History vs Braveheart
Did William Wallace really look like the photo above? No, not at all. The 5'11, small statured, clean shaving Mel Gibson doesn't look like the well over 6', large statured and bearded William Wallace of history. Released in 1995, Braveheart brought foward the story of William Wallace to an international noteriety. Starring Mel Gibson as Scotland's greatest ever Patriot hero and written by Randell Wallace, the film did very well, winning 5 Academy Awards including Best picture (1995). I myself enjoyed the film, as a FILM. As a historian, I'm less pleased by it. As usual with Hollywood when portraying the story of a historical character, the film had its innacuracies, some bearable, some ludicrous. Gibsons portrayal was in one way, good, as in he put a lot of effort into it and did portray Wallace's dedicated and patriotic warrior side. However Gibson at times was far too one dimensional and pshycotic, in other words, at several times in the movie, Gibson looked like his Lethal Weapon character Martin Riggs in Drag with his screaching and screaming. Also, would it have killed Mel to grow a beard for the role? Still, the film itself brought William Wallace to international noteriety and resurging many scottish peoples patriotism and rememberence of their Hero. To many that is more than worth it, however many wonder how accurate the film actually was, here are my Braveheart historical innacuracies...
The Historical Innacuracies in Braveheart.........
- The Film starts in 1280, with the king of Scots dead and Edward I having invaded Scotland and claiming the throne for himself.............In reality, King of Scots Alexander III was still alive and well in 1280, he did not die until 1286.Edward I did not impose himself on Scotland until 1290 when he was invited to judge on the claimants to the throne. Edward I never actually claimed the throne himself but after demanding all candidates for King recognise him as the supreme leader of Scotland, placed John Balliol on the Scottish throne to be used as a puppet king. Edward would strip Balliol of his crown in 1296 after the war between the Scottish and English breaks out.
- In the Film William Wallace’s father is Malcolm Wallace whom is later killed along with young William’s brother John, after which William’s uncle Argyle adopts the young boy.............. In reality, We now know that William Wallace’s father’s name was Alan Wallace, not Malcolm, and he would not have been killed when William was a boy, in fact he was likely alive when William was fighting his rebellion. William had a brother named Malcolm though, in addition to his brother John. His brother John Wallace however was not killed when William was a boy, he was executed by the English in 1306, a year after William’s execution. Uncle Argyle was a fictional character, although an uncle or two may have indeed help educate William as a boy.
- In the film, William Wallace returns to Scotland about 1296, a man, after years of being away, visiting Rome with his uncle etc.............In reality, Pure fiction, Wallace in all accounts grew up in Scotland and likely never left his native land at any point as a child or youth. In fact he likely never left Scotland until his invasion of Northern England in 1297.
- In the Film, Edward I grants prima-nocte in Scotland, in which when any common girl inhabiting Scotland would be married, English lords would have sexual rights to her on the first night of her wedding...........In reality, Pure Fiction, it never happened.
- In the Film, Edward II marries Isabella of France around 1296, before Wallace’s rebellion starts............In reality, Edward II did not marry Isabella of France until 1308, three years after Wallace’s death!
- In the film, Robert the Bruce is the 17th Robert Bruce and his father is dying of Leprosy..............In reality, Robert the Bruce was in fact the 7th Robert Bruce and his father was not dying of Leprosy.
- In the Film, William Wallace has no intention of fighting the English or freeing his country until his wife Murron is killed................In reality, If indeed there was a girlfriend/spouse/wife of Wallace’s whom was killed it would have fuelled his anger even more, however he was already an outlaw against the English before she would have been killed. Wallace had refused to sign the Ragman Roll from the very beginning, even before his supposed wife had been killed, he was opposed to English rule.
- In the film, Wallace falls in love with Murron, and secretly weds her. After which she is killed and William gets revenge on the Sheriff and English who cut her throat by cutting his................In reality, Wallace may have indeed fell in love with and married a young woman, although her name wouldn’t have been Murron, legend says her name was Marion Braidfute. Of course there is no solid evidence that Wallace was ever married to a Marion Braidfute or any woman for that matter, but it is a possibility. After the supposed spouse/wife of Wallace was killed in Lanark, Wallace gathered a bunch of men and did indeed wreak havoc on Sheriff William Heselrig and his English guards. After advancing on the town, Wallace is said to have cut the Sheriff to pieces with his sword, not cut his throat, and he and his band proceeded to burn two houses with the English guards inside.
- In the film, Wallace’s best friends are Hamish and his ornery father Campbell and Stephen of Ireland...............In reality, Amish and Campbell are fictional characters. Legend says that Wallace did have a close friend called Stephen of Ireland. Legend states however that Wallace’s closest friend was a man known as Kerly. Of course there is no solid evidence that either Stephen of Ireland or Kerly really existed.
- In the film, Wallace joins with the highlanders led by Nobles Craig, Lochlan and Mornay before the battle of Stirling..................In reality, William Wallace and his men joined forces with the rebels under Andrew de Moray at Dundee in 1297 before the battle of Stirling. Craig, Lachlan and Mornay were fictional characters; they never existed, although several Nobles did assist Wallace and Moray at the battle.
