robert the Bruce there to help him. Wallace: "It's all for nothing if you don't have freedom."

In addition to Gibson, there's great support, particularly from Patrick McGoohan, Sophie Marceau as Princess Isabelle, and Brendan Gleeson, as Hamish.

Patrick McGoohan gives a fine performance as the dastardly cruel, King Edward The First.

The film won Oscars for Best Picture, Cinematography, Makeup, and Sound Effects Editing. Gibson, with only his second directing effort "The Man Without A Face" (1993). In addition, Marvelous Mel gives one of his best, most passionate acting performances ever.

The film was shot on location at European locations. These harsh, wind swept sites really help sell the period setting.

Naturally, the battle scenes are exciting and memorable but so are many of the other, more personal scenes. A touching moment is when young Murron gives a flower to the boy William Wallace, after his father is buried, after being killed fighting the British.

The majestic musical score stirs the emotions. James Horner is the responsible party.

If you enjoyed BRAVEHEART you may like LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, THE PATRIOT, THE MASK OF ZORRO, GLADIATOR, and/or THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD.