Mel Gibson Reveals Why ‘Braveheart’ Stands Test of Time in ‘Country Like the United States’

by Jon D. B.

Oscar-winning director Mel Gibson is revisiting “Braveheart” for the celebrated film’s 25th anniversary, and cites why he thinks the film holds up as a classic among Americans.

For U.S. cinephiles, there’s no doubting the lasting power of Mel Gibson’s William Wallace epic, “Braveheart.” The film focuses on Scotland’s most revered revolutionary – who himself has also stood the test of time.

Gibson’s romanticized vision of Wallace’s revolt against the English is not only considered one of the actor and director’s best films to date. But one of the finest films Hollywood has yet to produce.

While it’s easy for fans of Gibson and his work to find reasons for the timelessness of “Braveheart”, it’s a topic the A-lister himself hasn’t really taken the time to fathom – or discuss. Now for the celebrated film’s 25th anniversary, Mel Gibson is doing just that with Fox’s “The Ingraham Angle”.

Mel Gibson ‘Impressed’ with ‘Braveheart’ 25 Years On

Speaking with Fox, the actor opens up on how “impressed” he is with the 1995 film. Even 25 years after it won him two Oscars – for both Best Picture and Best Director.

Chiefly, Gibson says, he’s surprised by “Braveheart” still receiving public screenings in the United States some two decades after initial release. Before the onset of the current pandemic, that is.

It’s something he’s deeply grateful for, as well. Gibson still recalls the long, grueling days pulling double-duty as both the film’s director and star. It all paid off with two Oscars and a Hollywood classic, sure, but it’s hard to see the forest for the trees when you’re in the trenches.

“I was looking at other people [to play Wallace] but nobody trusted me as a director so I had to jump in there myself — that’s partially true,” he tells FOX. “It just came to the point where I just had to jump in myself and Paramount and Fox, who were financing the film said, ‘Well, that make sense. We want you to be in it’.”

‘Braveheart’: A Classic For Those Who ‘Value Freedom’

Mel Gibson as William Wallace in “Braveheart”. (Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)

As for the film’s lasting power? Gibson chalks it up to the “reverence in America for the idea of freedom.” Gibson counts himself among those who do, too. While he grew up in Australia after his family’s relocation as a child, the actor was born an American citizen in New York State.

Clarifying, Gibson adds that “Braveheart” is “talking about things that we all prize and the lengths we will go to to preserve those for ourselves and for our families,” Gibson continues. “And I think themes like that in a country like the United States is really important.”

“Braveheart” isn’t alone in Mel Gibson’s filmography when it comes to celebrating freedom, either. Another of his lauded classics, aptly titled “The Patriot,” also celebrates the ideals of freedom (from the British again, no less). Both films stand the test of time for Americans, and likely always will.

For “The Patriot”s part, Gibson says his lead character, South Carolina revolutionary Benjamin Martin, is based on a mix of real-life American freedom fighters: Francis “Swamp Fox” Marion and Major General Nathanael Greene.

What of Gibson’s Own American Political Views?

FOX didn’t miss the chance to ask the man himself about his own political views, however. With all this talk of America and Freedom, host Raymond Arroyo closes the interview by asking Gibson where he stands on everything in the deeply divided United States.

“Who the hell cares what I think?” Gibson answers sternly. “I’m not an expert — what am I qualified to talk about?”

Gibson, for his part, sticks to his staunch “no politics” policy. Even after Arroyo presses him on “rarely weighing in on partisan issues or candidates.”

The Oscar winner then clarifies that his choice to remain silent is, obviously, a deliberate one. “It’s alright,” he reassures Arroyo. “It allows you a sense of anonymity so that in your performance you can come out and just be anything; you’re not already carrying a lot of baggage. It’s partially intentional.”

For a man who knows film as intimately as Mel Gibson, there is great wisdom in staying within your lane.

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