Mel Gibson was not only the lead actor but also the director of production for Braveheart, a role for which he won an Academy Award. The film was also honored with an Oscar for Best Cinematography. From the beginning of this project, Gibson was committed to filming in natural settings in both Ireland and Scotland to offer as realistic a landscape in which the events unfolded as possible.
Many of Braveheart’s action scenes were filmed in the beautiful Scottish Highlands on terrain that is rugged, mountainous, and true to the story. Filming for scenes requiring mountain landscapes took place near Loch Leven and Glen Coe. The small town of Lanark was built in the picturesque Glen Nevis Valley at the base of the stunning mountain known as Ben Nevis.
The journey through the mountain trail after the death of Mornay leads through the Mamores, a group of ten mountains that connect Loch Leven to Glen Nevis. For adventurous hikers, you can trace this invigorating trail, clinging to each mountain’s edge and covering the entire distance in only a day.
The inside of Mornay’s castle was captured in Edinburgh at the Edinburgh Council Chamber on the city’s High Street. The remaining shots in this popular film were all done in Ireland. The majority of the film was shot at locations found within a 30-mile radius of metropolitan Dublin. Most of the scenes that were filmed indoors took place at Dublin’s popular Ardmore Studios. If you’re looking for the locations of the best scenes in Braveheart, here are the places you should go.
Though William Wallace takes the name “Braveheart” in the movie, this nickname was actually bestowed upon Robert the Bruce in real life.
William Wallace secretly marries Murron scene in Braveheart
Glen Nevis, Fort William, UK
Used as the setting for William Wallace’s home village of Lanark, Wallace returns here as a grown man after traveling through Europe with his Uncle Argyle. Wallace reconnects with his friend Murron MacClannough with whom he begins a romance and later marries. During the secret wedding that occurs in Lanark, Wallace and Murron make these promises to one another:
William Wallace: “I will love you and no other, for the rest of my life.”
Murron: “And I you, you and no other, forever.”
This poignant scene is later juxtaposed against the tragic murder of Murron at the hands of the bitter and cruel English magistrate. This single action further stokes Wallace’s fire to wrench Scottish independence back from the English.
The location for this scene is found in the Glen Nevis Valley at the bottom of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain peak in the UK. The village of Lanark had to be built here, and its homes were fashioned after the charming huts found in St Kilda, a tiny isle located off the coast of Scotland. An extremely old civilization, Glen Nevis was the home of many battles throughout the years.
With the culmination of filming here, the set was dismantled, restoring the property to its original condition. However, the Braveheart Car Park, a parking lot built to facilitate those traveling to and from the set is still in place. To find the film site, you will need to travel past the glen and the car park to reach a spot that is just below the pinnacle of the path. The bus route N41 offers service to Glen Nevis.
The Battle of Stirling Bridge scene in Braveheart
Curragh Plain region, between Newbridge and Kildare
In this scene, we see William Wallace addressing the Scottish troops before leading them into the Battle of Stirling Bridge in what would become known as the First War of Scottish Independence. A particularly gruesome battle, this attack was waged on September 11th, 1297, and was successful in spite of Wallace’s army being dramatically outnumbered by their English opponents.
The bridge this battle is named for played a vital role in Wallace’s success since it thwarted the English soldiers’ attempts to swarm the Scots. Ironically, the bridge is not seen in the film. This scene was shot at an alternate location: the Curragh Plain region which rests between the two Irish cities of Newbridge and Kildare. This vast grassland space covers 5,000 acres of ground in total.
Just prior to leading his army in storming the English soldiers, William Wallace shouts this now famous quote: “They may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!” Though the real-life battle was fought directly on this historic bridge, the Braveheart film scene takes place on the grassland tract instead. It took six weeks of filming to complete the scene. Nine cameras and 2,000 extras were needed to recreate this epic attack on film.
William Wallace leads the Scottish Army to York scene in Braveheart
Trim Castle, County Meath, Ireland
Following the successful Battle of Stirling Bridge, William Wallace moves the Scottish army forward to overthrow and destroy the city of York. The ruination of York is significant since the city stood as the boundary that separated the North and South and its destruction was to send a message to Longshanks that the Scots would not rest until their independence was achieved.
