Screenplay :: Braveheart by Mel Gibson

September 11, 2008 at 7:05 am 1 comment

Fade in:

EXT. The SCOTTISH countryside – day

Epic beauty:  cobalt mountains beneath a glowering purple sky
fringed with pink, as if the clouds were a lid too small for the
earth; a cascading landscape of boulders shrouded in deep green
grass; and the blue lochs, reflecting the sky.  We hear a voice,
husky, Scottish…

Voice over

I will tell you of William Wallace.

Ext. MAcandrews farm – day

A farmhouse and a large barn lie nestled in a Scottish valley.
Riding down the roads that lead in from opposite sides are
Scottish noblemen in full regalia:  eye-popping tartans,
sparkling chestplates.  Even the horses are draped in scarlet.
Behind each nobleman rides a single page boy.

Voice over (cont’d)

Historians from England will say I am a liar.  But history is
written by those who have hung heroes.

Another noble rides in from the opposite side.  Two more appear
down the road, converging on the barn.


The King of Scotland had died without a son, and the king of
England, a cruel pagan known as Edward the Longshanks, claimed
the throne for himself.  Scotland’s nobles fought him, and fought
each other, over the crown.  So Longshanks invited them to talks
of truce.  No weapons, one page only.

The nobles eye each other cautiously, but the truce holds.  They
enter the barn, with their pages…

Ext. SCOTTISH farm – day

Nestled in emerald hills are the thatched roof house and barn and
outbuildings of a well-run farm.  The farmer, MALCOLM WALLACE,
and his nineteen-year-old son JOHN, both strong, tough men, are
riding away from the farm.  They hear hooves behind them and turn
to see a boy riding after them.


Among the farmers of that shire was Malcolm Wallace, a commoner,
with his own lands and two sons:  John…

We FAVOR JOHN WALLACE, the nineteen-year-old sitting easily on
his horse, beside his father…


…and William.

WILLIAM, a skinny eight-year-old riding bareback, catches up to
his father and older brother.


Told ya to stay.


I finished my chores.  Where we goin’?


MacAndrews’.  He was supposed to visit when the truce was over.

They ride on, over the lush hills.

EXT. the Macandrews farm – day

The horses are all gone; the place looks deserted.  UP ON THE
HILL we see the three Wallaces, looking down.


Stay here.

He means William.  He and his elder son spur their horses.

at the bard – day

The Wallaces ride up, looking around.


MacAndrews! …MacAndrews!?

Malcolm finds a pitchfork, John the woodpile axe…

int. the barn

POV from within as the door opens and a widening block of
sunlight illuminates the dusty shadows.  Malcolm and John Wallace
step in, and are shocked to see…


Hanging from the rafters of the barn are thirty Scottish noblemen
and thirty pages, their faces purple and contorted by the
strangulation hanging, their tongues protruding.

Malcolm stabs the pitchfork into the ground in useless anger;
John still grips the axe as he follows his father through the
hanging bodies of the noblemen to the back row, to see the one
man in commoner’s dress, like theirs…



A SHUFFLE; John spins; William has entered the back door.


William!  Get out of here!


Why would MacAndrews make so many scarecrows?

Before his father and brother can think of anything to say,
William, with a boy’s curiosity, touches the spurred foot of the
hanged noblemen we first saw riding in.  It’s too solid; he takes
a real look at the face, and suddenly–


R– real!!!….Ahhhhhgggg!…

He turns to run, but knocks back into the feet of the hanged man
behind him!  In blind panic he darts in another direction, and
runs into another corpse, and another; the hanged men begin to
swing, making it harder for William’s father and older brother to
fight their way to him.


William!  William!

Then, worst of all, William sees the pages, boys like himself,
hanged in a row behind their masters!

Finally his father and brother reach William and hug him tight.
There in the barn, among the swinging bodies of the hanged
nobles, Malcolm Wallace grips his sons.


Murderin’ English bastards.

cut to:

ext. wallace farmhouse – night

The cottage looks peaceful, the windows glowing yellow into the
night.  From outside the house we see John rise and close the
shutters of the kitchen, where men are gathered.  We PAN UP to
the upper bedroom window…


Young William is in nightmarish sleep.  He mumbles in smothered
terror; he twitches.  We see


In the blue-grays of his dream, William stands at the door of the
barn, gazing at the hanged knights.  We WHIP PAN to their faces,
garish, horrible…  Then one of the heads moves and its eyes
open!  William wants to run, but he can’t get his body to
respond… and the hanging nobleman, his bloated tongue still
bursting through his lips, moans…



WILLIAM tears himself from sleep; looking around, swallowing back
his tears and panic.


A dozen strong, tough farmers have huddled.  Red-headed CAMPBELL,
scarred and missing fingers, is stirred up, while his friend
MacCLANNOUGH is reluctant.


Wallace is right!  We fight ‘em!


Every nobleman who had any will to fight was at that meeting.

malcolm wallace

So it’s up to us!  We show them we won’t lie down to be their


We can’t beat an army, not with the fifty farmers we can raise!

Malcolm wallace

We don’t have to beat ‘em, just fight ‘em.  To show ‘em we’re not
dogs, but men.

Young Wallace has snuck down and is eavesdropping from the
stairs.  He sees his father drip his finger into a jug of whiskey
and use the wet finger to draw on the tabletop.

Malcolm wallace

They have a camp here.  We attack them at sunset tomorrow.  Give
us all night to run home.

EXT. wallace farm – day

Malcolm and John have saddled horses; they are checking the short
swords they’ve tucked into grain sacks when William comes out of
the barn with his own horse.


William, you’re staying here.


I can fight.

These words from his youngest son make Malcolm pause, and kneel,
to look into William’s eyes.


Aye.  But it’s our wits that make us men.  I love ya, boy.  You

Malcolm and John mount their horses and ride away, leaving
William looking forlorn.  They wave; he waves back.


It’s strangely quiet, until William and his friend HAMISH
CAMPBELL, a red-headed like his father, race up the hillside and
duck in among a grove of trees.  Breathless, gasping, they press
their backs to the tree bark.  William peers around a tree, then
shrinks back and whispers…


They’re coming!


How man?


three, maybe more!




They’re English soldiers, ain’t they?


With your father and brother gone, they’ll kill us and burn the


It’s up to us, Hamish!

Hamish leans forward for a look, but William pulls him back.


Not yet!  Here he comes, be ready!

They wait; heavy FOOTSTEPS.  Then from around the edge of the
grove three enormous, ugly hogs appear.  The boys hurling rotten
eggs.  The eggs slap the snouts of the pigs, who scatter as the
boys charge, howling.  We PULL BACK…as the sun goes down on
their play.


The boys walk toward the house, beneath a lavender sky.


Wanna stay with me tonight?


I wanna have supper waitin’.


We’ll get those English pigs tomorrow.


Aye, we’ll get ‘em.

EXT. HOUSE – Night

William’s face appears at the window, looking toward


of trees and heather, where there is no sign of life.

INT. the house – night

William has cooked stew in a pot, and now spoons up two steaming
bowls full and sets them out on the table.  But he is only
hoping.  He looks out the window again; he is still all alone.
So he leaves a candle burning on the table beside the stew, and
moves up the stairs.

Ext. farmhouse – dawn

The house is silent, fog rolling around it in the dawn.

INt. farmhouse – dawn

William has been awake all night, afraid to sleep.  He rises, and
in QUICK CUTS:  he dresses; he moves down the hall, stops at the
door of his father’s bedroom and sees the undisturbed bed.  He
moves on, passing the door of his brother’s room, also unrumpled.


He finds the two cold bowls of stew, beside the exhausted candle.
He spoons up his own cold porridge, and eats alone.

EXT. house – day

William is in the barn loft, shoveling corn down to feed the
hogs, while he glimpses something coming.


An ox cart is coming down the curving lane.  Its driver is
Campbell, with MacClannough walking behind it.  The farmers
glance up at William, their faces grim…

From his perch in the loft, William sees that the neighbors have
brought: the bodies of his father and brother.  The cart stops;
Campbell, with a bandage around his left hand where more of his
fingers are now missing, studies the back of the ox, as if it
could tell him how to break such news.  The butt of the ox seems
to tell him to be matter-of-fact.


William… Come down here, lad.

William looks away, he takes quick breaths, he looks back…but
the bodies are still there.


It’s now surrounded by horses, wagons, and neighbors.  The
undertaker arrives in his hearse.

Int. the shed – day

On a table the undertaker has laid out the bodies and is
preparing them.  Cloths around the lower jaw and top of the head
bind their mouths shut; pennies cover their eyes.

Softly, William enters the shed, drawn to his father and brother.
Campbell follows him in, wanting to stop him–but what can he say
now?  The undertaker goes on with his work.  William approaches
the table; the bodies don’t look real to him.  He sees the
wounds.  The dried blood.  The undertake pours water from a bowl
and scrubs off the blood.  But the wounds remain.

EXt. Graveside – day

CLOSE on a grave, with a headstone marked ANNE WALLACE.  We
INCLUDE the two new graves freshly dug beside it, and see the
mourners gathered before them.  The sight of the boy, standing
alone in front of the graves of his dead mother, as the bodies of
his father and brother are lowered with ropes into the ground
beside her, has all of the neighbors shaken.  The local parish
PRIEST drones mechanically in Latin.

The farmers who were secretly gathered in Malcolm Wallace’s
kitchen the previous night are now glancing at William; but no
one is anxious to adopt a grieving, a rebellious boy.  Behind
MacClannough are his wife and two daughters; his youngest is
barely four, not half William’s age; she’s a beautiful girl with
long auburn hair, and she clings to her own mother’s hand, as if
the open graves are the mouths of death and might suck her
parents in too.


…Restare in pacem eternis, Amen.

With the final Amen, the neighbors drift from the graveside,
pulling their Children along, to give William a last moment of
private grief before the gravediggers cover the bodies.

The boy stands alone over the open graves, his heart so shattered
that he can scarcely cry; a single tear makes its way down his
face.  And the tiny girl feels for William in a way that the
adults cannot.  From the ground she pulls a Scottish thistle,
moves to the softly weeping William and places the beautiful wild
blossom in his hand.

