Braveheart (1995) poster

Braveheart blew me away.

Mel Gibson directed, produced, and starred in this biography of William Wallace, a 13th-century farmer who becomes the leader of a Scottish rebellion after English soldiers executed his wife.

At first, Wallace fights for vengeance, but as he gains followers, his mission grows into securing a Scotland free from English rule.  He fights, he inspires, he has an affair with the king’s daughter-in-law, and in the end he submits to death rather than beg his enemy for mercy.

The story was violent, romantic, and adventurous. 

I had to know more.

Back in 1995, you couldn’t just pull out your phone and google “Is Braveheart historically accurate?”  You had to go to the library, check out a biography on William Wallace, and figure it out for yourself.  My reading revealed that Mel Gibson had taken quite a few liberties with the historical record.  This didn’t bother me then, and it doesn’t bother me now:  I’ll always take an entertaining film over an accurate one.

I just want to know what’s true and what isn’t.

Thus began my ongoing love affair with the intersection of history, books, and movies.  If I love a movie, I want to know everything about it.  I’ll read the book it’s based on, and fact-check it like I once did Braveheart.  That morphed into wanting to know everything about the people who directed and starred in the films as well.

It’s that same impulse that drove me to start this Golden Age of Hollywood blog nearly three years ago as a place to talk about the history of movies with people who love them as much as I do.

And it all began with Braveheart.

This is part of my Movies I’m Grateful For series, running daily through the month of November. 

Other films include: Splash | New Moon | The Lucky One | Thelma and Louise | Katy Perry:  Part of Me | Crazy Rich Asians | Under the Tuscan Sun | Terminator 2 | Moulin Rouge! |  How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days | Practical Magic | Schindler’s List | Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol | Stardust | The Man in the Moon | The Others | Little Women | Cruella | Sliding Doors | Far and Away | The Magdalene Sisters | The Heat | The Last Five Years | Shakespeare In Love | Erin Brockovich | The Bear