Societal Commentsand Historical Inaccuracy In Braveheart Essay

, Research Paper

William Wallace, Joan of Arc, George Armstrong Custer, and the list goes on of the people or groups of people who have had historical movies made about them and their achievements or bloopers. Many of these movies have different countries in which they indirectly comment on every facet of life from the functions of adult females to a peculiar expression at societal category. The thought that movie is a medium in which a manager can notice on the ailments of society has been around since the first gesture image was made. The job with this fact is that manager? s and manufacturers frequently change the historical facts and even the attitudes of the characters in order stimulate public involvement through the contact of some common chord that the public feels strongly about. The narrative of the life of William Wallace in the film Braveheart while historically reasonably accurate in the word pictures of the conflicts while go forthing out many of import fact in respect to dealingss on what is now the United Kingdom. In add-on to canceling information about the dealingss between England and Scotland, the authors of the Braveheart book added some secret plan turns that have about no historical backup. The events that have no historical foundation were most probably added to do the narrative more appealing to the audience or to notice on a current societal tendency. Specific tendencies that are commented on in the narrative of the Scots hero William Wallace are the altering topographic point of adult females in our twenty-four hours, the rapid growing of patriotism, and the inclination of adult male to move in his ain best involvements. In add-on to the remarks made on society, those involved in the devising of the film Braveheart intentionally deleted events with historical significance in order to do the character William Wallace an infallible hero of the Scots people alternatively of portraying the whole truth about his life and times. Persons in the film concern have shown neglect for historical fact in their chase for net incomes and a opportunity to turn to some societal issue and there is no better illustration of this than the film Braveheart. The historical inaccuracies in the film Braveheart have several basic countries which include adding or canceling characters and inaccuracy sing the lives and actions of historical figures. Edward I, William Wallace, the Prince and Princess of Wales every bit good as many other minor participants in the Scots opposition to English domination of Scotland have some facet of their lives fictionalized in the film Braveheart. In add-on to the fictionalisation of people? s lives at that place besides happens to be military inaccuracies every bit good as periods of clip which the film does non account and alternatively inserts fictional events to do the film more entertaining instead than historically accurate.

The first illustration of historical inaccuracy is that of the portraiture of Edward I, besides known as Edward the Longshanks, as an person who claimed that he was the inheritor to the Scottish throne and would torment and slay anyone who got in his way1. Henry I who happens to be the great great gramps of Edward I married the girl of the Scots King2. Malcolm III ruled Scotland from 1058 until 1093 and his girl Matilda married Henry I3. That is the footing of Edward? s claim to the Scots throne in add-on to the fact that his sister besides married a Scots King by the name of Alexander III who was the last Scots swayer to keep the throne until Robert I was crowned at Scone in 13064. By all histories of Edward I, he was so a adult male to be feared although the film Braveheart portrays him as a improbably barbarous adult male who wanted nil more than to oppress his enemies. He was in fact an expert in English jurisprudence, which he frequently used to his advantage. He was besides a title-holder of the knightly codification and could be improbably generous when the temper struck him5. Edward I was improbably ambitious and even his biographer acknowledges the fact that he was a, ? hard-headed swayer who was determined to continue his rights as he saw them, and ruthless in the methods he used to follow his terminals? 6. While Edward I was most likely a pitiless swayer, he was non needfully every bit evil as he is portrayed in the film.