William looks up and their young eyes meet; her sad blue eyes
hold William’s as the gravediggers cover the bodies.

Then a lone, mounted figure appears at the crest of the hill
above them.  Tall, thin and angular, in black clerical garb, he
looks like the grim reaper.  The girl hurries back to her
mother’s side; everyone watches in silence as the figure rides
down to them.  He is ARGYLE WALLACE.  He looks like a human
buzzard, his face craggy, permanently furious.


You must be the relative of the deceased.   …William, this is
you Uncle Argyle.

Argyle glowers at the man, dismounts, and glares at William.
William stares up at this frightening figure.  They are
interrupted by the ominous sound of approaching horses; a dozen
mounted English soldiers, armed with lances, are approaching.
Argyle rattles to the priest…


You were wise to hurry.

The soldiers ride right in among the mourners and stare down from
their saddles, haughty, menacing, their LEADER brusque.


Someone dead from this household?


We just had a funeral, isn’t that what it means in England as


What it means in England–and in Scotland too–is that rebels
have forfeited their lands.  We were ambushed last night.  But
the Scots dragged their dead away.


My brother and nephew perished two days ago, when their hay cart
turned over.


Then we’ll just have a peek at the wounds.

(to his men)

Dig ‘em up!


They’ve been sanctified and buried in the holy rites of God’s
church, and any hand that disturbs them now takes on eternal
damnation.  So please–do it.

Outmaneuvered, the leader reins his horse away.  Several of the
farmers spit on the ground.  Argyle glares at them.


Funeral’s over.  Go home.

INT. the kitchen – night

William and Argyle are sitting at the table, eating.  Argyle has
laid out a proper meal, with exact place settings.


Not that spoon, that one’s for soup.  Dip away from you.  And
don’t slurp.

Argyle sits down and begins to dine with the boy.


We’ll sleep here tonight.  You’ll come home with me.  We’ll let
the house, and the lands too; plenty of willing neighbors.


I don’t want to leave.


Didn’t want your father to die either, did ya?  But it happened.

Argyle pushes his food away; he has no appetite now.


Did the priest say anything about the Resurrection?  Or was it
all about Judgment?


It was in Latin, sir.


Non loquis Latinum?  You don’t speak Latin?  We shave have to fix
that, won’t we?  (beat)  (beat)

Argyle (cont’d)

Did he give the poetic benediction?  The Lord bless thee and keep
thee?  Patris Benefactum et–


…It was Malcolm’s favorite.

INT. william’s bedroom – night

Argyle knows nothing about tucking a boy in bed; he stands
awkwardly idle as William scrubs his face at the washstand and
crawls into bed.


Good night, Uncle.

Argyle grunts and starts out.  Then he stops, turns back, leans
down over William… and with great tenderness the grizzled old
uncle kisses his nephew on his hair.

INT. the kitchen – night

Argyle sits by the hearth, staring at the embers.  He holds the
huge broadsword that belonged to his brother.  He looks at the
handle, like a cross.  He whispers…


“The Lord bless thee and keep thee…”

Tears of grief spill down the old man’s cheeks.

Int. the hanging barn – In william’s dream

Once again the boy stands in the doorway of the barn, looking at
the garish, hanged faces in his nightmare.  Then a mangled hand
comes from behind him and grasps his shoulder, William gasps, but
the hand holds him gently.  He turns to see his father, and his
brother!  They are wounded, bloody, but they smile at him;
they’re alive!  Weeping in joy, William reaches to hug them, but
his father stretches forth a forbidding hand.

William keeps reaching out helplessly.  His father and brother
move past him to the hanged knights.  Two empty nooses are there.
Before the boy’s weeping eyes they put their heads into the
nooses, and hoist themselves up.  William’s grief explodes; his
tears erupt and


tears flooding down his face.  A dream!  Still upset, still
grieving, he gets up and goes looking for his uncle.


William moves down to the room where his uncle would be sleeping.
He opens the door.  The bed has been slept in–but his uncle is
not there.  He moves downstairs to


But his uncle is not there either.  Then William hears a strange,
haunting sound-distant, carried by the wind.  He moves to the
window and sees only moonlight.  He opens the window and hears it
more clearly: bagpipes.  William lights a candle and throws open
the door.  Wind rushes in, blowing out his candle.  But he hears
the pipes, louder in the wind.

EXT. Wallace House – Night

William is barefoot and in only his nightshirt; but the sound of
the pipes is growing louder.  He moves through the moonlight,
drawn toward–the graveyard!  He stops as he realizes this, then
forces himself on.

EXT. Graveyard – night

William moves to the top of the hill where his ancestors are
buried, and discovers a haunting scene: two dozen men, the
farmer/warriors of his neighborhood, are gathered in kilts–and
among them, a core of bagpipers.  The pipes wail an ancient
Scottish dirge, a tune of grief and redemption, a melody known to
us as “Amazing Grace.”

Uncle Argyle has heard them and walked out too; he stands at the
fringes of the torchlight, still holding the massive broadsword.
He glances down, noticing William as the boy moves up beside him.
William whispers…


What are they doing?


Saying goodbye in their own way–in outlawed tartans, with
outlawed pipes, playing outlawed tunes.

The farmers file by the graveside, crossing themselves, each
whispering his own private prayer.  Argyle whispers, half to
William, and half to himself…


Your Daddy and I, we saw our own father buried like this, dead
from fighting the English.

William takes the sword from his uncle, and tries to lift it.
Slowly, Argyle takes the sword back.


First learn to use this.

He taps William on the temple with the tip of his finger.


Then I will teach you to use this.

With an expert’s easy fluidity, he lifts the huge sword.  It
glistens in the torchlight.  The music plays, the notes hanging
in the air, swirling in the Scottish breeze as if rising towards
the stars…

EXT. wallace farm – day

William and his uncle ride off in a farm wagon.  William has a
bundle of clothes in his lap, and glances at his uncle as if
afraid of his disapproval if he looks back.  But he does glance
back just once, to see the deserted farmhouse.



Amid the scarlet and ermine robes of officiating lords, with
gemstones sparkling everywhere, we hear…

Voice over

Twelve years later, Longshanks supervised the wedding of his
eldest son, also named Edward, who would succeed him to the

LONGSHANKS, King of England, stands in the jeweled light of the
ancient Abbey.  Known as Longshanks because of the spindly legs
that make him almost seven feet tall, he has a hawk’s nose and a
snake’s eyes, punctuating a face of distinct cruelty.  Historians
of his day considered him and the line of Plantagenets from which
he came to be devil worshipers.

Voice over

As bride for his son, Longshanks had chosen a relative of his
rival, the king of France.

GENEVIEVE, a nineteen-year-old virgin of stupendous beauty moves
down the aisle, the light in her face outshining her blindingly
white wedding gown.  As she reaches the altar her hands tremble,
but she maintains her poise and control.

She looks toward EDWARD, Prince of Wales.  Pampered young men
surround him as his retinue.  He takes her hand coldly and goes
through the ceremony under his father’s stare.


It was widely whispered that for the Princess to conceive,
Longshanks would have to do the honors himself.  That may have
been what he had in mind all along.

The ceremony concluding, attendants lift back the bride’s veil.
Her wedding day, the ultimate moment–and Prince Edward ignores
her, to turn back to his friends.  But prompted by one of the
sour lords, he leans over and pecks his new Princess on the
cheek.  For an instant, we see in her eyes that her heart is
dying.  But she keeps her poise.


Having seen to his obligations to provide for a successor,
Longshanks set about his fondest business–to crush Scotland, and
turn his power against France…


Longshanks’ narrow finger jabs Scotland.


Scotland!  Scot-land!

We are INT. ROYAL ENGLISH PALACE – DAY.  Longshanks is being
listened to by his advisors, all in the outrageous splendor of
royal military dress, and all deathly afraid of him.


The French will grovel to anyone with strength!  But how will
they credit our strength when we cannot rule the whole of our own

He punches the map, then sees the Princess enter softly.


Where is my son?


your pardon, M’lord, he asked me to come in his stead.

Longshanks’ eyes expand in fury; it is frightening to see.


I sent for him–and the little coward send you?!


shall I leave, M’lord?


If he wants his queen to rule, then you stay and learn how!  I
will deal with him.

He spins back toward his generals.  Ignored, the princess settles
silently onto the cushions of the window seat.


Nobles are the key to the Scottish door.  Grant their nobles land
here in England.  Give our own nobles estates in the north.  Make
them too greedy to oppose us.

One OLD ADVISOR speaks up hesitantly.


Sire…  Our nobles will be reluctant to relocate.  New lands
mean new taxes, and they are taxed already for our war in France.

Longshanks glares at him, but takes the point.  The wheels grind
in his brain; his dark eyes falling on the Princess, he is


Perhaps it’s time to reinstitute an old custom.  Grant them prima
noctes, “First night.”  When any common girl inhabiting their
lands is married, our lords shall have sexual rights to her on
the night of her wedding.  That should fetch just the kind of
lords we want in Scotland.

Int. prince edward’s royal apartments – day

The prince and a muscular young friend, PHILLIP, are stripped to
the waist and fencing.  They pay no attention to the KNOCK, or to
the Princess as she enters.  She watches them–they are dancing
more than fencing.  Edward loses his sword; it clatters to the
polished floor.  He looks up at his wife, as if angry at her for
having seen his clumsiness.


What is it?!


you directed me to report to you the moment the king’s conference
was ended.


So I did!  And what was so important about it?


Scotland.  He intends–

But Edward and his friend are fencing again, the clanging of
their blunted swords so loud that she can’t hear herself.


He intends to grant–

Edward loses his weapon again, and whirls on her.


Shut up, would you!  How can I concentrate?!


…His majesty was quite keen that you should understand–


All so very boring!  He wants me to learn to fight too, so let me
do it!

For an instant, anger flares into her eyes.  She glances at
Edward, and at the young man with him, then lowers her eyes and
starts to back out.  But Edward has noticed.


Stop there.

She stops, but does not raise her eyes.


Do you disapprove of Phillip?

He lifts his hand and draws his friend Phillip to his side.
Still the Princess does not lift her eyes.


(barely audible)

No, M’lord.


Look at me.  I said LOOK AT ME!

