The film that gave Mel Gibson 2 Oscars turns 25

“Braveheart” would have its 25th anniversary showing in theaters, if not for the coronavirus closing them down, but still we should honor the film for giving Mel Gibson two Oscars for Best Director and Best Picture. Granted the film got criticized for some inaccuracies, but it still lives on as his masterwork.

It’s the story of William Wallace, who lead an army of Scotsmen to battle the wicked King Edward Longshanks of England, who has taken over their land. Gibson casts himself as William, and he delivers some of the bravest, most iconic, and risk-taking performances of his movie career. He even sounds dashing with his Scottish accent.

Every battle is filled with one adventure and surprise after another. Even if we anticipate them, we still see the beauty and courage of the soldiers and their war. They’re given the strength and emotions to convince us of their fight for liberty. This film almost got an NC-17, because of the violence (and we also see horses get killed in battle), but it was toned down a bit for an R-rating. Still, the movie has an authentic look and feel, and James Horner’s score gives it the perfect ambience.

The movie, also written by Randall Wallace, doesn’t let Gibson take all the glory. After all, the Oscars were also given to John Toll for Best Cinematography, Lon Bender and Per Hallberg for Best Sound Effects Editing, and Peter Frampton (the make-up artist, not the singer), Paul Pattison, and Lois Burwell for Best Makeup. The locations and sets are both radiant and clean, and I love that blue paint on Gibson’s face on the battlefield.

Anyway, the supporting actors earn their benefits, and Gibson guides them on the right path.  They also feature Catherine McCormack as a young woman whom William secretly marries and gets murdered by Longshanks’ army; Brian Cox as his uncle who took him in as a child; Brendan Gleeson as his childhood friend, who joins him in the fight; Angus Macfadyen as Robert the Bruce, his alley, who regrets betraying him; Sophie Marceau as Isabella of France, who tries to negotiate with him, and warns him of the danger; and the late Patrick McGoohan is Longshanks, who intends to stop him.

“Braveheart” may not be completely accurate in William Wallace’s narrative (love interests and attire), but it still allows Gibson to show us the historic figure in his light. We don’t always need to see movies to know our history; we should see them for how they present them. It’s not like some stupid teen would use Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglorious Basterds” in this history report. But now, I’m getting off-topic.

Now let’s get back to the movie. We have to appreciate the craftsmanship and passion that Gibson puts into the project, and because of what we have seen, he deserved those two Oscars.


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Categories: Biography, Drama, History, War

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