81 Days With Oscar And Me

Every Academy Award-Winning Movie, Back to Back, Starting With the First

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October 26th, 2009 · No Comments · 1995, Braveheart, Color, Composer: James Horner, Drama, F-Word, Freedom, James Horner, Mel Gibson, Original Screenplay, Paramount Pictures, Scotland, William Wallace

Braveheart “The problem with Scotland is that it is full of Scots,” says Longshanks, King Edward I at the start of Braveheart.

And so the king sets out to break the spirit of the savages in Scotland by taxing them, beating them, and raping their women.

At first William Wallace (Mel Gibson) wants no part of standing up to the Brits.

But when British soldiers attempt to rape Wallace’s new bride, Murron MacClannough (Catherine McCormack), he fights off the soldiers and tells Murron to flee to meet up with him later. But they capture her before she can get away, and kill her to make her an example. Wallace returns to the village and, with the help of the other villagers, kills all the soldiers. Then they kill the soldiers at the nearby garrisons, telling those he spares that Scotland’s young men and women are no longer theirs for the taking and that Scotland is free.

Wallace is now in the game. And he sits a mean horse, let me tell you.

“Sons of Scotland! I am William Wallace. And I see a whole army of my countrymen here in defiance of tyranny…

“Fight and you may die. Run and you’ll live. At least a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives. But they’ll never take our freedom!”

Hell, even I’m ready to take up a sword and fight for Wallace.

The battle begins. And, as the archer’s arrows whistle overhead, some finding their mark, the crazy Irishman who joined to fight at Wallace’s side turns to him and says: “The Lord tells me he can get me out of this mess. But he’s pretty sure you’re fucked.”

Ah, comic relief.

Wallace and his men win. They defeat the superior army amassed against them.

Later, as the victorious men argue about territories and whatnot, Wallace turns to leave. The men call out for him to stop. He turns and says to them…

“You’re so concerned with squabbling for the scraps from Longshank’s table that you’ve missed your God-given right to something better. There’s the difference between us. You think the people of this country exist to provide you with position. I think your position exists to provide those people with freedom. And I go to make sure that they have it.”

The reason why men like William Wallace and movies like Braveheart stir our soul is because people today have – despite what they know in their hearts to be true – allowed themselves to be lulled by mealy-mouthed politicians (“Yes We Can” my ass!) who tell us we can’t survive without their help, that we are a nation of greedy bastards, crooked capitalists who consume more than our fair share, and that we deserve only that which the government deigns us to have. We are taxed without representation, ruled by men without honor, divided by the lies of the deceitful, and robbed of the gold of freedom and given the tin of tyranny in its place.

Despite decades of hypocrisy and condescension, people know what’s right. They know in their hearts. And they long for a man of honor, someone who will inspire them, lead them, to help them rise to new heights, make them the best they can be – but never lord it over them.

To them, I say:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Braveheart moves me the same way Winston Churchill’s legendary World War II speech moves me:

Never give in. Never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.

Braveheart moves me the same way the Declaration of Independence moves me. And the Constitution. And the Federalist Papers.

I agree fully with William Wallace: Every man dies. Not every man really lives.

I believe that in the heart of every human being stirs a William Wallace longing for…


Let it ring, baby.

The Cast
Mel Gibson (1956- )………………………….William Wallace
Patrick McGoohan (1928-2009)…………..Longshanks, King Edward I
Sophie Marceau (1966- )…………………….Princess Isabelle
Angus Macfadyen (1963- )………………….Robert the Bruce
Catherine McCormack (1972- )…………….Murron MacClannough
Brendan Gleeson (1955- )……………………Hamish Campbell
Tommy Flanagan (1965- )……………………Morrison

Directed By
Mel Gibson

Written By
Randall Wallace (1949- )

Original Music By
James Horner (1953- )

Braveheart was nominated for 10 Academy Awards and won five: Best Cinematography, Best Director (Mel Gibson), Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing, Best Makeup, and Best Picture.

I should note that James Horner’s score is terrific. It reminds me of his score for Titanic, very emotional and stirring.


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