She lifts her eyes.  But she could not brace herself enough for
what she sees:  Edward nuzzling Phillip, the prince’s bare chest
to his muscular friend’s bare back, both men glistening with
sweat and sexual excitement.

The Princess’s eyes quiver…but she does not look away.


Now, my flower, do you understand?


Yes.  I had thought that…I was loathsome to you.  Perhaps I am.
If I may be excused, M’lord.


you may.

She starts to leave, as quietly as she came.  But her husband
calls after her.


Don’t worry, m’Lady, it is my royal responsibility to breed.  And
I assure you, when the time comes, I shall…manage.

She closes the door softly, on her husband and his lover.


Now in Edinburgh were gathered the council of Scottish nobles…

ESTablishing council – day

The picturesque heart of Scotland, with its CASTLE on a fairytale
plateau above the Firth of Forth.

INT. edinburgh castle – day

The nobles are gathered around a huge table.  They rise at the
entrance of young ROBERT THE BRUCE, a handsome young man, full of
intelligence and power.


Among these was Robert, the 17th Earl of Bruce, a leading
contender for the crown of Scotland.

Robert strides to his seat in the center of the table, and the
others settle in respectfully.  MORNAY, another young warrior,
gives him a bow, as does CRAIG, a grizzled noble.


Young Robert, we are honored–


My father hears that Longshanks has granted prima noctes.


Clearly meant to draw more of his supporters here.


The Balliol clan has endorsed the right, licking Longshanks’
boots so he will support their claim to the throne.  If we make a
show of opposition, the commoners will favor us.


It is too soon to step out alone.  My father believes we must
lull Longshanks into confidence, by neither supporting his decree
nor opposing it.


A wise plan.  And how is your father?  We have missed him at the


He strained his leg so that it pains him to ride.  But he sends
his greetings-and says that I speak for all the Bruces.  And for

Ext. Scottish Village, At the edge of town – day

Flutes and dancing; laughter and garlands; village families have
gathered for a wedding celebration–we see the happy bride and
groom.  Farmers cart in fresh bread and hoops of cheese;
villagers arrive with casks of beer or strings of smoked fish.

And watching the people are ubiquitous English soldiers,
battlescarred veterans with missing eyes and ears.

Riding along the road comes William Wallace.  Grown now, a man.
He sits his horse as if born there, his back straight, his hands
relaxed on the reins.  He has a look of lean, rippled power.  He
looks dangerous.

And the soldiers notice him, nudging each other as he passes.  He
carries a dead wild goose hanging across his saddle; he stops his
horse at the edge of the clearing and surveys the scene.  Farmers
are roasting a pig; women are comparing handiwork; young men are
tossing huge stones in the traditional Highland games–and
everyone is noticing William’s arrival, especially the farm women
with daughters of marriageable age.

Among those watching William arrive is Campbell, grown older now;
and with his old rebel friend, MacClannough.  William dismounts
and ties his horse to a willow.  One of the English SOLDIERS
shoves William from behind.


Hey boy!  You hunt this bird?

William’s eyes fix themselves on the soldier.


It’s against the law for Scots to own bows.  You shot this bird?

His buddies, enjoying their role as intimidators, grab the bird
and begin to search it for evidence.


I hit it in the head.  With a rock.

They don’t believe that–but they can’t find any puncture wound
on the bird.  William reaches his hand out for the return of the
bird.  The soldiers drop it onto the ground.  Slowly, William
picks it up, and heads into the clearing.  The farmers watch him

Among those noticing William’s arrival, but pretending not to, is
MARION MacCLANNOUGH, grown now into a stunning young woman; her
long auburn hair reminds us of those years long ago; she wears it
the same way, straight and full down her back.  Her dress is
plain, like the grass that surrounds a wildflower.  She’s the
most beautiful girl in the village, maybe in all of Scotland, and
the soldiers how hassled William notice her too.

William reaches the food table and contributes his goose to the
feast.  FARM WOMEN eye him; he nodes to one.


Miz MacDougal.  You look well.

Farm Woman

…William?  It’s William Wallace, back home!  –Have you met my

The daughter mentioned is missing teeth.  William nods to her.
It’s impossible for him to giver her a smile as bright as her
hopes, and she lowers her head in disappointment.  But then
raises her face in surprise as William takes her hand and gives
her a respectful bow.

He moves away from the table, passing through the crowd like a
stranger.  Then he glances toward the knot of girls.  He sees
Marion.  She sees him, then looks away.  Do they remember each
other?  He moves toward her; she is shy, her eyes downcast, but
then she raises them and looks at him.

They move closer and closer together.  Just as they are about to
reach each other, a huge round stone THUMPS to the earth at
Williams’ feet.

He looks up to see on of Marion’s suitors–the broad, muscled
young man who has just tossed the stone in William’s way.  Now
everybody’s looking to see how William will handle the challenge.
He tries to move around, but the guy cuts him off.  Then William
thinks he recognizes the big red-head.



It is his old friend, but Hamish won’t admit it, or be put off
from the challenge.  He points to the huge stone.


Test of manhood.


you win.


(blocks him)

Call it a test of soldiery, then.  The English won’t let us train
with weapons, so we train with stones.


The test of a soldier is not in his arm.  It’s here.

He taps his temple.  Hamish stretches out his hand, as if to show
William something in his palm.


No.  It’s here.

With a sudden movement, he slams his fist into William’s jaw,
dropping him.  A few men move to interfere, but Campbell,
MacClannough, and the other farmers who are the true leaders
here, stop their neighbors from interrupting.  Hamish stands over
William, waiting for him to get up.


A contest, then.

William stands and hoists the huge stone, eighteen inches in
diameter.  Straining with the effort, he lugs the stone to the
line scratched in the rocky field.  Beyond the line are the muddy
dents from previous tosses.  William takes a run and heaves the
stone.  It flies past the other marks in the field; people are
impressed.  William looks at Hamish.


I still say this is no test.  A catapult can throw a stone
farther than a man can.


That depends on the man.

Hamish walks out, lifts the stone, and lugs it back to the line.
He takes a run and heaves with a great groan!  The stone flies,
passing William’s mark by a couple of feet.  People laugh and
whistle.  William nods, impressed.


Can you do it when it matters?  As it matters in battle?  Could
you crush a man with that throw?


I could crush you like a roach.

William walks to the dent made by Hamish’s throw.


Then do it.  Come, do it.

Hamish scowls at William, at everybody watching.  He lifts the
stone and carries it back to the line.  William stands calmly.
Hamish backs up for his run.  William yawns.


You’ll move


I will not.

Hamish backs up a few more feet, for a longer run.

Farmer stewart

That’s not fair!


He’s tired, he should get a longer run.

William seems completely unafraid.  He leans down, picks up a
small smooth stone and tosses it up in the air casually.  Stung
by this show of calm, Hamish takes furious run, and heaves!  The
stone flies through the air, just misses William’s head, and
buries itself halfway into the earth behind him.  William never
flinches.  The people cheer.


Brave show!

Hamish is miffed; it’s like William won.


I threw longer than last time!


An ox is strong, but not clever.


An ox is stupid enough to just stand in one place.


That’s not the point.

William turns, walks double the distance Hamish threw, and turns
and hurls the rock he holds!  It whistles through the air, hits
Hamish in the forehead, and drops him like a shot.


that is.

Everybody cheers and laughs!  They surround William.


A fine display, young Wallace!

William takes a tankard of ale from a farmer, walks over and
tosses the cold liquid into Hamish’s face; he wakes, and, his
eyes uncrossing, accepts William’s hand, pulling him up.


Good to see you again.


I should’a remembered the eggs.

Grinning, they embrace.  MUSIC plays, the dancing begins.
William walks to the knot of young ladies…but passes Marion,
and moves to the girl with the missing teeth.


Would you honor me with a dance?

She’s thrilled to accept; they begin to dance.


You’ve taken over your father’s farm?


They say he died long ago.  Fighting the English.


He died in an accident, with my brother.  Their cart turned over.

The musicians interrupt their playing; a group of heavily armed
horsemen, with banners and flying colors, ride up, reining their
horses into the middle of the celebration.  In the middle of the
group is an English NOBLEMAN; he is gray, in his fifties, and
stops in front of the BRIDE and groom.


I have come to claim the right of prima noctes.  As the lord of
these lands, I will bless this marriage by taking the bride into
my bed on the first night of her union.

Stewart, father of the BRIDE, lunges forward.


No, by God!

The horsemen point their lances at the unarmed Scots–who see
that the English soldiers from the village have moved to the edge
of the gathering, as if to dare any resistance.


It is my noble right.

Even unarmed, Stewart is about to attack–but the bride
intervenes.  She grabs her father and whispers to him.  She moves
to her husband and does the same.  Holding back tears, she allows
herself to be pulled up behind one of the horsemen.  Marion
MacClannough is looking on, sobered by her friend’s courage and
sickened by her fate–and Marion is even more unsettled as she
notices that one of the soldiers, a particularly nasty looking
brute with a scarred face, is leering at her.  William Wallace
sees this too.

The noble and his escorts ride away, and as they do it begins to
rain.  The celebration destroyed, the Scots gather the food and
disperse to their homes.  But Wallace remains, standing in the
downpour, keeping his thoughts to himself.

Ext. The wallace farmhouse – Magic Hour

The farmhouse looks lonely and forlorn.  William stands at the
open door, and gazes out at the rain; it leaks on him, through
his roof; he doesn’t seem to notice.

ext. the Macclannough house – magic hour

A thatched cottage, lit with a cozy fire, beneath the rain.  A
hand KNOCKS on the door, and MacClannough opens it to find
William, on a horse!  MacClannough frowns.


Good evening, sir.  May I speak with your daughter?

Mrs. MacClannough shoulders up beside her husband, and Marion
appears behind her scowling parents.


Marion… Would you like to go for a ride on this fine evening?


The boy’s insane!


It’s good Scottish weather, Madam, the rain is fallin’ straight


She absolutely may not, she’ll–Marion!

Marion has grabbed a cloak off the back of the door; she runs out
to hop up behind William, and they gallop away.

