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"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."
I must have been 16 or 17 when this came out and it had a huge impact on me. It even inspired me to take a trip to Scotland after I graduated.
The story if you haven't guessed it already takes place in Scotland in the 13th century. At a young William's father is killed fighting the English and he is raised by his strange uncle Argyle. When he later returns, a grown man, people don't recognize him at first. Not even his childhood friend Hamish, that is until he gets a hard reminder with a stone to the forehead; they threw stones at sheep's skulls when they were young.
It is a hard time in Scotland, as a tyrant named Edward I "the Longshanks" rules Britain. As a plan to breed out the Scots he re-installs an ancient custom; "Prima Noctis", meaning that the Lord of each province has the right to take every newly married bride in his land to his own bed on the first night. By this time, William has reunited with a girl from his past; Murron, and they get married in a secret ceremony.
Williams plans to live his life in peace as a farmer are quickly shattered when a group of English soldiers tries to rape Murron. He kills the Englishmen and flees the village, but Murron is captured and executed in public to make a statement what happens when you oppose the English Crown. From this point on William no longer cares what happens and he starts an uprising effectively wiping out the English garrison. Rumor travels quickly that a man named William Wallace has started a rebellion and men from all over Scotland haste to join with him.
This movie has some great battle scenes, an epic soundtrack and excellent performances by all actors. The speech to the troops by Wallace is already considered a classic cinema moment. It was the first movie I got on Blu-Ray, along with The Fifth Element and I found it suiting to make this my first "new" review after my account was accidentally wiped.
"Not the archers. My scouts tell me their archers are miles away and no threat to us. Arrows cost money. Use up the Irish. The dead cost nothing."
--Edward the Longshanks
Dallas: [looks at a pen being dissolved by alien's body fluid] I haven't seen anything like that except, uh, molecular acid.
Brett: It must be using it for blood.
Parker: It's got a wonderful defense mechanism. You don't dare kill it.