In his engaging audio commentary, Mel Gibson is deeply appreciative of his cast and collaborators (especially Oscar-winning cinematographer John Toll) and, of course, quite amusing when he wants to be. Gibson notes, “I fell in love a little bit” when he cast then-newcomer Catherine McCormack as William Wallace’s ill-fated bride, and throughout his informative commentary, the actor-director conveys genuine passion for the story and a firm understanding of the period history that informed the entire production.
The accompanying documentary, Mel Gibson’s “Braveheart”: A Filmmaker’s Passion, is a 28-minute promotional film with behind-the- scenes footage and interviews with primary cast and crew. Particularly interesting are sequences revealing the equipment required for the epic battle scenes, including air cannons for firing dozens of arrows, and costly mechanical horses created to simulate animal-related violence. Viewers will especially admire the considerable challenge of filming in Europe’s rainiest region, Scotland, where inclement weather enhanced the film’s gritty authenticity.
Mel Gibson (William): Lower your flags and march straight back to England, stopping at every home to beg forgiveness for a hundred years of theft, rape, and murder. Do this and your men shall live. Do it not, and every one of you will die today.
Mel Gibson (William): Aye, fight and you may die, run, and you’ll live…at least a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willin’ to trade all of that from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take away our lives, but they’ll never take our freeeedoooomm!
Mel Gibson (William): Yes, I’ve heard. He kills men by the hundreds, and if he were here he’d consume the English with fireballs from his eyes and bolts of lightning from his arse. I am William Wallace, and I see a whole army of countrymen here in defiance of tyranny. You have come to fight as free men, and free men you are. What will you do with that freedom? Will you fight?
Sophie Marceau (Princess): You see? Death comes to us all. But before it comes to you, know this: your blood dies with you. A child who is not of your line grows in my belly. Your son will not sit long on the throne. I swear
Mel Gibson (William): Every man dies, not every man really lives.
Mel Gibson (William): FREEEEE-DOMMMMMM!
Narrator: I will tell you of William Wallace. Historians will call me a liar, but history is written by those who’ve hanged heroes.
Mel Gibson (William): It’s well beyond rage. Help me. For Christ’s sake, help yourselves! If we join, we can win. If we win, well then we’ll have what none of us has ever had before: a country of our own.