The 2nd illustration of fictionalized character is that of the great Scots nationalist William Wallace. In the film about his life, Wallace is introduced to the audience as a common adult male with really low beginnings whose male parent was a farmer7. He was in fact the boy of Sir Malcolm Wallace of Elderslie and the girl of Sir Reginald Crawford the sheriff of Ayr8. So William Wallace was in fact non the boy of a common husbandman but the boy of a low-level baronial household. Not much else is known of Wallace? s early life until he emerges from obscureness between the ages of 25 and 279. Wallace foremost acted in choler against the English when he was insulted by the boy of an English governor and proceeded to strike him dead and therefore he began his military career10. His military run to free Scotland started in May 1297 after the slaying of Marion Braidfoot who is the historical footing for the character Murron in Braveheart11. Wallace went on to recover a great figure of Scots towns and munitions that had been held by the English. By this clip intelligence of Wallace? rebellion had reached Edward I in France and he dispatched 40,000 soldiers and 300 horse to cover with the Scots situation12. The phase was now set for a great Scots triumph at Sterling and Wallace was no longer an inexperient military commanding officer. Wallace was winning at Sterling, but he knew at some point he would hold to contend the English male monarch. After several lay waste toing foraies into northern England in early 1298, the English male monarch brought his ground forces North. The English ground forces consisted of foot and bowmans every bit good as over 3000 cavalry13. The Scots ground forces was merely half the size and had about no horse. The Scots licking was entire although Wallace survived and went into hiding14. After the suppression licking at Falkirk, the authors of the Braveheart book would hold you believe that Wallace went around killing his enemies in Scotland, there is nevertheless no historical footing for this premise. Wallace is said to hold left Scotland in hunt of military assistance for another campaign15. He visited the tribunals of the Gallic, Germans, and even the Pope in Rome without much success. The political environment was get downing to alter due to the uses of Edward I and even England? s enemies wouldn? T offer Wallace much support. Wallace returned to Scotland after about 7 old ages abroad and was later betrayed to the English by a Scots Lord named Sir John Menteith and was turned over to the English for test near Solway Firth16. He was so taken to Carlisle and so 300 stat mis to London for test and executing. The film is about wholly accurate in this portion of the film. After all of the charges were read William Wallace said that he was guilty of all of them except for lese majesty because he had ne’er sworn trueness to the English male monarch. Sometime after August 22nd, 1305, William Wallace had all mode of anguish carried out on his individual and was finally beheaded17.

In add-on to the historical inaccuracies sing the lives of William Wallace and Edward I, minor characters in the film such as the prince and princess of Wales were non portrayed accurately. There is perfectly no grounds that supports the suggestion that either of these two people of all time had any sort of contact with Wallace or his cause. Isabella was the name of the Gallic princess who married Edward II three old ages after Wallace? s execution18. She besides was non a nice individual like she was shown to be in Braveheart. She had her hubby murdered and was hence nicknamed the she-wolf of France19. The Prince of Wales on the other manus was rather similar to the character portrayed in the film. He was allegedly homosexual and his lover was in fact killed although non by his male parent but by his Lords sometime after his male parent died20. Besides in at least one instance the authors for the Braveheart book omitted a historically important individual. Andrew Moray was wholly omitted as a character in the film even though some consider that he would hold been a better soldier and leader than Wallace had he non suffered such an ill-timed decease at the conflict of Stirling21. Moray was the boy of Sir Andrew Petty and a member of one of the great Highland families22. Andrew Moray used his superior cognition of the land to get the better of the better-equipped English. With all the cunning of a fox, Moray led his turning set of nationalists to a great figure of triumphs. After suppressing a great figure of northern palaces, he believed the clip was right for him to fall in a military leader farther south named William Wallace and fight the English outright23. All of the characters in the film Braveheart have some facet of their life changed in order to do the narrative more appealing.

The existent characters were portrayed in a reasonably accurate manner although the military battles were non really accurate in most instances. The parts that were accurate were those in which Scots forces drew the better equipt English into traps, hit them difficult, and faded back into the shadows. Most of the Scots triumphs were little conflicts in which guerrilla tactics were used. The out right conflicts in which the Scots forces fought the English were portrayed falsely. The conflict of Stirling Bridge is the best illustration of the Hollywood people falsely demoing what a conflict for Scots independency looked like in 1297. The English and Scots ground forcess met on the 11th of September 1297 and the couldn? Ts have been any more different. English leaders had a 5 to 1 advantage in soldiers over the Scots, but they besides enjoyed conflict hardened military personnels and a long military tradition chiefly coming from the wars with France24. Scotland, nevertheless, enjoyed youthful and energetic leading every bit good as integrity of intent in the heads of said leaders. The English leading on the other manus was made up of several extremely trained leaders who on the one manus had a great sum proficient cognition with respect to the art of war, but on the other manus the military personnels and the other Lords had no regard for their leaders and this made them uneffective. John Warenne, the Earl of Surrey, was the English commanding officer and he regarded Scotland as a whole state non to be associated with in any way25. The twenty-four hours before the conflict he outlined his program. Warenne ordered the English ground forces across the Stirling span over the river Forth and onto a piece of land that was surrounded on three sides by H2O. Soldiers contending for the English male monarch wou