- In the Film, the battle of Stirling takes place upon an open field, during which Wallace and his men use schiltrons to repel the English cavalry.....................In reality, The battle of Stirling Bridge took place at a bridge not an open field and the Scots didn’t use schiltrons to repel the English cavalry until Falkirk. The filmmaker’s doing the battle of Stirling Bridge without an actual bridge was rather ludicrous, the whole key to the battle was the Scots charging down on the English as they were in the process of still crossing the bridge and unprepared and became too hemmed in after the battle begun and limited their mobility as the Scots cut them down.
- In the film, after the Battle of Stirling the Scottish Nobility name Wallace as Guardian of Scotland and grant him knighthood after which Wallace proceeds to invade Northern England..................In reality, After the battle of Stirling Bridge, the Scottish Nobility named both William Wallace and Andrew de Moray as Joint Guardians of Scotland. But Wallace was not given knighthood until after his invasion of Northern England. During Wallace’s invasion, Andrew de Moray died from wounds sustained at Stirling, when Wallace returned he was made sole Guardian of Scotland.
- In the film, Wallace sacks the Northern England city of York during his invasion of Northern England......................In reality, Wallace did indeed invade Northern England after his victory at Stirling Bridge, but he did not sack or even approach the city of York. Instead he and the Scots raided Northumberland, including the towns Corbridge, Hexam, Cumberland, Durham and Carlisle. They raided for both needed supplies and for revenge.
- In the Film, the French Princess is sent by Edward Longshanks to buy off Wallace at York................In reality, Complete bollocks, it never happened, there was no attempt by Edward to bribe Wallace, and the princess was about 5 or 6 years old at the time.
- In the Film, at the battle of Falkirk Wallace and the Scots are betrayed buy Nobles Mornay and Locklan and Robert the Bruce.........................In reality, Wallace may have been betrayed by the Noblemen under John Comyn, although there is no solid evidence of this, but not by fictional characters Mornay and Locklan. Comyn and his noble cavalry did indeed flee the field however, either by betrayal or fear, leaving the Scottish ranks of Schiltrons to be slaughtered by English arrows. Bruce however did not betray Wallace at Falkirk, he wasn’t even there. Although Bruce did pay homage to Edward I and fight on the English side after 1302, three years after the battle of Falkirk.
- In the Film, Robert the Bruce makes his diplomatic moves and choices under the advice of his pushy leper father......................In reality, Robert the Bruce was quite capable of making his own decisions and choices.
- In the film, after Falkirk Wallace stays in Scotland and kills Mornay and Lochlan in revenge for their betrayal................In reality, Mornay and Locklan never existed, the revenge killings never happened, nor did Wallace make an attempt to kill John Comyn who if not betrayed him, abandoned him at Falkirk. After Falkirk, Wallace departed for France and Rome to argue the Scottish cause.
- In the Film, Wallace beds down with the fully grown sweet and kind French Princess................In reality, This is the most ludicrous inaccuracy of all, Wallace and the French Princess never even met, let alone became involved, nor could they have been as the French Princess was only 7 or 8 years old at the time. Indecently the French Princess was not sweet and kindly, nicknamed the She Wolf of France, she was quite vicious and later had her incompetent homosexual husband Edward II killed and launched her own invasion of Scotland with her son Edward III.
- In the Film, Wallace is captured by the English in Edinburgh after Noble Craig and Robert the Bruce’s leper father betray him.................In reality, Wallace was captured by the English at Rob Royston near Glasgow after being betrayed by John Menteith, who was a Scotsman. Craig never existed and The Bruce’s father died in 1304, a year before Wallace’s capture.
- In the Film, Isabella of France tells Edward I that her child is not of Edwards’s line....................In reality, Complete garbage, Isabella’s child, Edward III would have been Edward II’s, of their line.
- In the Film, Wallace is executed by only being hung until semi conscious, stretched, then disembowelled and beheaded. His head is then sat on London Bridge and his arms and legs sent to the four corners of Britain as a warning..................In reality, All true, except they left out the parts where Wallace was drawn behind horses for 5 miles or so, then hung, stretched, disembowelled, castrated, his heart, lungs and organs torn out and then finally beheaded and quartered. His head was indeed sat on a spike on London Bridge, however his arms and legs were sent to the leading towns of Scotland as a warning, not Britain.
- In the Film, Edward I dies as Wallace is being executed..................In reality, Edward I died in 1307, two years after Wallace’s death.
- In the Film, after Wallace’s execution, Robert the Bruce rides out to pay homage to the Armies of the English King, and accept his endorsement of his crown, however he has a sudden change of heart, and the Scots charge the fields of Bannockburn, and won their freedom.......................In reality, Robert the Bruce never rode to pay homage and accept any endorsement. After ending his submission toe England and slaying his rival to the throne John Comyn, Bruce had himself crowned King of Scots in 1306. After which he fought off the English for the next 20 years, indeed leading the Scots to victory at Bannockburn in 1314, 9 years after Wallace’s death. At Bannockburn they did indeed fight like warrior poets, and fight like Scotsman, and did win their freedom.