This medieval Scottish epic marked a personal triumph for Mel Gibson, producing, directing and starring as commoner William Wallace, who inspires and leads an army of his fellow Scots against the tyrannical rule of the English King Edward Longshanks (Patrick McGoohan).
Often criticised for taking liberties with history, the film has other deceptions in it. The battle scenes in wide green valleys look stunning but were in fact shot mostly in Ireland. Some scenes though do feature real Scottish locations: Aonach Eagach, Fort William, Glen Coe, Glen Nevis and Loch Leven.
In many ways, the film harks back to the lavish period spectacles of the Hollywood studios of the 1950s, although this is much more violent and brutal than anything permitted then.
Portraying Wallace’s fight against the English – who are generally depicted as mendacious or effete villains – the movie became a rallying point for many Scottish nationalists on its release, and its profile was further raised following the film’s 1995 Academy Award wins for Best Picture and Best Director.