New this month Factual error: For much of ‘Braveheart' Robert the Bruce is torn between the choice of following his conscience by helping William Wallace or submitting to the English as a puppet ruler of Scotland. Thus he serves with the English army at the Battle of Falkirk, but helps Wallace to safety after the Scots are defeated. At the end of the film he is about to finally submit, when he has a change of heart, calls his followers to fight, and defeats the English. This is nonsense. Robert the Bruce was among the first Scottish noblemen to resist English control of Scotland. Edward I's Scottish wars lasted for more than ten years, and, at times, when it seemed that Edward had crushed all opposition, Robert the Bruce (like most Scots) made a half-hearted submission, but he soon took up arms again. There is no record that he was at the Battle of Falkirk (on either side). In 1306, seven months after Wallace's execution, he had himself crowned King of Scotland, provocatively rejecting English authority. For the rest of his life he waged uncompromising war against the English, culminating in his great victory at Bannockburn.
Add timeRob Halliday
New this month Factual error: Some more errors about Princess Isabella: at the height of William Wallaces' rebellion Edward I sends her as an ambassador to negotiate with Wallace (and spy on the Scots) instead she falls in love with Wallace. Princess Isabella was born in 1292: Wallace's rebellion was at its height during 1297-8, so she could have been no more than 6 at the time. (Somebody else has already observed that she was only 13 at the time of Wallace's execution.) Isabella's first language would (obviously) have been French, a 13th century Scotsman would speak either a heavily accented Scottish version of English, or Scots Gaelic, but Isabella has no communication difficulties in Scotland. The Wallace-Isabella affair is also absurd, since it is implausible that, at the height of a war, an unaccompanied young woman, let alone a princess engaged to the heir to the throne of England, would be sent into the heart of a war zone as an envoy and a spy.
Add timeRob Halliday
Visible crew/equipment: At the funeral of William Wallace's wife, Murron, a white van can be seen. He bends down to kiss her and as he stands back up, if you look over his left shoulder through the trees you can see the van going past. It's very quick, small, and blurred, but it's there.
Continuity mistake: In one of the major battles, Wallace is charging down a hill with a large sword in his hand. During the charging it changes to being a small pick axe type tool. Then around the middle of the charge there is a quick shot change and almost from the same angle the pick axe has disappeared. It then changes back to a large sword, a quick change back to the pick axe, then back to the large sword.
Continuity mistake: In the first large battle with England at Falkirk the same scenes are used when the English fire the arrows. The first time the arrows are fired, a blonde young man is hit in the foot, they then moon the English so they fire again and the same man is seen getting hit in the same foot. A man in the same battle is shot in the hip - when he grabs the wound you can see the shape of the cushioned bulb that the arrow is attached to. If you watch during all the battle scenes you can detect men who are supposed to be on opposite sides standing and talking, also you can see the choreographed moves being played out in almost slow motion - their swords aren't even striking.
Continuity mistake: When Wallace tries to escape from the English with his wife, not knowing that she has been captured and executed, he is seen running through the woods screaming her name... As he's running he has a sword in his right hand. During the course of three or four camera shots, the sword he is holding magically disappears and reappears as different cameras shoot him. Then it reappears and he digs it into the ground as he takes off the English soldier's uniform that he stole.
Visible crew/equipment: During the "full attack" at the start of the Battle of Stirling Bridge, Wallace repeatedly shouts, "Hold," and in the wideshot right before Wallace finally shouts, "Now!" as the horses gallop towards the right side of the screen, we can see a white car at the left side of the screen. Viewed widescreen version.
Factual error: The reason why it is called the Battle of Stirling is because it was fought on Stirling Bridge, in mud. The English had to file down into small ranks so they could cross the bridge, while William Wallace came in with full plate armour, not kilts, and butchered them with the rest of the Scots.
Factual error: The voice-over at the beginning of the film tells us that Malcolm Wallace was a commoner with his own lands and constant references are made through-out the film to William being a commoner. However this is a common historical myth. Malcolm Wallace was in fact born as a minor noble and became a knight, as was William. They were poor as noble families went but were still infinitely more privileged than the commoners of the day.