ld so carry on a full frontlet assault on the Scots who held the high ground26. The Earl of Surrey was so confident of the high quality of his military personnels that he spent no existent sum of clip planning for the conflict. On the forenoon of the conflict the crossing was begun and reversed several times as Wallace pursued diplomatic options in an attempt to procrastinate for clip in order to corroborate intelligence and deployments. When the determination was eventually made by the English commanding officer to direct his ground forces over the river he had to direct them over two at a clip because the span was so narrow27. The traversing took more than two hours and all the piece Wallace and his Captains stood and watched the English move. Many of the English Godheads and even some of the Scots Lords who had switched sides believed that the attitude of their leader was suicide. Not desiring to discourse the issue any longer the English Commander, John Warenne, ordered his 2nd in bid to traverse the span and continue with the frontal onslaught. Wallace waited until a great figure of the English military personnels had crossed the river. When there was as many military personnels from England as he thought his force could efficaciously manage, he gave the signal for the charge to begin28. In such a closed in country, the English horse became uneffective because they had no room to steer or do efficient usage of their arms. English foot was in much the same place chiefly due to the fact that it took them a good spot of clip to organize up after the crossing. When Wallace sounded the onslaught, a little withdrawal of Scots spearmen gained control of one side of the span therefore cutting off the lone flight path other than swimming the river, which many tried but few succeeded. The chief Scots ground forces had charged directly down towards the English cutting off the lone land path of flight. The English now had river on three sides, the merely accessible span controlled by the Scottish, and the chief force of the Scots ground forces bearing down on them. A bulk of the English ground forces was sealed off from supports and finally wiped out29. Unlike the portraiture in the film Braveheart, the Battle of Stirling Bridge was non a state of affairs that both ground forcess charged each other and the conflict was decided in typical mediaeval manner. It was alternatively a superb move on Wallace? s portion by pull stringsing the English into contending the conflict on his footings. The English on the other manus had to postulate with the supreme haughtiness of their leader and a prevailing idea that they would easy brush the Scots ground forces from the field. John Warenne paid for haughtiness and tactical errors with the blood of many English soldiers.

Braveheart was released in the twelvemonth 1995 and since so the Scots people have made great paces in going at that place ain state one time once more. While Scotland was ne’er subdued by force of weaponries, it was ne’er wholly free of English regulation and even today the English Parliament regulations the state from London. The film Braveheart while non wholly accurate in its portraiture of the Scots wars for independency brought back to illume the narrative of the great work forces who fought for their places and households. Hollywood authors felt that the whole truth of the narrative wasn? T acceptable every bit far as the current tendencies in movie went. Braveheart had a great figure of different secret plans traveling all at one time. There was of class all of the undermentioned subjects: love affair, militarism, and a return of the heroic character. Most movies that are produced in Hollywood are for the most portion appealing to work forces because the constitution is about wholly work forces. Love affair as a subject takes on a new significance because it now fails to continue the stereotype that so called love affair can merely be between a adult male and a adult female. Kellner and Ryan say that, ? male centered love affair was revived during a period of reaction against? political instability and possible war. ? 30 These two writers are stating that film manufacturers are stating that love affair is so unsure particularly in the times in which we live that it is better to depend on a friend that is a male instead than worry about love and all its furnishings. Braveheart is a great illustration of the manner in which work forces bond as friends is some sort same sex love affair. Robert the Bruce in the film Braveheart says, to the military personnels during the concluding conflict scene, ? you have bled with Wallace now bleed with me. ? 31 There can be no greater love affair between two work forces than traveling to war together against a common enemy. Conventional love affair significance that between a adult male and a adult female is besides a societal statement. The adult females in Braveheart while few are really froward and ambitious. Princess Isabella wilfully defies non merely her hubby but her male parent in jurisprudence the male monarch of England. Isabella fundamentally commits what in that clip would hold been considered lese majesty and helps William Wallace in his battle. In add-on to assisting Wallace, she implies that she is pregnant with his kid. The lese majesty at least historically seems to hold taken topographic point and is an illustration of how the attitude towards ambitious adult females have changed. Equally far as the criminal conversation goes, she was in fact married and even 100s of old ages subsequently adult females were executed for merely being accused of criminal conversation. Love affair was the implicit in subject of all of this in that it gave the narrative a powerful and emotional stoping by using present twenty-four hours feminist ideas about gender and aspiration to a 700-year-old narrative. As for the militarism in Braveheart, the subject is rather obvious. Prior to the release day of the month the American armed forces had fought one of the most successful runs in military history in footings of accomplishing the set ends and minimising casualties and regained some of its prestigiousness that it had lost in Vietnam. Kellner and Ryan suggest that in station Vietnam epoch movies such as An Officer and a Gentlemen Hollywood is trying to reconstruct the image of the American armed forces in the eyes of the populace. Braveheart does the same thing in a station Gulf War epoch in which the American military takes on a superior force in sheer Numberss and practically destroys them. The implicit in militaristic subject of Braveheart is that of Americans or whichever side we are on is traveling to finally win because America has the moral high land in everything. Speaking of the moral high land, the last and most of import subject in Braveheart is that of the return of heroic characters. Again harmonizing to Kellner and Ryan, ? the idealised self-representations ( on the degree of both the person and the state ) aid keep a society together. ? 31 They go on to propose that the current tendency is for more great leaders in order to assist us experience like we are recovering something that we have lost in the yesteryear. There are three independent elements in the epic single. Two of these are present in Braveheart. The first is an averment that heroic characters are similar enterprisers in that they stand up to province dictatorship. William Wallace could most surely be thought of as an enterpriser who stood up to province dictatorship. The 2nd component is that of the heroic warrior. The narrative of William Wallace and his battle against the oppressive English male monarch strikes a chord with loyal Americans everyplace. The thought of all of these subjects coming together at the right clip and topographic point and under the right fortunes and being the merchandise of largely historical fact produces a film with impact that Braveheart had.

