Director: Mel Gibson
Cast: Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan, Catherine McCormack, Brendan Gleeson, James Cosmo, Alun Armstrong, Angus Macfadyen, Ian Bannen.
Scotland: Shot at the foot of Britain's highest mountain, Ben Nevis, in the Highlands
The film Braveheart tells the story of the legendary Scotsman William Wallace. Alongside Robert the Bruce, Wallace is probably the most famous Scottish thorn in the side of English rule in the history of Scotland's struggle for independence.
Wallace (played by Mel Gibson, who also directed the film) began his campaign against the English King Edward I (played by Patrick McGoohan), after seeing his wife killed by an English sheriff after Wallace tries to save her from being raped by English soldiers. He takes his revenge on the English garrison, eventually killing the sheriff with the same knife that had been used on his wife. Prior to this Wallace had attempted to avoid the 'troubles' of the time. He naturally became outlawed after these events and set about getting even with the English, sparking rebellion amongst the oppressed Scots.
After notable victories such as the Battle of Stirling and the sacking of the City of York, he is finally betrayed by Scottish noblemen and loses the Battle of Falkirk. He goes into hiding but is betrayed once more, again by his own countrymen. The betrayers included the father of Robert the Bruce, for which act he was disowned by his son. After being brutally tortured and executed in public, Wallace became an iconic figure for the Scottish rebels. As Robert the Bruce later led his soldiers to an unlikely victory against the English at Bannockburn, Wallace's name was chanted as they advanced.
You can still visit the site of the Battle of Stirling. A stone bridge still stands on the site of the original bridge which the battle was fought over. For cinematic reasons, Mel Gibson did not portray a bridge in the battle scene, despite the fact that it played a crucial part in the tactics which cost the English the battle. The City of York is also well worth a visit, the sacking by the Scots forming only a small part of the very rich history of this Roman city, and certainly not having destroyed the City's heritage.
The Battle of Falkirk was fought at the wood of Callender, near Falkirk. After visiting the battle site, be sure to visit Callender House, a beautiful mansion in the style of a French Chateau, which has a history spanning some 600 years. The house was built originally for the Callender family, then Thanes of Callender, and was originally known as Thane house.
Places to stay nearby:
For great accommodation nearby visit our Highlands page
A Picture of Britain