Visible crew/equipment: At Stirling right before Wallace drops his sword and picks up an axe you can see some black duct tape on his sword. A man then swings his sword at the exact position of the duct tape. This is an obvious test take where they rehearse the scene, and was not meant to end up on screen.
Deliberate mistake: In the funeral scene of Wallace's father and brother, the little girl picks a flower for young Wallace. Look closely when she picks the flower- its already been cut. [This was to make it easier for the little girl to pick it so not to hurt herself on the thorns.].
Visible crew/equipment: When Wallace captures the fort of the noble who killed his wife, he pushes said noble down a hill before putting him to the post and slitting his throat. If you watch when the noble is pushed, he rolls over and the cape uncovers the back of his costume. You can see blue pants that look like jeans under his costume.
Factual error: Malcolm Wallace had three sons: John, William, and Malcolm. He was not killed in a minor scuffle with the English. He, in fact, fought for several years with the English in order to free John de Baliol from the tower of London. At the time, Baliol was the rightful heir to the Scottish crown, and that was actually William's reason for fighting the English. Robert the Bruce was the one who actually liberated Scotland, right?
Revealing mistake: As the funeral of young William's father and brother is over, a man lifts a shovelful of dirt and empties it onto the open grave of one of the men. As he does this you can see the fake body that is wrapped up bounce pretty hard, revealing that it is not in fact a real person but something made out of lightweight material.
Revealing mistake: When Wallace rides into the village after his wife is killed, he hits the foot soldier with the mace-like weapon. When his horse is lanced, note that the lance is actually attached to the leather girdle on the horse, so, in effect, the animal is merely being pushed over.
Continuity mistake: When William comes to take Murron on a horse ride in the rain, he talks to Murron's parents. The camera cuts to Murron a couple of times, ducking under the shelter, and her hair is completely dry. But when she rushes out and jumps onto William's horse, her hair is soaked. Obviously this scene took several takes, and they didn't take the time to dry the actress's hair between each take.
Plot hole: In the scene where William takes Murron for their initial ride, he shows up in pouring rain, yet all further shots show the two of them totally dry. The tone of her mother's voice when they get back suggests they did not spend the night together, and the whole sequence appeared in a couple hours. They could not have gone from soaking-wet to bone-dry that fast.
Factual error: In the night scene after Malcolm Wallace's funeral we see the silhouette of a man playing bag pipes. Argyle tells William that they are outlawed tunes played on outlawed pipes. However, the bagpipes have only ever been banned twice in Scotland: in 1560 after the Reformation and again in 1746 after the Battle of Culloden (evidence for bans on bagpipes in the 18th century is weak at best). In the late 13th Century the bagpipe enjoyed similar popularity in England, although Scottish bagpipes were particular to the region, and had an established cultural importance. Whether these early bagpipes were as strongly associated with highland culture as later forms of the instrument is unclear; lowland and border musical tradition is more closely linked with small pipes.
Factual error: At the battle of Falkirk, the Irish soldiers fighting for Edward change sides at the last moment and go over to fight with the Scots. In reality, there were no Irish troops present at the battle. The only troublemakers amongst the English army were the contingent of Welsh bowmen who showed a reluctance to fight Wallace but this was more out of fear rather than sympathy for the Scots.
Continuity mistake: During the scene in which William Wallace is being executed, the camera pans the crowd and shows the ragged peasants staring in silence. An extra, who is a young woman with light hair and a dirty face and is standing near the front of the shot, stares directly at the camera for a few seconds while all the other extras look in a different direction towards the execution.
Continuity mistake: Just before Wallace picks up the archer to throw him over the ledge, you can the archer has a tin looking hat around his head with part of his suit covering his head below the hat. In the shot from in front of the ledge when Wallace is throwing him off the cap has now disappeared before he has been thrown. The following shot as he is falling its a bit hard to see his cap but you see it come off.
Continuity mistake: In the scene where William Wallace charges after the king's brigade after the Battle of Falkirk, and Robert the Bruce (disguised) turns and charges at him with a lance, Robert is wearing two distinctly different silver helmets before he hits Wallace and after. These two helmets are seen interchangeably in the preceding scenes also.