The Ride – Magic Hour

William and Marion race along the heather, up and down hills,
through swollen streams.  The rain stops, as the sun sets; the
Scottish mists lift, revealing stunning natural beauty.  William
stops the horse and they look out over it all together.  He
speaks, without turning to face her.


Your father doesn’t like me, does he?


It’s not you.  He dislikes that you’re a Wallace.  He just
says…the Wallaces don’t seem to live for very long.


thank you for accepting.


Thank you for inviting.


I’ll invite you again, but your mother thinks I’m crazy.


You are.  And I’ll come again.

He lingers; he wants to say something, or maybe he just doesn’t
want the moment to end.  Finally he spurs the horse.

Ext. The MacClannough house – night

They reach the door.  William hops off the horse and reaches up
to help her down.

the moment she touches the ground, they look into each other’s
eyes… but the door is snatched open so quickly by her mother
that there is not time for a kiss.


Marion, come in!

He walks her closer to the door.  They turn and look at each
other again.  She waits for him to kiss her…


Marion, come in!

She still hesitates; he isn’t going to kiss her.  She starts in,
but he grabs her hand.  And into it he puts something he has
taken from his pocket; it is wrapped in flannel.  He hops on his
horse, glances at her, and gallops away.

She stands in the open doorway; she looks down at what he left
her.  She unwraps the flannel; it is a dried thistle, the one she
gave him years before.

Ext. Wallace farm – day

William is rethatching the roof of his barn, when he hears riders
approaching, and looks down to see that it is MacClannough,
backed by Campbell and Hamish.  Uh-oh.


Young Wallace–


sir, I know it was strange of me to invite Marion to ride last
night.  I assure you, I–


MacClannough’s daughter is another matter.  We come to fetch you
to a meeting.


What kind of meeting?


The secret kind.

William goes back to repairing his roof.


Your father was a fighter.  And a patriot.


I know who my father was.  I came back home to raise crops.  And,
God willing, a family.  If I can live in peace, I will.

Campbell shakes his head and reins his horse away, with Hamish.
MacClannough lingers.


If you can keep your intention to stay out of the troubles, you
may court my daughter.  If you break your intention, I’ll kill

MacClannough rides away.  William sits down on the roof, and
looks out at the graves of his father and brother.

EXT. Macclannough house – night

Outside the half-timbered house, William stands in the shadows of
moonlight and tosses a pebble against the wooden upper window.
Marion opens the shutters and slips out onto the vines, dropping
into William’s arms.

Giggling, suppressing laughter, they run to the trees…

SCOTTISH highlands – night

Hand in hand through the heather they run, silhouettes along a
ridge, their breath blowing silver clouds in the moonlight, the
Scottish wind whipping through their hair.

They stop at a grove at the edge of a precipice, overlooking a
loch gleaming in the moonlight.  So beautiful it’s sacred.


You’ve been here before?


Some nights.  I have dreams.  Mostly dreams I don’t want.  I
started riding at night to fill up my mind so that when I did
sleep I’d dream only of the ride and the adventure.


Did it work?


No.  You don’t choose your dreams.  Your dreams choose you.

He looks at her.  They kiss suddenly, so long and hard that they
tumble into the heather, rolling, devouring each other.  Through
their passion…


I want…to marry you!


I…accept your proposal!


I’m not just saying it!


Nor I!


But I won’t give you up to any nobleman.



You scare me.


I don’t want to scare you.  I want to be yours, and you mine.
Every night like this one.


This night is too beautiful to have again.


I will be with you, like this.  Forever.

They kiss again…

Ext. Lanark village – day

Marion moves through the market.  English soldiers admire her as
she walks.  She stops, looking at white lace and cloth.  William
casually passes, poking a note in her basket.  Subtly she
withdraws his note, and reads:


Tonight.  By the trees.

Ext. Marion’s house – night

Marion slips out of the house and runs to the trees, where
William waits with horses.  She fetches a bundle she’s stashed in
the crook of a tree, and they mount and ride off.

Ext. ruins of an ancient church – night

The church is at the base of the precipice, beside the loch.

Int. the church – night

This ancient Gaelic place of worship has been destroyed by the
occupying army, and yet it looks devoutly holy this way, lit only
by candles and moonlight through the open roof.  The village
PRIEST whom we saw at the wedding celebration is waiting at the
altar.  Marion steps into the confessional, as William moves to
the altar and kneels in prayer.

Marion emerges; she’s changed into the wedding dress she made
from the cloth she bought.  William stands and watches her float
down the aisle; his whole life was worth this moment.  Together,
the two lovers turn to the priest.


You have come to pledge, each to the other, before Almighty God.

From within his shirt, William withdraws a strip of cloth woven
in his family tartan.  He and Marion each lift a hand to the
priest, and he binds their wrists with the cloth.


I will love you my whole life.  You and no other.

From her dress she takes a handmade handkerchief, embroidered
with a thistle to look like the one she first gave him those
years ago.


And I you.  You and no other.  Forever.

The Priest waits for them to go on, but neither can; they’re too
taken with emotion, looking at each other.  The Priest intones
holy phrases…


Agus bhayd lauch… The Lord bless and keep thy love, now and

The lovers kiss.  As they break their embrace, a figure carrying
something dark and spiky appears at the broken door of the
church, and William spins as if to attack, but the Priest catches
his arm; they see the man carries bagpipes.


I trust him–or I’d’a killed him me’self.  A weddin’ needs pipes.

The piper begins to play, and the tune from his primitive chanter
is wispy, ethereal, beautiful.  The lovers look into each other’s
eyes, as the single melody of the pipes merges into a swell of


William and Marion ride the path to the top of the precipice,
where, in the shelter of the grove, they spend their honeymoon.
The MUSIC CONTINUES as, still sweaty from their love-making, he
returns her to her house just before dawn.  She waves from her
window, as William rides away, as we


ext. Village of Lanark – Day

It’s Market Day in the village, busy with Highlanders, merchants
of all kinds, and a few special attractions like jugglers and
fortune tellers.  Marion moves along a table full of flowers and
fruit…  William, concealed behind hanging baskets, watches her
unseen, savoring the beauty of his beloved, bathing his soul in
the sight of her.  Then she looks up and spots him, her smile
sudden and luminous, before she remembers to conceal it.  He
moves up beside her.


I’ve missed you.


Shush.  It’s only been a day.


And it’s seemed like forever.


Tonight then.


My parents are growing suspicious!  I can’t keep meeting you
every night!

Playfully he pokes his finger under the collar of her dress,
pulling up the strip of checked cloth he gave her at their
wedding, which she now wears hidden around her neck.


Then when?



Tucking in the cloth strip, she hurries away, smiling.

Angle – drunken english soldiers – by an ale cask – day

They spot Marion moving through the fair, glowing, beautiful. The
soldiers smirk at each other; as Marion passes, one of them grabs
her wrist.  It’s the soldier with the scar, the one who’s been
staring at her.


Where are you going…lass?


Let go.

A second drunken SOLDIER pipes up.

Soldier #2

Why don’t you marry my friend here?  Then I’ll take the first

The scarred soldier pulls Marion into his big arms; she shoves
him away with surprising strength, and he staggers back, to the
laughter of his friends.  Then he snatches her again and kisses
her hard on the lips.

She breaks free and SLAPS him fiercely, hard enough to draw blood
from his mouth.  Tasting the trickle, he slings her down against
sacks of grain, and the soldiers are all over her, pinning her
down, ripping her clothes, a full scale public gang rape.  As the
townspeople try to move in the three soldiers waiting their turn
at Marion pull their knives, keep them townspeople back.

Soldier #1

Bitch, who do you think you are?

He slams his mouth down against hers for a long, awful time,
comes up clawing at her dress to rip it from her body…and is
hit in the face by a rock thrown at great speed!

It takes a moment for the other soldiers to realize what just
happened, and in that instant William is on them.  He wrenches
one soldier’s arm in a direction it was never meant to go,
breaking the elbow, separating the shoulder, and slinging the
howling soldier into his comrades.

Two of the soldiers leap at William, swinging their short swords;
William ducks, knocking their ale cask into their knees; William
lifts the whole table where they were sitting and slams it into
the faces of two more attackers.



She shouts to warn him that the scarred soldier, now bloody-
faced, has recovered from the rock and is behind William with a
knife.  William sidesteps the first thrust, snatches a leg from
the shattered table and crushes the man’s skull.

Market Women

Wallace Wallace!  William Wallace!

But there’s no time for celebration.  There’s blood and ale
everywhere, and the fallen soldiers are yelling…

Fallen soldier

Rebels!  Help!

MORE SOLDIERS hear the call and come running, reinforcements
converging from all over the village.

Village folks

Run, William!  Run!

Will sees the horse that pulled the flower cart and throws Marion
up onto its back.  He slaps the horse’s rump and it plunges with
Marion into the twisting village lanes.  William darts off
through the crowd, as the MAGISTRATE and more of his soldiers
arrive–dozens of them!

William pauses out in the central street of the village, just
long enough to be sure they’ve spotted him, and darts into a side
lane in the opposite direction Marion went; William weaves
through the narrow streets of the medieval town, knocking over
baskets, jumping carts.

As the soldiers stumble after him, the Magistrate looks down at
his mangled soldiers.  the one with the ruptured arm is lying in


What happened?




What girl?!


…on horse.


the girl on the horse!  Stop her!

The shout rings through the village; Marion hears it, and when
she sees more soldiers at the far end of the lane she’s trying to
take out of town, she urges the horse into an even narrower back
alley.  She sees a clear route to freedom…

But the flock of pigeons pecking on the scraps thrown there
behind the shops rise into the horse’s face with a sudden
thrashing of wings, and the horse shies against a wall.  Marion
controls him, but a flap of her ripped dress has caught on a
crude nail, and as the frightened horse lunges forward again, she
is pulled off its bare back, her dress catching and ripping at
the same time, dropping her hard.


reaches the edge of the town and slips into the trees by the
river; the soldiers are running every which way, but they’ve lost
him.  Thinking Marion’s made it too, William heads deeper into
the trees.


recovers; her dress has torn free!  She starts to get up; but the
soldiers’ pikes appear over her, and the magistrate leers.


So this is the little whore he was fighting for.

