Lots of blood and guts in a tartan lined sword and sandals epic, big on gore, small on historic accuracy. So it depends what you want. Mel Gibson plays William Wallace, Scottish upstart who dares to rebel against the dastardly English for killing his wife. Lots of two dimensional characters are offset by some really good action scenes, all overlaid with more claret than Tarantino. A bit schmaltzy in places, and perhaps a bit too long, but definitely watchable. An Angel's Alternative Cold Steel on the Rocks We Are Cold Steel
With so many other reviews of this 1995 film which (according to some) seemed to breath new life into the Scottish Nationalist Party, indeed into much of the entire Scottish Nation, it is difficult to know where to begin. As a Scot, it was not exactly the history of Sir William Wallace, the Scottish knight and landowner who became one of the main leaders during the Wars of Scottish Independence, I was taught at school. Played bravely by Mel Gibson with a mercurial accent, while the historical accuracy leaves much to be desired, his greatly imitated make-up seems to have captured the imagination of many in the same way Wallace himself is said to have done; indeed, such was the power of this man, to this day, a plaque hangs on a wall of St. Bartholomew's Hospital in London near the site of Wallace's execution at Smithfield.
Historically, it captures the flavour of the times (although much sanitised and Hollywooded) and has the political machinations, revenge, deep love, underdogs and rulers and violent action as the battle scenes are re-enacted with great realism. I have long accepted that history does not spring easily from the silver screen and the cinema merely extends, enhances and engenders mythologies when it is not distorting them completely.
Seen just as that, a film which happens to deal with history but not history, it is a thrilling evening's entertainment and the DVD has brought it into every home at a bargain basement price. Five stars for the DVD adaptation, three for the history and five for the film itself.
This is the first film that I have felt so strongly about that I felt compelled to complete a review. I could not believe that more people had given it 5 stars than 1 star and that it's overall rating was about 3.5 out of 5 - suggesting it would be recommended. Are so many people willing to ignore the clear propaganda ... or are they just ignorant? My conscience would not allow me to ignore this and at least do my bit to try to redress the balance
Much of the way i feel has already been written in previous reviews so I won't harp on about historical inaccuracies and the film's obvious bias.
Many things annoy me about this film, but what really annoys me is that there are people out there that actually believe this is what happened. I realise that film producers have to make money and their role is to entertain, but equally they should realise that they have the power to influence and with that should come an obligation to inform and educate responsibly. What Mel was hoping to acheive by making this film I am sure we will never know ... the fact that he was allowed to follow this up with "The Patriot" (don't even go there) is shameful.
Please don't encourage Mel's bigotted megalomania by buying this DVD ...
You still hear the bashing of this film from people who think they know something of history. Yes There are plenty of factual errors in this film. Yes the Scottish hero is heroic and the English nasty villians. But this is the same of almost any other historical epic; Germans, Romans, British, Vikings. Whoever your protagonist fights has to be seen as bad from his point of view.
This film is visually stunning, the action sequences top notch, the music fantastic and emotional and the script a legendry larger than life tale of a Scottish hero. Gibson out did himself with this piece of cinema history.