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Inspiring and moving, 1995’s Braveheart defines the epic genre

The Scots portrayed in Braveheart didn’t wear kilts in their day. They didn’t have access to blue face paint and they probably didn’t talk as heroically as Mel Gibson.

From a historical perspective, Braveheart is an abomination. However, from an epic filmmaking tour de force, it’s remains unrivaled in the 1990s.

Through the conscience of Robert the Bruce (Angus MacFadyen), Braveheart is narrated by a Scottish noble who admires a brutish William Wallace (Gibson) more than his own father. It’s with Robert’s veneration of Wallace that we also see a man greater than ourselves, who fought for his people’s freedom and took a stand against tyranny.

Some movies move you. Others make you laugh. A few are designed to educate. They all have their purpose in modern-day cinema. The point of Braveheart is to inspire, not necessarily to take arms and wear plaid skirts, but to stand up for what you believe.

With five Academy Awards, including best picture of 1995 and best director for Gibson, the film was adored by many for its epic story of lost love and fight for freedom.

It’s near-three-hour running time is as brisk as the battle scenes are brutal. Not much is known about the central character, so elevating him to epic hero status was easy. Not to mention the ability to write such juicy dialogue as Gibson’s battlefield speech in third person and says, “He’d consume the English with fireballs from his eyes and bolts of lightning from his arse.”

It’s heroes that make great war epics and Wallace emerges as one of the greatest in cinematic history. From his desire for peace, to his barbaric actions, he transforms in front of our eyes as he and his in-fighting clans invade England. Once there, he is betrayed, and becomes a Christ-like martyr, only a tad-bit nastier in his revenge tactics.

When it comes around to Judas, er, Robert owning up to his part, he proclaims: “Those men who bled the ground red at Falkirk, they fought for William Wallace and he fights for something that I’ve never had and I took it from him when I betrayed him … I don’t want to lose heart! I want to believe as he does.”

It’s at this scene when the audience is inspired again, to not betray for personal gain. Even if morals were not embedded into the story’s framework, the film would still move you, make you laugh and even educate you. But mostly, it inspires you, and that’s one of the greatest feats a film can achieve.

Contact Will Albritton at