EXT. The grove at the precipice – day

William moves into the shelters of the trees, expecting to see
Marion.  He doesn’t.  He listens; only the rustling of the wind
through the treetops.



Nothing, except the wind.

INT. Royal magistrate’s headquarters – day

Marion is thrown into a chair and her arms are bound with an oak
staff behind her elbows.  She and two dozen soldiers are in the
tavern the English have commandeered.

The Magistrate is a battlescarred veteran, a brutal pragmatist
angry with his CORPORAL.


One Scot buggers six of us?  Hell to pay when that gets round.


burn the village.


But he is free.  You never catch ‘em in the Highlands.

He studies Marion, her mouth now stuffed with burlap.  He notices
the strip of cloth around her neck, and touches the weave


Clans weave that cloth in their own patterns.


So why is this strip concealed?


He fought for you, eh?

ext. town square – day

The Magistrate and his men bring Marion into the village center,
and tie her to a post of the well.  The townspeople don’t want to
be near the soldiers, but they hang on the fringes of the square,
too curious to pull away.


An assault on the king’s soldiers is the same as assaulting the

He looks down at Marion, her mouth bound, her eyes defiant.  He
jerks out his dagger and slices Marion’s throat!

Her eyes spring open like a doe’s; then she sags, dead.  The
townspeople are speechless; even some of the soldiers are
shocked.  The Magistrate turns calmly to his men.


Now.  Let this scrapper come to me.

LONG SHOT – Ext. The grove at the precipice – day

From a distance, we see Hamish approaching the grove, the same
one where he and William played as boys.  Hamish moves
reluctantly, forcing himself forward; as he reaches the grove,
William appears, hurrying out to him.

We STAY IN THE LONG SHOT, seeing William asking anxiously for any
news, and seeing Hamish’s great shoulders as he tells him
something that makes William step backwards…

EXT. Lanark village – day

At a barrier across the main road into the center of the village
are twenty professional soldiers, entrenched, fully armed–bows,
pikes, swords.  They hear A HORSE’S SNORT…


He has stopped, rock still.  The soldiers hush; there is
something unsettling about this man alone, staring at the twenty
of them, as if to steel himself for the butchery.  Wallace raises
his sword, screams…and charges!

EXt. various angles – lanark village – day – the fight

We FAVOR WALLACE’S SUBJECTIVE POV:  the barrier as his horse
pounds toward it, the faces of the enemy soldiers with their eyes
white with fear…  They stand to shoot at him with their bows;
the arrows WHISH toward the lens, fly past…

The arrows tear through Wallace’s clothes, but don’t catch his
flesh.  He charges on; his horse LEAPS the barrier as Wallace
simultaneously swings the broadsword–and he’s more than an
expert:  the tip, at the end of a huge arc, nearly breaks the
sound barrier and the blade bites through the corporal’s helmet,
taking off the upper half of his head!

The soldiers try to rally, to shoot him in the back as his horse
leaps over them.  One of them has sighted William’s back…But
Hamish and his father crash into them!  It’s a wild fight; old
Campbell takes an arrow through the shoulder but keeps hacking
with his sword; Hamish batters down two men–and more Scots
arrive!   They overwhelm the soldiers.


He dodges obstacles in the narrow streets–chickens, carts,
barrels.  Soldiers pop up; the first he gallops straight over;
the next he whacks forehand, like a polo player; the next chops
down on his left side; every time he swings the broadsword, a man

Wallace gallops on; his farmer neighbors, and people from the
village, follow in his wake.

EXt. – in the village – day

The Magistrate hears the APPROACHING SHOUTS.  He and thirty more
of his men are barricaded around the village square.


Don’t look surprised!  We knew he’d bring friends!

The see Wallace gallop into sight; but he stops, then heads down
a side street.

The Magistrate and his men don’t like this; where did her go?
Which way will he come from?  And then they hear the horses, and
see the other Scots, at the head of the main street.  The
soldiers unleash a volley of arrows at them.

They are loading to fire again when Wallace runs in–on foot!–
and cuts down two soldiers!  The other Scots charge!  The
startled soldiers break and run in every direction.

The Magistrate, abandoned, runs too.  Wallace pursues.

Not far along a twisting lane, the bulky Magistrate falters.  He
turns to fight, and Wallace slashes away his sword.


No!  I beg you…mercy!


As the Scots see Wallace, they break off pursuing the English
soldiers and stop to watch; dragging the Magistrate by his hair,
Wallace hauls him back into the village square, slams him against
the well, and stands over him with heaving lungs and wild eyes,
staring at Marion’s murderer.


Please.  Mercy!

Wallace’s eyes shift, falling on


Marion’s blood, in a dark dry splash by the wall of the well, the
stain dripping down onto the dirt of the street.  Wallace spins,
jerks back the Magistrate’s head, and cuts his throat with the


Silenced by what they’ve just seen and done.  On old Campbell’s
face is a look of reverence, and awe.


Say Grace to God, lads.  We’ve just seen the coming of the

William staggers a few steps, and collapses to his knees.  And
then not just the Scottish farmers but the townspeople too begin
a strange, Hi-Lo chant.



William’s wild eyes slowly regain their focus.  And there in the
dirt beside the well, he sees the severed cloth strip he gave to
Marion, now stained with her blood.  He lifts it, crushes it in
his hand, as the Highlanders chant for war.


The villagers are still excited by what just happened; at the
blacksmith’s forge, men tend to Campbell’s wound…


Pour it straight into the wound.  I know it seems a waste of good
whiskey, but indulge me.

They obey, then take a glowing poker from the fire and run it
through Campbell’s shoulder, where the arrow went.  There is a
terrible SIZZLE, and Campbell reacts to the pain.


Ah.  Now that’ll clear your sinuses, lads.

Campbell looks down at his left hand.  His thumb is missing!


Well bloody Hell, look at this!  Now it’s nothing but a fly

Wallace is sitting alone nearby, staring at nothing.  Hamish
moves over and puts a hand on his shoulder.  Wallace looks at his
friend, and looks away;  killing the Magistrate did not bring
Marion back.

SHOUTS of alarm:  ARMED MEN are coming!  The farmers scramble for
their weapons, ready to fight; even Campbell jumps up; but what
they see coming out of the darkness are twenty more farmers, with
hayhooks, knives, axes, anything they could find for weapons.
Their leader is MacGREGOR.


MacGregor–from the next valley!

MacGregor leads his men into the circle of rebels.


We heard about what was happenin’.  And we don’t want ya thinkin’
ya can have your fun without us.


Go home.  Some of us are in this, I can’t help that now.  But you
can help yourselves.  Go home.


We’ll have no homes left when the English garrison at the castle
comes through to burn us out.

They all look at Wallace.

EXT. English Military stronghold – night

Furious preparations:  armorers pound breastplates, hone spears,
grind swords in a shower of sparks.  The garrison is led by
BOTTOMS, the English lord who claimed the right of prima noctes.
Now he shouts to his scurrying soldiers.

Lord Bottoms

Gather the horses!  Align the infantry!

(grabs a man)

Ride to the Lord Governor in Stirling.  Tell him that I will hang
five rebels for every good Englishman killed!  FORM FOR MARCH!

The troops begin to scramble into the courtyard.  At the same
time, the messenger gallops to the gate and nods for the keepers
to open it.  They pull up the chains and the heavy gate rises.
The messenger spurs his horse to gallop through–and is hit in
the chest with an axe!

The Scots, hidden just outside the gate, come pouring through,
led by Wallace!  Arrows pick soldiers from their perches, Scots
drop over the wall; the surprise is so complete that it’s over
almost without a fight.  Lord Bottoms looks around in


Stop them… Don’t let… Align…

Scots drag Lord Bottoms off his horse; an arrow in a flexed bow
jabs right up to his eye, the archer ready to drive the shaft
through Bottom’s eye socket and into his brain; but Wallace’s
hand closes on the archer’s fingers–and Bottoms sees that the
archer at the other end of the arrow shaft is none other than the
Highland farmgirl he forced into his bed on her wedding night.
Beside her is her husband, holding a scythe, red with English


On your way somewhere, M’lord?

Lord bottoms

Murdering bloody bandit!

The point of Wallace’s sword jumps beneath the Lord’s chin.


My name is William Wallace.  I am no bandit who hides his face.
…Find this man a horse.

The green eyes of the defiled highland bride flash fire.  William
takes his hand from her bow and looks at her, grief for Marion in
his eyes; for the sake of that she does not release the string.


Give him a horse.

Hamish extends the reins of the Lord’s thoroughbred.


Not this horse.  That one.

He nods to a bony nag hitched next to a glue pot.


Today we will spare you, and every man who has yielded.  Go back
to England.  Tell them Scotland’s daughters and her sons are
yours no more.  Tell them Scotland is free.

As the Scots cheer, Wallace throws Lord Bottoms onto the nag’s
back and slaps the horse’s rear.  IT shambles away, followed by
the English survivors, as the Scots chant…


Wal-lace, Wal-lace, Wal-lace!…

Clost – A gravestone – ext. highlands – day

The marker is carved with the name MARION MacCLANNOUGH, and
beneath her name A THISTLE is chiseled into the stone.

Bagpipes wail like banshees and the Priest who married Marion and
William now mutters ancient prayers as her body, wrapped in
burial canvas, is lowered into the earth, under the sad eyes of
those who just fought in the battle.

Opposite William stands old MacClannough; he stares across the
open hole that accepts the body of his daughter, his eyes full of
pain, and then staggers away.

Wallace kneels at the graveside in unspeakable grief.  From
within his shirt he withdraws the embroidered handkerchief she
gave him, and the bloodstained strip of cloth he gave her.  He
places the strip over her heart, and as the gravediggers fill the
hole her returns the handkerchief to its spot over his own heart.

ext. london palace – day

Prince Edward is in his garden, playing the medieval version of
croquet with his friend.  The Princess, ignored, sits watching.
Longshanks marches through the game, furious.


Scottish rebels have routed Lord Bottoms!


I hear.  This Wallace is a bandit, nothing more.

Longshanks slaps his son, knocking him down among the colored
balls and wickets.  Everyone gasps, stunned.


You weak little coward!  Stand up!

Longshanks jerks him to his feet.


