Braveheart is a 1995 American epic war movie directed by Mel Gibson, who stars as William Wallace, a late 13th century Scottish warrior who led the Scots in the First War of Scottish Independence against King Edward I of England. The story is inspired by Blind Harry’s epic war poem The Actes and Deidis of the Illustre and Valleyeant Campioun Schir William Wallace and was adapted for the screen by Randall Wallace. Take a look below for 30 more interesting and fascinating facts about Braveheart.
1. Braveheart was nominated for 10 Academy Awards at the 68th Academy Awards and won five: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Makeup and Best Sound Editing.
2. Although they’re playing father and son, James Cosmo and Brendan Gleeson are only seven years apart in age.
3. In an October, 2009, interview with The Daily Mail, Mel Gibson admitted that the movie was heavily fictitious, but claimed that the changes had been made for dramatic purposes. He also admitted that he had always felt he was at least a decade too old to play Wallace.
4. Mel Gibson initially turned down the role of William Wallace, as he felt he was too old for the part. However, Paramount Pictures would only finance the movie if Gibson played the lead role, so he agreed.
5. Although Mel Gibson was nearly 40 at the time, his character was supposed to be in his 20s.
6. When asked by a local why the Battle of Stirling Bridge was filmed on an open plain, Mel Gibson answered that, “the bridge got in the way.” “Aye,” the local answered, “That’s what the English found.”
7. Many Scots were offended by the movie’s portrayal of Robert the Bruce, who, along with William Wallace, is considered a national hero.
8. Several of the major battle scenes had to be re-shot, as extras were seen wearing sunglasses and wristwatches.
9. Mel Gibson was investigated by an animal welfare organization, which was convinced that the fake horses used were real. Only when one of Gibson’s assistants provided some videotaped footage of the location shooting were they convinced otherwise.
10. The mechanical horses designed for the battle sequences weighed 200 pounds and were fueled by nitrogen cylinders propelling them at 30 miles per hour on 20 foot tracks.
11. William Wallace’s real wife was named Marian. However, it’s believed that the name was changed to “Murron” to avoid confusion with the Robin Hood character of the same name.
12. Braveheart is often cited as the least accurate historical epic of all time.
13. William Wallace’s two most trusted captain throughout the movie are Hamish, who is Scottish, and Stephen, who is Irish. Hamish was played by Irish actor Brendan Gleeson and Stephen by Scottish actor David O’Hara.
14. Braveheart was criticized for not mentioning that Scotland was allied with France and Norway against England.
15. The Battle of Stirling took 6 weeks to film. Roughly half a million feet of film was shot for the sequence.
16. Real-life Wallace’s are extras in the movie. Mel Gibson also stayed with them during the course of the movie to learn their history.
17. In reality, the Irish fought against Wallace. 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.
18. Nearly all of Braveheart was filmed in Ireland, apart from a few scenes of the Scottish Highlands.
19. Brian Cox, who plays Argyle Wallace, was first offered a bigger role, but took the role of Argyle because he felt it was a better one.
20. Sean Connery turned down the role of King Edward I because he was filming Just Cause.
21. Mel Gibson originally wanted Jason Patric to play William Wallace.
22. Princess Isabella didn’t set foot in England until 1903, therefore, she couldn’t have been in England to warn William Wallace about the upcoming Battle of Falkirk.
23. 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.
24. Single frames of film were removed at strategic points in the battles in order to produce a jarring, startling effect.
25. 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.
26. Tommy Flanagan’s scar is real. It’s known as a Glasgow Smile or Glasgow Grin.
27. After several months of filming battle scenes, the worst injury suffered on-set was a broken nose.
28. Catherine McCormack claimed that she still gets asked, “What’s it like to kiss Mel Gibson?”
29. William Wallace was actually shot in the throat, but the producers didn’t think that anyone would believe it.
30. Randall Wallace first had the idea for the movie on vacation to Edinburgh. He saw statues of William Wallace 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.