Tuesday, June 23, 2015

888. BRAVEHEART (1995)

Running Time: 177 minutes
Directed By: Mel Gibson
Written By: Randall Wallace
Main Cast: Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan, Angus Macfadyen, Catherine McCormack
Click here to view the trailer

Note: Added some new things to the sidebar, including a link to the IMDB list of my (to be) 1,000 list, as well as a link to the same list on Listal, complete with stills from all 290 films. Be sure to upvote or like or comment or whatever it is you do on those sites, if you will. I also added a picture from my time in Philadelphia last month. The picture was taken by me at the top of the steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art - the very steps that Rocky scaled while training to fight Apollo Creed. Just a bit of decoration on the blog, which also happens to be a movie reference. Now then...


So over the next few weeks I'll be trying to tackle the three hours and over movies from THE BOOK, so that I'm not left with a big pile of really long movies when I get down to the end. It is my goal to watch the remaining movies in order of their length, so that when I get down to only having ten or fifteen left, they're all ninety minutes or so. I'm sure I won't go in the exact order of length, but I plan to stick as close to it as possible. So expect reviews for The Deer Hunter, Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, Ben-Hur, The Sorrow and the Pity, Seven Samurai and Scarface coming soon.

The story (yes, STORY - it's CLEARLY historically inaccurate) begins by bringing us up to speed on King Edward I a.k.a. Edward Longshanks (McGoohan) who was the heartless ruler of England (and Scotland, among other countries) in the 1200s. We can skip ahead to the part where Edward rules that all new brides will spend their first night as a wife with an English lord, as opposed to their new husband. This, of course, enrages the Scots and forces William Wallace (Gibson) to marry in secret to his love Murron (McCormack). However, during a skirmish, Murron is killed by an Englishman, which enrages Wallace to the point that a small battle erupts, where he ends up killing a local English garrison. This pretty much puts into motion the whole movie, which sees Wallace lead an army of Scottish and Irish against the English, in a few battle scenes, which are epic and good, solid movie action. I think enough of us are familiar with Braveheart that I can pretty much stop there as far as plot summary goes and get right into my thoughts. Shall we?

Okay, so of course I wasn't SURE that the film was historically inaccurate, since you're dealing with a history buffoon, but it was pretty obvious, wasn't it? And then I get on Wikipedia today to nab the poster for the blog post and I notice that there's paragraph after paragraph about all the history goofs in the movie. In fact, the only thing that historians agree with the movie on is that William Wallace existed, he DID kill someone when they killed his wife and that there was a war with the English that he was involved in. The rest is complete rubbish, as far as everyone who should know is concerned, but even as a work of fiction, Braveheart pretty much works for me! I dig it, for the most part, even though now that I KNOW that 90% of the movie is a load of horse crap, it's almost going to be laughable to watch now. Although and even though I like it, I'd say that I've probably had my last viewing of Braveheart for a lifetime. I said the same thing about The Usual Suspects when I reviewed it for the blog - that even though I think both movies are fine examples of successful filmmaking, I feel like I've seen them enough times now that anymore viewing would be unnecessary. I've formed my opinions staunchly and that's that.

Does anyone else cringe at Gibson's attempt at humor here? Man, I sure did. Gibson has a way about him that is really, sort of annoying if you ask me. There were moments, mainly in the beginning, where I just wanted to punch him in the face and tell him to stop trying to be cute and funny. It was even enough to make me drop my rating, but only a bit. Overall I'm fine with Braveheart as a whole. Even if the history is rubbish, it IS a historical film and one that gives us information (no matter how inaccurate) and makes sure we know what's going on and why. The battle scenes rank up there with some of the best and if you consider this a war movie (which I do, in part), then I'd have to consider it among the better war films. The three hour running time seems excessive and actually, I feel like this could've been scaled back to right around two hours and everything would have been more succinct and nicely packaged. It seems to me that everything from about the two hour mark to about the 2:45, at times just feels like extending the time for the sake of making an epic. If I'm being honest, there were times in that span where my attention did wane and I just wanted everything to get wrapped up. Otherwise, a fine time at the movies and speaking of Gibson, are there any other directors in THE BOOK who have their entire directorial career included as a "must see"? Charles Laughton comes to mind, but then he only directed the one movie. I guess by default I'd have to consider Gibson among my favorite directors, since I gave favorable reviews to all three. For those keeping track, I'd call Braveheart his worst and Apocalypto his best. It's enough to make me wish he'd decided against the acting career so many years ago and just decided to be a director.

RATING: 7.5/10  Okay, I just checked and apparently Gibson also directed The Man Without a Face, which isn't in THE BOOK, so all of his films aren't in there. I guess I should scoot that one to the top of my watchlist though, considering.


June 23, 2015  11:38am


  1. Sorry, but I really, really dislike this film.
    OK, so I'm a bit of a history geek, and those gross historical inaccuracies grate.. but I'd like to think I can come up with a better reason.
    I guess it's his simplistic 'good v bad guys' approach? And especialy as it's another of his 'lets bash the English' platforms.
    Sorry, I didn't like Apocolypto either...

    1. I actually knew you disliked this, cause I think you mentioned it before. I guess we'll just agree to disagree about Gibson.


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