Braveheart won the Academy Award for Best Picture of 1995 and it's gone on to become a classic. The following behind-the-scenes stories will shed light on all the literal blood, sweat, and tears that went into making it. Already a firmly established actor, Mel Gibson solidified his status as an A-list director with his historical epic about the life of Scottish warrior William Wallace. Directing and acting in a movie with such massive scope wasn't easy, but he pulled it off like a master.
Of course, there were issues along the way. Gibson nearly perished during a close call on-set, hundreds of extras had to be coordinated, and, quite oddly, the cinematographer left a lot of shots out of focus. For whatever hurdles the cast and crew faced along the way, there's no denying they made a special film that continues to have great resonance - despite its well-documented historical inaccuracies.
Which of these Braveheart behind-the-scenes stories is most astonishing? Your votes will decide.
Some Extras Were Members Of The Wallace Clan
Because of its epic scope, Braveheart required hundreds of extras. And since that many people were needed, it only made sense to ask some of William Wallace's clan to participate.
To Gibson's pleasure, they turned out to be everything he could have expected. "You know they wear kilts; they’re into the full tradition,” Gibson recalled. “So I asked the old question, ‘What do you wear under the kilt?’ And this one guy, Seorus, just looked at me and said, ‘Your wife’s lipstick!’ That’s pretty heavy, right? But that’s the wit; it’s biting!”74427Freedom?!
The Mechanical Horses Fooled Ireland’s Animal Protection Society
Horses don't fare too well in Braveheart. They have to fall and get injured (or worse) in battle. Obviously, real horses couldn't be used for the rough shots, so the production built mechanical horses. The 150-pound fake steeds were metal skeletons covered with foam rubber and fake horse hair.
The mechanical animals were so convincing that they fooled Ireland's animal protection society. Gibson had to show the animal guardians B-roll (supplemental) footage to prove they weren't harming real horses. The director described himself as "kind of flattered" that they were fooled.62022Freedom?!
Sean Connery Helped Mel Gibson With His Scottish Accent
Mel Gibson is Australian. William Wallace was Scottish. That meant the actor was going to have to perfect a Scottish accent to be credible in the role.
To accomplish this task, Gibson came up with a truly inspired idea. He had dinner with Sean Connery - the definitive Scot - in order to study his accent. Gibson recalled, "I had dinner with Sean one time and Hungarian goulash was on the menu. To hear Sean actually utter a word like ‘goulash’ is a lesson in itself. You just pick up the accent from the people you’re talking to and hearing, and he helped me perfect my Scots accent.”56225Freedom?!
Mel Gibson’s Stunt Double Saved Him From Being Crushed By A Horse
Although not intentionally, Mel Gibson nearly sacrificed his life to make Braveheart. During the filming of one of the battle sequences, he was nearly crushed by a horse. The actor said, "There was a horse that nearly killed me. He had a good trick where he did this whole rear-up thing, but he'd also fall backwards, which is a problem if you've fallen off first and you're behind him. He did that to me."
Fortunately, a lightning-fast reaction time averted catastrophe. Gibson's stunt double recognized what was happening and rushed in to pull the actor to safety before the horse landed on him.50518Freedom?!