MOTW: 5 Great Quotes from "Braveheart"

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures
February 6th, 2013

MOTW: 5 Great Quotes from "Braveheart"

The major blockbuster film and Mel Gibson vehicle "Braveheart" was released in 1995 to generally positive reviews. The plot of this movie is quite strong, the script is very tight, and the acting is straight over the top. Though it was released to theaters around the world nearly twenty years ago, the film grows ever more relevant with the passage of time. Certain turns of the film's dialogue and well-crafted phrases in the script fall trippingly from the tongue and make the experience of not just the movie but of life outside the theater that much richer and more vibrant than they would be otherwise. The reason is that truly quotable movie lines, much like great poetry, will often manage to encapsulate an entire area of the human experience that previously couldn't be described in words. With that power of the pen in mind, here are the top five quotes from 1995's "Braveheart," starting with:

5: "My hate will die with you."
This awesome line is spoken by a clearly very bitter Robert the Bruce to his father, who has just told him: "At last, you know what it means to hate. Now, you're ready to be a king." Robert's response is an epic promise to undo his father's legacy in as short a time as possible. Even if you have never seen the movie, it is impossible to hear this line without picturing the sneer on the younger man's face.

4: "Use up the Irish. The dead cost nothing."
This line is uttered by King Edward Longshanks when he's deciding whether or not to send off a salvo of arrows while still just out of range for the archers in his force. This particular line may or may not actually have been spoken at Bannockburn. Indeed, much of what happens in "Braveheart" may not be quite as historically sound as audiences were led to believe at the time of the movie's release, but it certainly sums up quite nicely and succinctly the attitude certain, if not most, British officers had toward their native auxiliaries in a war zone.

3: "Before we let you leave, your commander must cross that field, present himself before this army, put his head between his legs, and kiss his own arse."
This little gem is spoken to the enemy by none other than William Wallace himself. What makes this line so appealing and memorable is the elaborate particularity of it. A simple "Kiss my arse," or "Kiss your own arse" would probably have sufficed, but only by drawing out the insult and making it so precise, as if it were a set of rigid directions to be followed as part of a recipe, does it attain a true Scottishness.

2: "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 it."
This is whispered by the Princess Isabella to King Edward Longshanks on his deathbed, and it's a terrible thing to say to a king who has spent his entire life wrestling mightily to expand his kingdom, strengthen his hold on the domains, and safeguard the transition of power to an only son whom he knows to be unworthy of the mantle. This insult really stings, as it's the kind of thing nobody-not even a mighty king like Longshanks-can do a thing about in the moments before dying. It's a pointless gesture intended only to cause an evil old tyrant grief on his way out.

1: "The trouble with Scotland is that it's full of Scots."
This line is spoken by Longshanks himself. In a way, it's a pity that this line couldn't have been put into the mouth of one of the Scottish characters, as it seems like the kind of thing that people in Scotland really enjoy saying about themselves, even if only to make tourists and other non-Scots nervous. Of course, the fact that this line is being delivered by a bloodthirsty tyrant who is in a position to march an army through the heather and execute works of death, desolation, and tyranny-to coin a phrase-turns what would have been a good-natured joke by a Scottish blacksmith into a dark and ominous threat to kill until the "problem" has been solved. After all, the movie does go to a lot of trouble to establish the cruelty of Edward Longshanks.