I go to France to press our rights there!  I leave you to handle
this little rebellion, do you understand?  DO YOU?!

Longshanks grabs his son by the throat.


And turn yourself into a man.

The king leaves.  The friends of the humiliated Prince hurry to
him and lift him; as the Princess moves to him too…


Get away from me!

He slaps her!  Her personal guards, Frenchmen in distinctive
uniforms, jump from their seats at the edge of the garden, but
the Princess raises a hand to show she needs no assistance, and
curtseys to Edward, who shouts–


Convene my military council!

As Edward marches off with his entourage, NICOLETTE, a beautiful
raven-haired Handmaiden, rushes to the Princess, who is wobbly,
hurt more than she let show.  Nicolette whispers to her in
French, with subtitles…


They say this Wallace killed thirty men to avenge the death of
his woman.  I hope your husband goes to Scotland.  Then you’ll be
a widow.

int. Bruce’s castle – bedchamber – night

Robert the Bruce is in bed with a young Nordic beauty with vacant
blue eyes.  She drowses; but the lovemaking has not defused the
restlessness of Robert’s spirit.  He lies on his stomach, turned
away from her on the bed.  Stirring, she kisses his neck; but he
doesn’t respond.


I wanted to please you.


You did.

But he is numb as she nuzzles him again.  She sags back, and he
still stares away, lost in thought.  Realizing her hurt, he


In Lanark village, the king’s soldiers killed a girl.  Her lover
fought his way through the soldiers and killed the magistrate.

She looks at him blankly.


He rebelled.  He rebelled.  He acted.  He fought!  Was it rage?
Pride?  Love?  Whatever it was, he has more of it than I.



You might have lied.


I’m too arrogant to lie.

Close – Robert the bruce

On his FACE as he moves grimly up a dark castle staircase.  He
follows a servant who carries a candle against the gloom.  They
reach a door, which the servant unlocks.  Young Robert takes the
candle, and enters–


Robert wills himself forward, and places the candle on a table in
the center of the room.  A SHUFFLE in the dark; then moving into
the light is a LEPER whose once-noble features are decaying with
the disease.  Isolated in his disfiguration, he looks at his
visitor–his son–with the eyes of the condemned.  Young Robert
forces himself not to look away.

Robert the bruce

Father.  A rebellion has begun.

the leper

Under whom?


A commoner named William Wallace.

the leper

A commoner?  So no one leads Scotland?

the old man thinks, and points a half finger at his son.

The leper

You will embrace this rebellion.  Support it, from our lands in
the north.  I will gain English favor by condemning it and
ordering it opposed from our lands in the south.  Whichever way
the tide runs, we will rise.


This Wallace.  He doesn’t even have a knighthood.  But he fights
with passion, and he is clever.  He inspires men.

the leper

You admire him.  Uncompromising men are easy to admire.  He has
courage.  So does a dog.  But you must understand this:  Edward
Longshanks is the most ruthless king ever to sit on the throne of
England, and none of us, and nothing of Scotland, will survive
unless we are as ruthless, more ruthless, than he.

Young Bruce rises heavily, and moves to the door.

The leper

Press your case to the nobles.  They will choose who rules

With a last long look at his father, Robert leaves.

Ext. Scotland – montage – day

–Troops ride through the countryside, intimidating and
questioning civilians; all refuse to talk.

–Wallace’s house burns, as soldiers dig up the graves of his
father and brother, and scatter their bones to dogs.

–The English search through the woods, finding nothing.

EXt. wallace lands – night

William and Hamish ride, to see the damage.  They find the
smoking ruins, and the defiled family graves.


Ah, William… I am so sorry.

William is struck by an awful, urgent thought…

Ext. Underbrush near marion’s grave – dusk

We open on Marion’s grave, with the thistle-carved marker,
looking peaceful; but up the hill in the underbrush, English
soldiers wait in ambush.  Edgy, they perk up at the sound of
muffled hoofbeats–then their eyes bug as a cloaked figure–
Wallace–suddenly looms up behind them, galloping and swirling
fire!  He hurls burning torches into the clustered soldiers,
setting some of them on fire!

MEANWHILE, HAMISH has crawled to Marion’s grave and is digging
frantically.  The new dirt parts easily and he pulls the shrouded
body out, cringing with the effort.

MORE SOLDIERS rush from behind the rocks at the far side of the
graveyard.  Wallace charges them, driving them back.  He grabs
the reins of Hamish’s horse, hidden among trees, and gallops to

Hamish hands the shrouded body up to William and bounds into the
saddle of his own horse.  They spur the horses and ride away,
William clutching Marion’s shrouded body to his chest.

Ext. Secret grove on the precipice – night

William dismounts, stretching the body gently on the ground.
Hamish dismounts too, with the spade he used to dig up the old
grave.  He sees the emotion on William’s face.


I’ll wait…back there.


Hamish, I…thank…

Hamish puts a hand on his friend’s shoulder, then quietly leads
the horses away.  William starts to dig…


William sits looking at the new grave, covered with leaves–
completely hidden.  He touches his hand to the earth.

Ext. woods – by the stream – night

Hamish is waiting as William comes out of the grove.  There is
nothing to say.  They mount their horses and ride away, as the
MUSIC of William and Marion’s love haunts us…

EXt. woods – encampment – night

Wallace and his inner circle hare huddled around a small fire.
Other highlanders guard the perimeters.  Old Campbell is lovingly
honing the broadswords to razor edges and sharing a whiskey jug
with Hamish, who stares at the fire.  Wallace is using a stick to
draw diagrams in the dirt.


What’re ya doin’?




Does it hurt?


What do we do when Longshanks sends his whole northern army
against us?  They have heavy cavalry.  Armored horses, that shake
the very ground.  They’ll ride right over us.

At a loss, Wallace looks up at the sky.  HE SEES:  the trees
stretching into the night like spikes to skewer the stars.


We make spears.  A hundred spears.  Fourteen feet long.



sentry (O.S.)

Volunteers coming in!

They look to see a half dozen new volunteers being led in,
blindfolded.  When the guides remove the blindfolds, the new
recruits see Wallace and rush to him, bowing.

recruit (FAUDRON)

William Wallace?  We have come to fight and die for you!


Stand up, man, I’m not the Pope.


I am Faudron!  My sword is yours!  And I brought you this tarta–

As he reaches into his cloak, both Hamish and Campbell instantly
draw their swords and put the points to his neck.


We checked them for arms.

Carefully, Faudron pulls out a beautiful tartan scarf, and
replaces Wallace’s tattered old one.


It’s your family tartan!  My wife wove it with her own hands.


Thank her for me.

A loud voice interrupts…


Him?  That can’t be William Wallace!  I’m prettier than this man!

they all look at a slender, handsome young man, STEPHEN, who is
talking to himself–or more accurately, seems to listen to some
unheard voice, then answer it…


All right, Father, I’ll ask him!

(to William)

If I risk my neck for you, will I get a chance to kill


Is your Poppa a ghost–or do you converse with God Almighty?


In order to find his equal, and Irishman is forced to talk to


Yes, Father!…

(to Wallace)

The Almighty says don’t change the subject, just answer the
fookin’ question.


Insane Irish–

Stephen whips a dagger from his sleeve and puts it at Campbell’s


Smart enough to get a dagger past your guards, old man.

Wallace jerks his sword to the Irishman’s throat, and grins.


that’s my friend, Irishman.  And the answer’s yes.  You fight for
me, you kill the English.

Stephen grins, and happily tucks away the dagger.


Excellent!  Stephen is my name.  I’m the most wanted man on the
Emerald Isle.  Except I’m not on the Emerald Isle of course,
more’s the pity.


A common thief.


A patriot!

Wallace shakes his head and moves back to the fire, as the
sentries take the newcomers to find their own spaces.

ext. scottish countryside – day

A column of English light cavalry–a hundred riders–moves
through the picturesque beauty of the Highlands.  English LORD
DOLECROFT is in command, wearing a hat with a pompous white
plume.  UP AHEAD, the English SCOUT sees five Scots, including
Hamish, walking out of the forest.  The Scots run; the Scout
rides back to Dolecroft.


Scotsmen, Sire!  Headed west!


They’ve blundered at last!  After them!

The English force charges off.  Hamish and his men changed
direction but the English spot them crossing a hilltop and ride
after them.  The Scots run for their lives; the English horses
gallop.  The Scots run down one slope, up another; the English
follow, find their horses stumbling, and see…


We’re in a bog!


here, it’s firm this way–

But as they move toward the firm ground, fifty Scots appear on
the crest of the hill.  Hamish leads them, smiling.  Dolecroft
wheels and looks to his rear; Wallace appears there, with fifty
more, and more Scots appear to the left and right of the English,
who are surrounded in the bog.  Too late, Dolecroft realizes his
blunder.  Wallace lifts his broadsword, screams, and leads the

Ext. scottish woods – day

The Scots are moving through deep woods; they are laden with the
booty they took from the English cavalry:  extra weapons,
clothing, food–and one man even wears the late Dolecroft’s
plumed hat.  Wallace is leading them, traveling with his heavy
sheathed broadsword across his shoulders.


Stop here and rest.

The collapse to the leaves and loam, greedily squeezing water
from sheep belly canteens.

Int. stirling castle – day

LORD PICKERING, English commander, is handed news of the
disaster.  He reads the message, and pales.


Another ambush!  My God!  …What about our infiltrator?


He has already joined them, M’lord.

ext. Scottish woods – night

The moon is high above the Scots, encamped for the night.  Most
everyone is sleeping, but William sits leaning against a tree,
lost in lonely thoughts.  Suddenly William freezes; a shaft of
moonlight illuminates a cloaked woman standing twenty feet ahead
of him.  Something about her is familiar–and then she pulls off
the hood, revealing her auburn hair, cascading in the
moonlight…  It is Marion!


Marion!  Is…is it you?

Joy explodes on his face, and he runs to her, but stops before he
touches her, as if she might evaporate.


I’m dreaming.


yes, you are.  And you must wake.


I don’t want to wake.  I want to stay with you.


And I with you.  But you must wake.


I need you so much!  I love you!


Wake up, William.  Wake up!