Revealing mistake: At the end of the battle of Stirling we see a Scotsman stab something with his sword and we can hear "Ouch.". However there is no one on the ground where he stabs. He just rams the sword into the ground. Then he does it again and we hear "Ouch.". Quite fun to watch.
Continuity mistake: At the very end of the movie, watch the man standing to the left of the Bruce at Banickburn. In a shot from behind, there is a man with very short and curly hair. In the very next shot, from the front this time, a different man with very long and straight hair is to Robert's left.
Continuity mistake: When William realizes that the Bruce has been bought by the King, he gives up and lies on the ground. Earlier, he had been hit with an arrow and if you look hard you can see the arrow move when he lies down. This shows the arrow to be attached to his clothing and not actually piercing his body.
Continuity mistake: During the scene in which Steven (the crazy Irishman) joins up with William Wallace and they converse about killing Englishmen and such, pay attention to Steven's forehead. It's very obvious that the scene was composed of multiple takes because of the way that repeatedly throughout the scene Steven's hair changes. There are a couple of locks of hair that go from being stuck across the middle of his forehead to being off to the side with the rest of his hair.
Other mistake: In one of the very last scenes of the movie, when William's friend Hamish takes out William's sword to throw it as a sign of honor for William, when Hamish extends his arm back to throw the sword he only takes a step or 2, but he does not hit any of the men standing in formation directly behind him with this 5 foot long sword.
Continuity mistake: There are scenes edited out of sequence. It is just after the fight scene where Wallace and other Scots storm the fort and Wallace kills the old guy that killed his wife. Well, in that scene, Hamish's father was struck in the shoulder with an arrow, and everybody is dirty and bleeding from the fight. The very next scene we see everybody cleaned up and fine at Wallace's wife's funeral, even Hamish's father can be seen without the arrow in his shoulder. Now, the scene after that, everybody is bloody and dirty again and they are removing the arrow from Hamish's dad. The funeral was edited out of sequence.
Continuity mistake: At Falkirk the order in which Longshanks, Robert the Bruce and the English soldier are standing changes from shot to shot. In some shots Bruce is between the soldier and Longshanks and in other shots the soldier is between Longshanks and Bruce without the actors ever moving.
Continuity mistake: Near the beginning when the boy is waiting for the men to return and he has the bucket of water, you hear the water slosh but the scrawny boy runs so effortlessly with it and you never hear it slosh again. Then when he is at the fence with his back to them, you see the bottom of the bucket is wet, but there's no water in it.
Factual error: Throughout the film, Wallace is portrayed as a Highland clansman in traditional highland garb. This was done by Gibson to emphasise the Scottish/English conflict, but it is not historically accurate. In fact, Wallace was a Lowland knight from exactly the same ethnic background as the Anglo-Normans he was fighting and would have worn the same style of armour as they did.
Continuity mistake: When the spy was trying to kill Wallace, he was seen swinging his sword forward. The shot cut to Stephen throwing his knife. When the shot cut back to the spy being hit by Stephen's knife, he was pulling back his sword to get ready for a forward swing. What? Did he miss on his first attempt and had to try again?
Continuity mistake: Watch the group of English soldiers that ride out to present the King's terms at Stirling. After Wallace insults them, they turn around and begin to leave. The sounds of their horses riding off are very audible. After Wallace's talk with the three nobles, their group breaks up and begins to ride back. A panoramic shot of the field is shown and the English representatives have just started to leave.
Continuity mistake: In the battle scene where they flanked their forces and and were going to use the long wooden spears on England's knights, they already had the spears out when it showed England's horses coming closer. Just look around them. It only shows for a second when it is zooming in pretty fast.
Continuity mistake: Near the end of the battle of Stirling (the first big one), an English officer on a horse comes at Wallace. Wallace swings his sword at the feet of the horse, knocking it and the officer down. As the officer falls his sword goes from one hand to the other several times.
Other mistake: After the fight at Falkirk where Robert The Bruce is walking through the field, there is a woman walking checking the bodies. All these people clearly are supposed to be dead. The woman lifts the head of a man and then puts it down. After she lets go of the head, the boy picks up his head and looks to his side.
