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Braveheart (1996)

13th century Scotland. A Scottish rebel, William Wallace (Mel Gibson), leads an uprising against the cruel English reign of Edward the Longshanks (Patrick McGoohan) who plans to take the Scottish crown for himself. His father died trying to bring freedom to the Scots when he was a young boy, so Wallace – with the support of Robert the Bruce (Angus MacFadyen) takes on the invader.

Hardly the last word in historical accuracy, Gibson’s directorial debut is a wattle-and-daub epic of muddy, bloody battles.

Gibson plays Wallace as an ultra-macho mythical warrior, a resourceful military strategist and a martyr-in-the-making – dying on the rack, his last word is “freedom!” – while also enjoying dalliances with a French princess (Sophie Marceau) and an old flame (Catherine McCormack).

Budgeted at around $53 million and given an R rating for its scenes of brutal medieval warfare, Braveheart bagged six Oscars, including Best Director.

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While the battle scenes are something to behold, the real interest lies in the way Gibson ups the ante in Hollywood cinema’s enduring fascination with the spectacle of broken, bloodied male bodies where narcissism and masochism combine to create the image of warrior-star.

The next stop for Gibson would be obvious, The Passion of The Christ, the ultimate in celluloid bloodletting.

William Wallace
Mel Gibson
Longshanks, King Edward I
Patrick McGoohan
Princess Isabelle
Sophie Marceau
Argyle Wallace
Brian Cox
Murron
Catherine McCormack
Robert the Bruce
Angus MacFadyen
Hamish
Brendan Gleeson
Stephen
David O’Hara
Campbell
James Cosmo
Prince Edward
Peter Hanly
Mornay
Alun Armstrong
Young William
James Robinson
Malcolm Wallace
Sean Lawlor
John Wallace
Sandy Nelson
Elder Stewart
Alan Tall
MacClannough
Séan McGinley
Mother MacClannough
Gerda Stevenson
Phillip
Stephen Billington
Craig
John Kavanagh
Morrison
Tommy Flanagan
Mrs Morrison
Julie Austin
Lord Bottoms
Rupert Vansittart
Smythe
Michael Byrne
MacGregor
Tam White
Stewart
Donal Gibson
Nicolette
Jeanne Marine
Lord Dolecroft
Martin Dunne
Faudron
Jimmy Chisholm
Lochlan
John Murtagh
Lord Talmadge
Martin Murphy
Balliol
Bernard Horsfall
Cheltham
Gerard McSorley
Governor of York
Richard Leaf
Sean
Liam Carney

Director
Mel Gibson