Hamish’s voice

Wake up, William!…


Wake up!…

William clutches at Marion, but his arms can’t enclose her.


lying on his new tartan, in camp, with Hamish shaking him,
William’s arms clutched empty to his chest.


William!  Hounds!

Wallace jumps up, hearing the DISTANT BARKING that alarmed
Hamish.  Stephen, the new Irish recruit, races up.


We must run in different directions!


We don’t split up!


They used hounds on us in Ireland, it’s the only way!


He’s right, Hamish!  Campbell!  Divide them and run!

Shoving groups of men in different directions, Wallace then takes
off.  His group is about a dozen; they race through the woods,
dodging trees, running aimlessly.  They stop and listen.  The
BARKS are getting closer.


Split again!

Again they divide, and race in different directions.

But no matter how they run and dodge, the BARKS grow nearer.  We
INTERCUT with the approaching of the dogs–a large PACK OF
HOUNDS, with keepers like on a fox hunt, and behind the dogs,
Lord Pickering, with his soldiers, prepared for a long chase,
cloaked against the wet darkness, carrying torches.

Wallace and others pause, hear the dogs, and run again, in a new
direction.  The hounds are relentless.  Wallace’s group is down
to Hamish, Stephen, and Faudron.


No matter how we go, they follow.  They have our scent.  My


Run!  You must not be caught!

Faster now, faster.  The barks are getting very close.  Wallace
and his friends are starting to panic.  The blood beats in their
ears, their breath scalds their lungs.  And we MOVE IN on
Wallace’s eyes.  He stops, gasping.


We can’t stop!


They’ve tricked us.


What’s the crazy man saying, Lord?


The dogs have a scent.  My scent.  Someone must have given it to


Who would do such a thing?



Wallace pulls out his dagger…


bark frantically now; they smell a kill; they tug so hard at
their leashes that the handlers are almost dragged along.


Be ready!  We have them!

The soldiers grip their weapons, ready to take their prisoners.
They burst into the little clearing; the dogs find a body,
stabbed, his throat cut; the dogs plunge their snouts into the
gore, yipping wildly.  The handlers must fight furiously to tear
the dogs from the body.

Lord Pickering approaches the body and looks down.  It is
Faudron, mangled now but clearly identifiable–with the scarf he
gave William, in place of William’s own, tucked into his shirt.

Lord Pickering

Damnation!  Damnation!

As Pickering rants, his men look at the darkness all around.

lord pickering

After him!  Get them going again!


Their noses are drowned in new blood, they’ll follow nothing now!

And just as the realization hits Pickering that he can’t pursue
Wallace any further, a cloaked figure mixed in among his men
leans in from behind him to whisper…

Stephen of ireland

The Almighty says for you to give His regards to the Devil.

Pickering’s eyes go wide, then roll back as Stephen’s dagger
slides expertly through his back ribs and into his heart.  As
Pickering falls and his men realize what has happened, Stephen
has already run back into the trees.

Pickering’s men freeze at this sudden turn of events.  Even the
dogs whimper, picking up the rising fear of the men around them.
Then from the darkness all around them comes a chorus of demonic,
bloodcurdling yells–



Three wild men tear out of the darkness from different
directions, their swords slashing.  Pickering’s men panic and
run, their dogs yelping, and the other soldiers, evident by their
torches, fell with them in all directions.

Wallace, Hamish and Stephen are left alone in the heart of the
woods, howling, barking like dogs, snarling like wolves–and then
laughing like hyenas!


I thought I was dead when ya pulled that dagger!


No English lord would trust an Irishman!


Let’s kill him anyway.

They laugh again; then Wallace’s laughter leaks away, and he
stares into the trees, where he saw Marion in his dream.


Two men are talking in A VILLAGE…


…and William Wallace killed fifty men!  Fifty, if it was one!

The same tale is exchanged by two farmers AT A CROSSROADS…


A hundred men!  With his own sword!  He cut a through the English

The tale is repeated IN A TAVERN…


–Moses through the Red Sea!  Hacked off two hundred heads!

Drinker #2

Two hundred?!


Saw it with my own eyes.

And the rumors are discussed even INSIDE THE PALACE GROUNDS IN
LONDON, where the Prince and his friends are trying on elaborate
attire presented them by fawning tailors, and the Princess,
ignored by her husband, strolls and chats with her Handmaiden,
Nicolette (in subtitled French).


When the king returns he will bury them in those new clothes.
Scotland is in chaos.  Your husband is secretly sending an army


How do you know this?


Last night I slept with a member of the War Council.


He shouldn’t be telling secrets in bed.


Ah, Oui!  Englishmen don’t know what a tongue is for.

The Princess blushes, whacks her with her fan, and smiles.


This Scottish rebel…Wallace?  He fights to avenge a woman?


A magistrate wished to capture him, and found he had a secret
lover, so he cut the girl’s throat to tempt Wallace to fight–and
fight he did.

The Princess is pained at such cruelty; Nicolette warms to share
the juicy gossip…


Knowing his passion for his lost love, they next plotted to take
him by desecrating the graves of his father and brother and
setting an ambush at the grave of his wife.  He fought his way
through the trap and carried her body to a secret place!  Now
that is romance, Oui?


…I wouldn’t know.

Ext. Scottish Highlands – day

A Highlander, a RUNNER, slips like a shadow up the hillside, to a
circle of ancient monoliths.  There, hidden among the stone
pillars, he finds Wallace and his band resting.


The English are advancing an army toward Stirling!


Do the nobles rally?


Robert the Bruce and most of the others will not commit to war!
But ward has spread and Highlanders are coming down on their own,
by the hundreds–by the thousands!

Ext. road – day

Wallace rides down the road, followed by his band.  As they pass
people on the road, the women, the children, all cheer.


Wallace!  It’s William Wallace!  God bless Wallace and Scotland!

At a crossroads, more of Wallace’s men join them, in clusters.
One group carries something long, encased in wool covers.
Farmers in the field, blacksmiths at their forges, leave their
work and uncover their inevitable weapons and run after the
riders.  They put on their forbidden tartans, kiss their wives
and head off to fight.

Ext. stirling field – day

Stirling Castle perches on a hill high above a grassy field, cut
in half by a river, spanned by an old wooden bridge.

SCOTTISH NOBLES have gathered on a smaller hill overlooking the
field; they wear gleaming armor, with plumes, sashes and banners,
and are attended by squires and grooms.

The mists of morning shroud most of the field.  But from the
opposite side of the bridge they hear the CLATTERING of a huge
army moving forward.  LOCHLAN, a noble, gallops to Mornay.


It sounds like twenty thousand!


The scouts say it is ten.


And we have but two!


are wearing padded leather shirts, and carry pikes and daggers.
As through the mists they see the numbers arrayed against them, a
YOUNG SOLDIER tugs at a grizzled VETERAN.

young soldier

So many!

scottish veteran

the nobles will negotiate.  If they deal, they send us home.  If
not, we charge.  When we are all dead and they can call
themselves brave, they withdraw.

young soldier

I didn’t come to fight so they could own more lands that I could
work for them!


Nor did I.  Not against these odds!

He lowers his pike and starts to desert.  At first one-by-one and
then in clumps, more highlanders follow.

THE NOBLES see the desertion.


Stop!  Men!  Do not flee!  Not now!  Wait until we have


They won’t stop–and how could blame them?

Then, riding into the mob of me, comes Wallace, followed by his
friends.  He’s striking, charismatic, his powerful arms bare, his
chest covered not in armor but a commoner’s leather shirt, and
unlike the heavy knights on their armored horses, Wallace rides a
swift horse, like he was born on it.

The entire Scottish army watches in fascination as Wallace and
his men ride through them, toward the command hill.  The soldiers
whisper among themselves…

Young soldier

William Wallace?


Couldn’t be.

The common soldiers, already having broken ranks, cluster up the
hill to see the confrontation.  As Wallace and his captains reach
the nobles, Stephen laughs.


The Almighty says this must be a fashionable fight, it’s drawn
the finest people.


Where is thy salute?


For presenting yourselves on this battlefield, I give you thanks.


This is our army.  To join it, you give homage.


I give homage to Scotland.  And if this is your army, why does it

Wallace reins his horse around to face the mob of sullen men, now
frightened, ready to desert.  We play this picture, Wallace
sitting his horse, looking down in awe at this thing that has
grown beyond anyone’s imagination.

He glances at his friends:  Campbell, Hamish, Stephen.  They’ve
got no suggestions, they’re just as awed as he is.

Scottish veteran

We didn’t come to fight for them!

shouts from mob

Home!  The English are too many!

Wallace raises his hand, and the army falls silent.


Sons of Scotland!…  I am William Wallace!


William Wallace is seven feet tall!


Yes, I have heard!  He kills men by the hundreds!  And if he were
here, he would consume the English with fireballs from his eyes,
and bolts of lightning from his ass!

Many laugh–all get the point.


I am William Wallace.  And my enemies do not go away.  I saw out
good nobles hanged.  My wife… I am William Wallace.  And I see
a whole army of my countrymen, here in defiance of tyranny.  You
have come to fight as free men.  And free men you are!  What will
you do with freedom?  Will you fight?


Two thousand, against ten?  We will run–and live!


Yes.  Fight and you may die.  Run and you will live, at least
awhile.  And dying in your bed many years from now, would you be
willing to trade all the days from this day to that, for one
change to come back here as young men, and tell our enemies that
they make take our lives, but they will never take our freedom?

Down on the plain, English emissaries in all their regal finery
gallop over the bridge, under a banner of truce.


Look!  The English comes to barter with our nobles for castles
and titles.  And our nobles will not be in the front of the


No!  They will not!

He dismounts, and draws his sword.


And I will.

Slowly, the chant begins, and builds…


Wal-lace!  Wal-lace!  WAL-LACE!

BAGPIPERS play, pulling the mob back into companies.  But through
the lifting mists they see the overwhelming enemy army.  Hamish,
Campbell and Stephen move up beside William.


Fine speech.  Now what do we do?


Bring out our spearmen and set them in the field.

Campbell, Hamish and Stephen ride off.  Mornay reins his horse
over, lifts the reins of Wallace’s horse, and extends them to
him:  an invitation to join the pre-battle talks.