In decision, there have been many movies since the beginning of movie history that have been based on historical fact. Some of these have been wholly accurate while some others have merely been a loose reading of what really happened. Mel Gibson? s Braveheart is an illustration of film that is in about the center. Braveheart while largely accurate every bit far as day of the months and topographic points go at that place were several fabricated events and traits attributed to certain characters. Besides there were a twosome of people who were deleted from the narrative who played a major function and there were those who were based on existent people but those people played no portion in the Scottish war for independency. Hollywood besides fictionalized the existent conflicts in order to do them more dramatic and thereby better the profitableness of the film. All the above alterations were made to heighten the play of the film and to travel along with the current tendencies in love affair, militarism, and the return of the heroic character. Hollywood in the film Braveheart manipulated the facts in a 700-year-old narrative in order to increase their net incomes and do some sort of societal statement and abide by the current societal tendencies.


1. Braveheart ( 1995 ) , Paramount Pictures, Mel Gibson, dir.

2. Peter Reese, Wallace: A Biography. Canongate Books Ltd. , 1996. p. six

3. Ibid.

4. Ibid.

5. Peter Reese, Wallace: A Biography. Canongate Books Ltd. , 1996. p. 21

6. Ibid. p. 22

7. Braveheart ( 1995 ) , Paramount Pictures, Mel Gibson, dir.

8. Peter Reese, Wallace: A Biography. Canongate Books Ltd. , 1996. p. 37

9. John and Julia Keay, Collins Encyclopaedia of Scotland. Harper Collins Publishers, 1994. p. 965

10. Unknown writer, Sir William Wallace. hypertext transfer protocol: //

11. Unknown writer, Braveheart: the film. hypertext transfer protocol: // 1995

12. Unknown writer, Sir William Wallace. hypertext transfer protocol: //

13. Peter Reese, Wallace: A Biography. Canongate Books Ltd. , 1996. p.72

14. Ibid. p. 105

15. Ibid. p. 108

16. Ibid. p. 115

17. Peter Reese, Wallace: A Biography. Canongate Books Ltd. , 1996. p.121

18. Unknown writer, Braveheart: the film. hypertext transfer protocol: // 1995

19. Unknown writer, Braveheart: the film. hypertext transfer protocol: // 1995

20. Unknown writer, Braveheart: the film. hypertext transfer protocol: // 1995

21. Peter Reese, Wallace: A Biography. Canongate Books Ltd. , 1996. p. 36

22. Ibid. p. 37

23. Ibid. p. 37

24. Ibid. p. 53

25. Ibid. p. 50

26. Ibid. p. 52

27. Ibid. p. 55

28. Ibid. p. 56

29. Ibid.

30. Michael Ryan and Douglas Kellner, Camera Politica. Indiana University Press, 1988. p. 217

Social Remarks and Historical Inaccuracy in Braveheart

Chris Bakke

Dr. Ray Pratt

Political Science 324

April 17, 2000