Braveheart Bad History

Overview of the Film

William Wallace is a Scottish rebel who leads an uprising against the English ruler Edward the Longshanks, who wishes to inherit the crown of Scotland for himself. When Wallace was a young boy, his father, along with many others, lost their lives trying to free Scotland. Once he loses another of his loved ones, William Wallace begins his long quest to make Scotland free once and for all.

Wallace leads his people in a rebellion against the tyranny of the English King, who has given English nobility the 'Prima Nocta'.. a right to take all new brides for the first night. The Scots are none too pleased with the brutal English invaders, but they lack leadership to fight back. Wallace creates a legend of himself, with his courageous attacks on the English.


The film portrays William’s main reason for the revolt against the English being the “jus primae noctis,” or the kings right to the first night. It shows a woman being taken by the English to be deflowered by the king on her wedding day.

According to history, this holds no truth. Historians agree that there is no authentic proof of this actually exercised in the middle ages. It is mentioned during the time period, but it more mainly refers to the jus primae noctis as being related to marriage payments of unfree people.

The revolt is caused not by the right to the first night since it didn't actually exist, but because the Scots wanted their freedom.


In the film, the first fight was the Battle of Stirling Bridge. This battle takes place in the film in an open field where Wallace’s cavalry seems to be fleeing, and the English cavalry march towards a seemingly easy victory. William Wallace’s army was armed with long pikes which took the English cavalry down, and then Wallace’s cavalry came in to finish the English off.

Historically this is totally inaccurate. The battle took place at an actual bridge where the English were crossing. As 5,400 English had crossed the bridge, Wallace attacked and surrounded them. The English retreated and the men who had crossed the bridge were all killed.

The only accurate part of this scene is that William Wallace and the Scots won the battle.


The film portrays Edward the II of England as strictly homosexual and incapable of pleasing a woman. It clearly shows Edwards disdain when he is marrying Princess Isabella, and later reveals how sexually frustrated Isabella is. Due to Isabella not feeling the love, she seeks out Wallace and betrays Edward. The film also shows that Edward II is incompetent, and a very weak person.

According to history this is all inaccurate. Edward the II was not strictly homosexual, but bisexual. Edward fathered four children with the Queen, who he was later betrayed by in 1326 (21 years after Wallace had died). Edward may not have been the best king, but he did keep the throne from 1307-1327 AD, winning a few battles.

Here it shows the King throwing Edward II's lover, Piers Gaveston, out the window. This is completely inaccurate.

Piers Gaveston was beheaded after King Edward I had already died.


In Braveheart, William Wallace is shown having an affair with Princess Isabella while she is married to King Edward II. Through this affair Princess Isabella implies that she is carrying a child that is not of Edwards, but William Wallace’s.

This is historically inaccurate because Isabella was born in 1295, and Wallace was killed in 1305, making her only ten at the time. Isabella did not have her first child until 1312, which was seven years after Wallace had died. Historically William Wallace and Princess Isabella never met, nor crossed paths making the love story in Braveheart completely fictional.

This clip shows Isabella talking about Wallace, and how she is yearning for love that Edward couldn't give her.


The film draws an abundance of drama surrounding William Wallace’s death. King Edward is on his death bed during the time of Wallace’s execution, while Princess Isabella is upset to watch her lover die. The scene graphically depicts how Wallace is executed, and just moments before the death the movie shows King Edward of England taking his last and final breath. Hollywood makes this scene much more dramatic and symbolic because in the movie King Edwards last and final wish was to have the satisfaction of knowing that Wallace is dead. Edward obviously does not have his last wish fulfilled and the audience gets the satisfaction of knowing that the good guy always prevails.

According to history this is completely inaccurate. Edward did not die until July of 1307 making him alive at the time of Wallace’s execution in 1305. Princess Isabella was not at Wallace’s execution as well.

This scene shows Wallace being captured and carried through town on a strapped to a trailer and a cross. The film then appears to showing Wallace’s genitals or stomach being cut off.

According to history this is inaccurate. Wallace was never strapped to a cross. He was tied faced down and dragged thought the streets of London for four miles. His genitals and organs weren’t cut off, but were burned off.

According to our findings, we conclude that Braveheart is BAD history.