by Waitsel Smith
5-Star Masterpiece - Best Action-Drama, 1995 - starring Mel Gibson, Patrick McGoohan and Sophie Marceau; direction, Mel Gibson; screenplay, Randall Wallace - Icon Entertainment International, The Ladd Company
A lot of guys call this their favorite movie, including me. The rest will probably say that Godfather is their favorite. But I have a real problem with Godfather. It is a movie about mean people doing cruel things to each other, all in the name of revenge. Braveheart, on the other hand, is about real-life Scottish patriot William Wallace who, even though he is a man of peace, comes to the aid of his country when British abuses reach the point of unbearability. Mel Gibson stars and directs, while Wallace's descendant, Randall Wallace, wrote the screenplay from scratch. This is Gibson's masterpiece in both acting and directing. It had an incredible impact when it was released in 1995, taking the Best Picture Oscar, along with four others, including Best Director and Best Cinematography. It was nominated for ten total. It won many other awards, including a Golden Globe for Best Director.
Even though I've called this movie my favorite since it first came out, I find it difficult to watch, and have only seen it a handful of times. I am a fan of light comedies, and this is a heavy drama with a lot of violent action. So, it's not a feel good movie. But it is inspirational and important for bringing about more realistic battle scenes as well as the revival of epic costume dramas. It's also important for its emphasis on "Freedom!" - Wallace's cry at the end - and the price one must pay to have it. History buffs have criticized the liberties Gibson and Wallace took with the script, but I think they have done what is most important in the retelling of a man's life - captured the essence of the man.
This, plus The Passion Of The Christ, have given Mel Gibson his legacy.
Most memorable line: "Every man dies. Not every man really lives." - William Wallace
Rated R for violence
Waitsel Smith, August 20, 2013
Text © 2013 Waitsel Smith. Photos © Universal Pictures. All Rights Reserved.