It is during this scene that discourse occurs between Cheltham, Mornay, Lochlan, Craig, and Wallace. A truce is proposed by Cheltham to which Wallace responds: “Here are Scotland's terms. Lower your flags, and march straight back to England, stopping at every home you pass by to beg forgiveness for a hundred years of theft, rape, and murder. Do that and your men shall live. Do it not, and every one of you will die today.”
This prominent scene was filled at Trim Castle in Ireland. Standing as the setting for York Castle, Trim Castle is now a set of ruins found in County Meath. The castle was constructed near the end of the 1100s and is the biggest castle in the country. Travel from Dublin to Trim Castle can be done by bus, taxi, or passenger vehicle.
William Wallace kills Mornay scene in Braveheart
Ballymore Eustace/Blessington Lakes, Ireland
Following the Battle of Falkirk, William Wallace kills Mornay for his betrayal by delivering a blow that crushes his skull. When a Scottish noble hears of the news of Mornay’s death, he asks for confirmation of the truth of the rumor from Craig. Craig responds by saying, “Ay, Wallace rode into his bed chamber and killed him. More a liability now than ever he was. And there's no telling who'll be next.”
This scene takes place at Ballymore Eustace in Ireland. As Wallace flees the murder scene, the cameras trace his route along Blessington Lakes. To complete the film shoot, a 45-foot tower had to be built to permit Wallace’s jump from the window of Mornay’s bedroom to the water belong. The lakes found at Ballymore Eustace are manmade and cover more than 5000 acres of total ground. In addition to visiting this movie location, you can also enjoy such activities as fishing, sailing, windsurfing, and canoeing here.
The Line 65 bus offers quick transportation from Dublin to Blessington Lakes. The site is also easily accessed by taxi or passenger vehicle.
The capture of William Wallace in scene in Braveheart
Dunsoghly Castle, Ireland
This scene sees William Wallace captured by the English and taken to Edinburgh Castle where he will later stand trial under the English magistrate. Isabella of France comes to visit Wallace during his imprisonment and implores him to swear allegiance to the king in order that his life be spared. It is during this scene that Wallace expresses this sentiment, “Every man dies, not every man really lives.”
The setting for this scene is Ireland’s Dunsoghly Castle, a facility that traces its roots back as far as 1450. Dunsoghly Castle is quite unique in that it is very statuesque and square in shape.
Today, Dunsoghly Castle bears the distinction of being the only Irish castle that still has its original medieval trussed roof shingles. Several dungeons and castle ruins in Bective, County Meath, were also alternately used for scenes involving Wallace’s imprisonment. Dunsoghly Castle is easily found two miles outside Finglas off the N2 highway that separated Kilshane Bridge and Pass If You Can. Though the grounds can be visited, the castle itself is no longer open to the public.
William Wallace is beheaded scene in Braveheart
Bective Abbey, County Meath, Ireland
In one of the most moving scenes in the movie, the captured William Wallace is brought before the English magistrate for his sentence of public torture and beheading to be fulfilled. Wallace endures tremendous pain and suffering which moves the crowd to beg for mercy. In response to their compassion, the Magistrate offers Wallace the chance for a quick death if he will only utter a single word, “Mercy!” Instead, Wallace shouts “Freedom!” Just before Wallace is beheaded with an axe, he sees a vision of his beloved Murron smiling at him.
For avid historians, the true site where William Wallace was tortured and killed is West Smithfield, London, EC1. However, this scene in the film was shot at Bective Abbey, County Meath, Ireland. A national monument located along the River Boyne, Bective Abbey is located only a short distance outside Dublin. Only 18 minutes by bus from nearby Trim, both bus routes 109B and 190 provide direct access to the historical ruins and car park found at the Bective Abbey site where this scene was filmed.
“It’s all for nothing if you don’t have freedom.” This singular remark essentially sums up the plot of the epic drama Braveheart. This heart-wrenching, bloody film takes us through many fiercely fought battles, tremendous victories, and devastating defeats in the struggle to gain independence for Scotland. Though William Wallace did not live to see his vision come to fruition, Robert the Bruce valiantly carried on in his name, finally winning the Scottish people their freedom.
Braveheart travels through some of the most picturesque regions of both Scotland and Ireland, transporting us through hills, valleys, and mountains that are not only true to the original landscape of the story but enchanting to behold. It is not difficult to see why Braveheart garnered the many accolades it did including its Academy Awards for Best Cinematography and Best Picture.