Continuity mistake: In the scene where Wallace surrenders to the local magistrate, after Wallace has struck the English soldier that was holding the reigns of the horse, a second soldier attacks the horse with a spear. The spearhead is seen as the soldier starts the attack, after the cut the spearhead is gone, before it strikes the horse. The un-headed spear then hits the harness of the horse where it sticks as the horse rears, and the harness moves from the front of the horse's neck between the legs of the horse to the side, somehow passing through the raised legs of the horse.
Continuity mistake: At the end of the movie the executioner bends down to bind William's feet. The scene shows the rope starting around his feet and then a second later William is yanked into the air with a complicated noose-like knot holding his lower body to the ground. How did they make that knot so fast?
Continuity mistake: When Wallace is saved by Steven, right after he meets him, watch Steven as he is about to throw the small sword. When he comes out of the brush and starts running, he gets past the two trees in front of him, then it cuts to Wallace aiming his bow at him, then it cuts back to Steven and he is back behind the trees.
Continuity mistake: At the wedding scene near the beginning of the film, Wallace challenges Hamish to throw a large rock at him. He throws the rock, and in slow motion the rock is clearly on Wallace's left side; he even leans a little to his right as the rock starts to pass by on his left. But in the next angle the rock is very clearly on his right.
Continuity mistake: When Wallace pounds an English soldier with a large mallet, in the village where his wife was killed, watch the third hit. Wallace hits the soldier in the hip and then in the back. On the third hit, the mallet comes down at least an inch or two from the soldiers head, missing. The soldier jumps as if he was hit.
Continuity mistake: At Stirling when the Scottish attack on horse, there is a scene where an Englishman is being sliced by a sword and is quite bloody. Then it cuts to him being run over by two horses and you can see that it is not the same man nor are there any traces of blood on him. Then it cuts to him falling to the ground and he is again quite bloody.
Revealing mistake: During the first large battle between the Scots and the English, there is a clear, quick shot of an English soldier getting quite eviscerated on the right side of his body. For a fraction of a second, you can see a couple drops of blood splatter against some sort of protective glass between the camera and the soldier.
Other mistake: Near the end of the battle of Sterling after Wallace nearly hits one of his allies on the horse, look on the right side of the shot. An English man wearing metal armor is fighting some Scots. He doesn't make much effort, barely swinging his sword. The Scots fighting him also don't put up much of a challenge either.
Continuity mistake: In the scene where Longshanks returns from France, confronts Prince Edward, and the soldier has left the basket with the head of the Prince of York, Edward reaches to remove the cover with his left hand, his right hand is on his hip. When the angle changes he is lifting the cover off with his right hand and his left is on his hip, when the angle cuts back, his right hand is back on his hip and his left hand is moving away from the basket.
Continuity mistake: During the funeral for Wallace's father and brother, various people change positions. Murron starts out in front of her mother, frame left, then is in front of her father, frame right, then is back in front of her mother. Campbell and Hamish start out beside Wallace, jump to about 18 apart, then behind Wallace, then back to about 18 inches apart.
Continuity mistake: When Wallace was in the bedchamber of a noble lord, he takes out a chain with a ball at the end. The chain is wrapped twice around his fist, and the ball is dangling under his fist; however, when Wallace swings the weapon, the chain is leading outwards from the top of his fist.
Continuity mistake: During the execution scene when Wallace is reflecting and sees his wife in the crowd. Pay attention to the axe as it is coming down on Wallace's neck. As the axe approaches, it slows down as it gets closer. The scene is in slow motion, so look close. [According to Mel Gibson, the executioner actually placed the axe near Wallace's head and then raised the axe. The scene was shot in reverse for the movie. Doesn't make it less of a mistake, but explains it - the axe was accelerating, so in reverse it looks like it was slowing down]
Continuity mistake: When Wallace is at his brother and father's funeral at the start of the film, Hamish's and Murron's father are both in attendance. Let's say that this is about 20 years prior to the first battle at Stirling in 1297. 17 years later, the battle at Bannockburn takes place, yet Murron's father is fighting in it, looking not a day older than at the funeral scene which was supposedly almost 40 years prior to it. And when Hamish's father dies at Falkirk, he looks no older than at the aforementioned funeral scene. A miracle anti-ageing cream perhaps?
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