Tags: mel gibson | braveheart | scottish independence

How Relevant Is Mel Gibson's Film 'Braveheart' to Upcoming Scottish Independence Vote?

By    |   Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 10:51 AM

Mel Gibson's Oscar-winning film "Braveheart" has been mentioned frequently ahead of Scotland's vote on independence this week, but does it have anything to do with it?

The 1995 film takes place in the late 13th century, where Gibson plays real-life freedom fighter William Wallace, who fought the English in the first war of Scottish independence. Back then, Scotland had been invaded. These days, the story is entirely different.

"The film 'Braveheart,' is probably the first image that springs to mind when people think about Scottish nationalism. However, the current debate over sovereignty has little in common with the state of affairs in the 13th century," Business Insider wrote in a recent article.

"Though it may be tempting to imagine the cause of Scottish nationalism simmering for generations under the yoke of British oppression before bursting forth in the modern day, the events of the intervening centuries warn against such a simplistic reading."

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The Scots and the English willingly merged their kingdoms to form the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707, and, as BI noted, "the vote today is set against the backdrop of over three centuries of (reasonably) amicable relations between the countries."

That said, it might be easy to say "Braveheart" has had little to no influence on the current campaign for independence, but it's impossible to measure the influence it's had on hearts.

The Daily Record noted, for instance, that, "You only have to shout 'Freedom' to a Scot and the blood will stir."

In that same June article – headlined "Braveheart still resonates around world two decades after shooting began" – Mel Gibson said that the film continues to echo around the world because Wallace has become a symbol for freedom. Importantly, he noted that two decades ago, when he was filming the movie, thousands of Scottish citizens turned out to see the scenes recorded at Sterling Castle.

"I’ve never seen anything like it. Thousands and thousands of people lining the street. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t know there were that many people in Scotland. It was like this moment people had been waiting for in their DNA. It was phenomenal. I’d never seen anything like it and I doubt I will again," he said.

Though Gibson expresses pleasant surprise that "Braveheart" resonates so long after it was made, the actor hasn’t directly commented on the referendum, Maclean's reported.

In June, several Scottish actors from the film gathered for a special screening of Braveheart at the Dominion Cinema in Morningside to celebrate its upcoming 20th anniversary, as well as the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn.

The Edinburgh News reported that actor and prominent "Yes" campaigner Brian Cox used the occasion to remark on the upcoming vote, downplaying "Braveheart's" role, but acknowledging the spirit of freedom in both.

"Braveheart was just a movie, but this referendum is the real deal; it’s about democracy. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Scotland to take its place in the world," he said.

Actor Peter Mullan said that most people "won’t be influenced by a movie," but actively supports the campaign for independence as well.

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Mel Gibson's Oscar-winning film "Braveheart" has been mentioned frequently ahead of Scotland's vote on independence this week, but does it have anything to do with it?
mel gibson, braveheart, scottish independence
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2014-51-16
Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 10:51 AM
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