movies Gladiator and Braveheart both focus on the highly popular and time-honored, classic theme of humankind's unending struggle for freedom. Braveheart and Gladiator share numerous similarities, but are very different movies, in several important ways. In both movies, the average man becomes a true hero, after he is horribly wronged, and is thereafter forced to fight for freedom for both himself and others, against what seem to be almost hopeless odds.
In these movies, the average man becomes a hero, both through circumstance, and the strength of his individual character. The average, unassuming man who evolves into a classic, but tragic hero is charismatic. It is this charisma that allows him to attract loyal followers, against their common and powerful opponents.
In both Braveheart and Gladiator, the tragic and unassuming hero ultimately suffers a horrible and dramatic death, as a result of his struggle for freedom and justice.
Certainly, both the protagonists of Braveheart and Gladiator were charismatic, strong leaders. The natural and prominent charisma of Braveheart's main character, William Wallace, is demonstrated in the quote below, as Wallace speaks to his loyal soldiers, "and dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take our freedom?"
The main character in Gladiator, Maximus also had a strong and charismatic personality. However, Maximus was much more of a leader by example than was William Wallace. In the following quote, Maximus is speaking to his arch enemy, Commodus, who has destroyed his life, by killing his family, and taking away his rightful position within the empire. "My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, Commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next."
Mel Gibson stars in Braveheart William Wallace. Wallace is a 13th-century Scottish commoner whose charisma and fighting skills ultimately function to help unite Scottish clans in a fight against an unjust and unethical King (Patrick McGoohan plays the role of the king). Braveheart is nearly three hours in length, and is a complex movie, with numerous interwoven subplots, in addition to the main plot.
Braveheart is a highly ambitious epic movie, one of few such movies in recent history that have been both a commercial and critical success. William Wallace's engaging and tragic tale spans from his childhood, to his brave and altruistic leadership of the Scottish clans in the heat of battle, to end with his tragic death. The majority of the details of William Wallace's life are showcased in the movie, including the tragic murder of Wallace's father, and the complex events that ultimately resulted in Wallace's quarrel and fight with the English, and his victories on the battlefield, culminating in Wallace's tragic death.
In Braveheart, a large number of battle scenes and battlefield action are alternated with quieter and more sensitive scenes, including a romantic sub-plot. In this romantic (and in the views of many critics, unnecessary) sub-plot, William Wallace enters into a romantic affair with Princess Isabelle after his wife dies a tragic and brutal death.
In the movie, the beautiful Princess Isabelle will ultimately reveal that she bears Wallace's child, ensuring that Wallace's genes will live on, despite his death.
Like Braveheart, the movie Gladiator is a true Hollywood epic, and is nearly three hours in length.
In the movie, Gladiator, the role of the main character, Maximus, is played by Russell Crowe. At the beginning of the movie, Maximus is a highly revered and powerful General in the great Roman Army. His incredible success on the battlefield has won him both the hearts of the people and the aged Emperor of Rome, Marcus Aurelius.
Marcus Aurelius has a son, Commodus, who is a great disappointment to the aging Emperor. Commodus is a failure in battle, a coward, who is interested only in political intrigue, and has not fathered a son as an heir to the throne. In contrast, Commodus has a beautiful and honourable sister, who can never rule the Roman Empire, because her status as a female prevents her rule.
Before he dies, the Emperor Marcus Aurelius chooses the beloved and brave Maximus as heir, thus thwarting the political ambitious of his disloyal and conniving son, Commodus. The ensuing power struggle between Commodus and Maximus results in Maximus and his family being condemned to die. Maximus cannot save his beloved family, and they die a horrible and gruesome death. The bodies of his wife and son are left burnt, and hung, in his family's estate, for Maximus to find.
After finding his family dead, Maximus is distraught and devastated, and he his captured and sold into slaver. Eventually, Maximus ends up in the Gladiatorial games. Maximus is bereft of his family, and vows to rise up, using his prowess as a Gladiator, and challenge Commodus, the man who murdered his family.
Maximus gains fame as an accomplished gladiator, and ends up in Rome, to participate in a marathon Gladiatorial game, in front of the Emperor Commodus. While there, Maximus plots to overthrow Commodus with the help of his sister, Lucilla. Lucilla has a son, Lucius, who is heir to the throne after Commodus. Commodus uses the threat of harming Lucius to control the actions of Lucilla.
In the arena of the Gladiators, Maximus inspires the people of Rome, and defies the Emperor. He aids the Roman people in seeing and ridding them of the overwhelming sickness and corruption of Roman culture. Through his amazing bravery and courage in the gladiator's arena, Maximus wins the hearts of the people, and ultimately reveals his true identity.
At the end of the movie, Commodus faces Maximus one on one. The fate of Rome is at stake, and Commodus is slain by the brave Maximus. Says Commodus, "The general who became a slave. The slave who became a gladiator. The gladiator who defied an emperor. Striking story! But now, the people want to know how the story ends. Only a famous death will do. And what could be more glorious than to challenge the Emperor himself in the great arena." However, a deceitful and dishonest trick by Commodus, results in the death of the brave, but now avenged hero, Maximus.
Interestingly, both the movies Braveheart and Gladiator have become popular with both critics and audiences alike. Braveheart won five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, both awarded to Mel Gibson. Both Spartacus and Gladiators were epics about romance, patriotism, battle, war, revenge, honor, intrigue, friendship, betrayal, and vain and dishonorable villains.
Like Gladiator, the movie Braveheart showcases the horror, and futility of war and violence. Interestingly, these movies also honor those heroes, Wallace and Maximus, who stand up and fight against oppression and dishonor.
In both Gladiator and Braveheart the horrors of the battlefield are clearly depicted and bloody and brutal hand-to-hand combat is clearly portrayed. In both movies both trusted friends and comrades die tragically in battle, and bloodshed and death are unflinchingly shown. Spartacus and William Wallace are shown as both shown as initially unwilling, but courageous and capable heroes of their families, comrades, and their people.
The scenes of battle both Spartacus and Braveheart are brutal, compelling and stunningly videotaped and choreographed. In both movies, warfare is shown as terribly violent, chaotic and incomprehensible. The horrific violence, death and bloodshed are never glorified in these movies. Despite this, the truly remarkable courage and skill in battle of both Wallace and Maximus is clearly showcased in the battle scenes. Interestingly, the battle scenes in Braveheart are not as brutal and violent as those of Gladiator. This may reflect an increasing audience approval or complacency about violence in movies.
Both Braveheart and Spartacus are historical epics, and both movies contain serious historical inaccuracies. The errors in Braveheart are likely more serious and compound, especially in tone, than the errors that are showcased in Spartacus, however.
The movie Braveheart has numerous historical errors that have greatly annoyed critics. These errors include errors about the relationship of William Wallace to the Scottish hero Robert Bruce, the age of the princess, and errors as simple as the type of clothing worn by the Scottish people. In Braveheart, a large number of liberties were taken with historical fact. These errors or oversights were most likely made in order to create a movie that was more appealing to North American audience members.
William Wallace is often thought to be a mere footnote in English history, while he is clearly understood to be fairly important in Scottish history. Wallace was not as powerful, or as clever and cunning as his English nemesis, King Edward I. As an aside, Edward I was also known as Longshanks, a nickname taken because of his…