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Mel Gibson directs and stars in this Academy Award-winning epic based on the life of legendary thirteenth century Scottish hero William Wallace. Returning to his homeland following the death of an heirless king, Wallace Mel Gibson finds the political landscape precarious. Edward the Longshanks, King of England Patrick McGoohan, has captured Scotland's throne and threatens the freedom of all Scottish people, as tyrannical policies instituted by the English plague the Scots. Initially, Wallace is content to stand by the wayside, yearning for the simple life of building a home and raising a family. However, when the woman he loves Catherine McCormack suffers a cruel fate at the hands of English soldiers, Wallace takes a stand against the new rule. With his fierce patriotism and determination, he gathers an amateur but passionately rebellious army. Although this makeshift force may be outnumbered by the English troops, their desperation and love for their land surpass any military maneuvers, as evidenced in the film's breathtaking battle sequences.
Mel Gibson's Oscar-winning 1995 Braveheart is an impassioned epic about William Wallace, the 13th-century Scottish leader of a popular revolt against England's tyrannical Edward I Patrick McGoohan. Gibson cannily plays Wallace as a man trying to stay out of history's way until events force his hand, an attribute that instantly resonates with several of the actor's best-known roles, especially Mad Max. The subsequent camaraderie and courage Wallace shares in the field with fellow warriors is pure enough and inspiring enough to bring envy to a viewer, and even as things go wrong for Wallace in the second half, the film does not easily cave in to a somber tone. One of the most impressive elements is the originality with which Gibson films battle scenes, featuring hundreds of extras wielding medieval weapons. After Eisenstein's Alexander Nevsky, Orson Welles's Chimes at Midnight, and even Kenneth Branagh's Henry V, you might think there is little new that could be done in creating scenes of ancient combat; yet Gibson does it. --Tom Keogh