Mel Gibson’s Most Honored Movie Is Trending On Streaming

Mel Gibson's Braveheart is currently tearing up the streaming charts.

By Joshua Jones | Published

A classic Mel Gibson movie is killing it on streaming. According to Flix Patrol, the 1995 historical war drama Braveheart is on HBO Max’s Top 10 list of movies right now. The film was directed by Gibson himself, who also starred as the film’s protagonist.

Braveheart centers on Mel Gibson’s character Sir William Wallace, a late-13th-century Scottish warrior who leads the Scots during the war of Scottish Independence against King Edward I of England. The epic war drama was primarily filmed in Scotland and learned from June to October 1994. MGM-Pathe Communications was initially attached to the project with producer Alan Ladd Jr.

Once Alan departed from MGM, the Mel Gibson war drama found a new home at Paramount Studios. Gibson initially passed on the project after reading the script. The thought of Braveheart kept coming back to the actor, and eventually, he decided to join. He originally was only interested in directing and considered Brad Pitt for the leading role.

Principal photography on Braveheart began on June 6, 1994. Regarding the epic war scenes, Mel Gibson had roughly 1,600 extras to portray the armies. The actor had to tone down some of the violence in the post to avoid getting an NC-17 rating from the MPAA.

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The Braveheart score was done by legendary composer James Horner, who worked with Mel Gibson prior to landing the gig. The score was performed by the London Symphony Orchestra and has received praise over the years. Braveheart soundtrack became one of the most commercially successful soundtracks in history and was nominated for numerous awards, including the Academy Award and the Golden Globe Award.

After premiering at the Seattle International Film Festival on May 18, 1995, Braveheart received its theatrical release in the U.S. six days later. On its opening weekend, the Mel Gibson war drama grossed over $9 million at the box office and eventually managed to make it to the $200 million mark worldwide. It became one of the highest-grossing films of 1995.

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Despite the film’s box office success, Mel Gibson’s Braveheart did find itself at the center of many controversial discussions. Author of Braveheart: From Hollywood To Holyrood, Lin Anderson, has credited the film for having a significant role in changing the Scottish political landscape in the mid-90s. The Independent’s Ian Burrell once stated that Braveheart was “linked to a rise in anti-English prejudice.”

Two years after Braveheart was released in theaters, a sandstone statue of Mel Gibson’s character was placed in the car park of the Wallace Monument in Scotland. Some complained that the statue “desecrated” the main memorial to Wallace. The following year, someone vandalized the statue’s face, which later led it to be encased in a cage every night.

There was also much discussion about the film’s historical accuracy. Elizabeth Ewan has stated that the Mel Gibson war drama “sacrifices historical accuracy for an epic adventure.” In 2019, The Times named the film one of the “most historically inaccurate movies” of all time. Mel Gibson even acknowledged on the DVD commentary some of the historical inaccuracies in Braveheart.

Despite all the controversy, Mel Gibson’s Braveheart is still talked about amongst film fans today. It was nominated for numerous awards during the 1995 Oscar season and the Golden Globe for Best Director. By the end of the 1995 award season, Braveheart walked away with Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Sound Effects Editing, and Best Makeup at the Academy Awards. Braveheart became the ninth film to win Best Picture without no acting nominations. Independent Film & Television Alliance selected Braveheart as one of the 30 Most Significant Films of the last 30 years.

Not bad for a project Mel Gibson initially didn’t want to star in. The success of Braveheart gave the actor enough clout in the industry to direct other projects down the road. Gibson’s next directorial effort was 2004’s The Passion of the Christ, which also was an awards darling and a huge box office win for Gibson. The actor has credited other directors such as George Miller, Peter Weir, and Richard Donner for teaching him the art and craft of filmmaking.

Mel Gibson’s last directorial effort was the 2016 war drama Hacksaw Ridge. The film starred Andrew Garfield and earned Gibson an Academy Award nomination for Best Director.