Wallace mounts up and rides out with the Scottish nobles to meet
the English contingent.


meet like the captains of football teams before the kickoff.
CHELTHAM, head of the English contingent, glares at Wallace.


Mornay.  Lochlan.  Inverness.


Cheltham.  This is William Wallace


Here are the King’s terms.  Lead this army off the field, and he
will give you each estates in Yorkshire, including hereditary
title, from which you will pay him an annual–


I have an offer for you.


…From which you will pay the King an annual duty…

Wallace pulls his broadsword and snaps it at Cheltham, whose eyes
flash in disbelief at the bad manners.


You disrespect a banner of truce?!


From his king?  Absolutely.  Here are Scotland’s terms.  Lower
your flags and march straight to England, stopping at every
Scottish home you pass 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.

Cheltham barks at the Scottish nobles…


You are outmatched!  You haven’t even any cavalry!  In two
centuries no army has won without it!


I’m not finished.  Before we let you leave, your commander must
cross that bridge, stand before this army, put his head between
his legs, and kiss his own ass.

The outraged Englishman gallops back to his lines.


I’d say that was rather less cordial that he was used to.


Be ready, and do exactly as I say.

They return to the Scottish lines.  Wallace dismounts where his
men are breaking out new 14-foot spears.  Hamish, eyebrows
raised, looks expectantly at Wallace; Wallace nods.


Wish I could see the noble lord’s face when he tells him.


The husky English commander’s blood boils from Cheltham’s report.
Before he can respond, they see WALLACE’S SPEARMEN taking up a
position on the far side of the bridge.  Suddenly the Scots turn
and lift their kilts and moon the English!


Insolent bastard!  Full attack!  Give no quarter!  And I want
this Wallace’s heart brought to me on a plate!

Cheltham spurs his horse to form up the attack…

EXt. the field below stirling castle – day

The English army moves forward toward the bridge.  It’s so narrow
that only a single file of riders can move across it at any one
time.  The English heavy cavalry, two hundred knights, cross
uncontested, and form up on the other side.


Things look terrible.  Stephen turns to William.


The Lord tell me He can get me out of this mess.  But He’s pretty
sure you’re fooked.


Talmadge sees the Scots doing nothing.


Amateurs!  They do not even contest us!  Send across the


M’lord, the bridge is so narrow–


The Scots just stand in their formations!  Our cavalry will ride
them down like grass.  Get the infantry across so they can finish
the slaughter!

The English leaders shout orders and keep their men moving across
the bridge.  Talmadge gestures for the attack flag.


The English knights see the signal banners, telling them to
attack.  They take the lances from their squires, and lower the
visors of their helmets.  Proud, plumed, glimmering; they look
invincible.  Their huge horses, themselves draped in scarlet and
purple, look like tanks.  The knights charge!

Their hooves THUNDER; the horses are so heavy the ground
literally shakes with the charge.

The Scots stand and watch them come on.  It’s difficult to
imagine the courage this takes; from the POV OF THE SCOTTISH
LINES we see the massive horses boring in…we feel the RISING
THUNDER of the charge, closer, closer…

Wallace moves to the front of the lead group of Scots.


Steady!  Hold…hold… NOW!

The Scots snap their 14-foot spears straight up in unison.



Now the spearmen snap the spears forward in ranks, the first line
of men bracing their spears at an angle three feet above the
ground, the men behind them bracing theirs at a five foot level,
the men behind that bracing at seven feet.

The English knights have never seen such a formation.  Their
lances are useless and it’s too late to stop!  The momentum that
was to carry the horses smashing through the men on foot now
becomes suicidal force; knights and horses impale themselves on
the long spears like beef on skewers.


can see it; but worse is the SOUND, the SCREAMS OF DYING MEN AND
HORSES, carried to him across the battlefield.


are protected, behind a literal wall of fallen chargers and
knights.  Wallace draws his broadsword and leads his swordsmen
out onto the field, attacking the knights that are still alive.
Most are off their horses; a few have managed to pull up their
mounts.  Wallace and his men are so much more mobile than the
knights; the field runs with blood.  Wallace faces Talmadge in
the distance.


Here I am, English coward!  Come get me!!

TALMADGE is even more enraged–and his judgment is gone.


Press the men across!


But M’lord!

Talmadge himself gallops forward.



WALLACE smiles.  He grabs Hamish.


Tell Mornay to ride to the flank and cross upstream.  Wait!  Tell
him to be sure the English see him ride away!

Hamish hurries off with the message.

The English infantry keeps moving across the little bridge.

The Scottish nobles watch from their positions on horseback.
They have a few dozen mounted riders, none heavily armored.


If he waits much longer–

Hamish hurries up.


Ride around and ford behind them!


We should not divide our forces!


Wallace says do it!  And he says for you to let the English see



They shall think we run away.

Mornay leads his riders away.


sees the Scottish nobles ride off, and shouts to Cheltham…


See!  Every Scot with a horse is fleeing!  Hurry!  Hurry!

He drives half his army across the river.


lifts his sword.


For Scotland!

He charges down the hill…


The Scots follow Wallace on foot, charging into the English.

The English leaders are stunned by the ferocious attack.


Press reinforcements across!

The English leaders try to herd more of their footsoldiers onto
the bridge, which only hams them up.  Meanwhile, on the other
side of the bridge, Wallace and his charging men slam into the
English infantry with wild fury.  The English fall back on each
other, further blocking the bridge.


The nobles look back with grudging admiration.


He’s taking the bloody bridge!  The English can’t get across!
He’s evened the odds at one stroke!

With rising desire to join the bandwagon, the nobles spur…

DOWN ON THE PLAIN, Wallace and the attacking men drive the
English back, killing as they god.  The Scots reach the bridge
itself.  The waters below it run red with blood.

Talmadge has begun to panic.


Use the archers!


They’re too close, we’ll shoot out own men!


the Scots are carving their way through the English soldiers;
nothing can stop them.  Wallace is relentless; each time he
swings, a head flies, or an arm.  Hamish and Stephen fight beside
him, swinging the broadsword with both hands.  Old Campbell loses
his shield in the grappling; an English swordsman whacks at him
and takes off his left hand, but Campbell batters him to the
ground with his right, and stabs him.  Reaching the English side
of the bridge, the Scots begin to build a barrier with the dead

The English are not without courage.  Cheltham leads a desperate
counterattack.  The Scots make an impenetrable barrier of
slashing blades.  Still Cheltham keeps coming; Wallace hits him
with a vertical slash that parts his helmet, his hair, and his

TALMADGE has seen enough; he gallops away.  The remaining English
General tries to save the army.


We are still five thousand!  Rally!

The English try to form up; but the Scottish horsemen, fording
the river high upstream, come crashing into the English flank and
ride over the surprised English infantry.


sees the Scottish nobles attacking.  The English soldiers are in
utter panic, running and being cut down on all sides.

And the Scottish soldiers taste something Scots have no tasted
for a hundred years: victory.  Even while finishing off the last
of the English soldiers, they begin their high-low chant…Even
the noblemen take up the chant!

Wallace looks around at the aftermath of the battle:  bodies on
the field; soldiers lying impaled; stacks of bodies on the
bridge; the bridge slick with blood.

Before it can all sink in, William is lifted on the shoulders of
his men.


Wal-lace!  Wal-lace!  Wal-lace!


William kneels before one of Scotland’s ancient elders, who lifts
a silver sword and dubs William’s shoulders.


I knight thee Sir William Wallace.

William rises and faces the Great Hall, crowded with hundreds of
new admirers, as well as his old friends in their new clothes and
armor.  The crowd chants–


Wal-lace, Wal-lace!!

Wallace lifts his eyes, taking it all in.  At the rear of the
hall is a balcony, backed by a magnificent sunlit stained glass
window, and in the center of its rainbow corona he sees a
familiar form:  Marion, so real to him in this moment of triumph
that he can see her, glowing like an angel, in a gown worthy of
the occasion.  But the illusion won’t last; in the blink of an
eye she is gone, and Wallace hears the chant, and fingers the
cloth she gave him.

Int. scottish council – day

The nobles of Scotland are gathered in the huge chamber; a
massive table runs across the far end of the room, and aligned on
either side are the two rival factions of nobles, glaring at each
other.  Old Craig is in the center, with young Robert the Bruce
on his right.  There is a general MURMUR along the nobles, and
Robert whispers to Craig…


Does anyone know his politics?


No.  But his weight with the commoners could unbalance
everything.  The Balliols will kill his ass, so we must.

A court STEWARDS steps in and formally announces…


Lords of Scotland:  Sir William Wallace!

The nobles on each side of the table try to outdo each other in
their acclamation as Wallace strides in, flanked by Hamish,
Campbell, and Stephen, splendid in their tartans.  Old Craig


Sir William.  In the name of God, we declare and appoint thee
High Protector of Scotland!  And thy captains as aides-de-camp!

The nobles rise; court attendants hurry to Wallace and drape a
golden chain of office around his neck.  Wallace takes the three
smaller chains they bring and drapes them around the necks of his
friends, as once again the nobles applaud.  Almost before the
applause dies, a member of the BALLIOL clan, who has kept an open
seat beside him, speaks up…


Sir William!!  Inasmuch as you and your captains hail from a
region long known to support the Balliol clan, may we invite you
to join us?

But Wallace’s gaze has locked onto Robert the Bruce, who stares
back, the two young lions instantly recognizing the leadership
power of each other.


You are Robert the Bruce.

robert the bruce

I am.


My father fought in support of yours.

The Balliols shrivel.  The nobles on the Bruce side can barely
keep from grinning.  Suddenly the men on the other end of the
table change their attack.


With this new success, the result of all of Scotland’s efforts,
now is the time to declare a king!


then you are prepared to recognize our legitimate succession!


you’re the ones who won’t support the true claim!  I demand
consideration of these documents!

Wallace glances again at the Bruce, who suddenly feels ashamed of
the bickering.


Those were lies when they were written!  Our documents prove
absolutely that–

Suddenly Wallace turns his back and walks toward the door.


Sir William!  Where are you going?


We have beaten the English!  But they’ll come back, because you
won’t stand together.  There is one clan in this country–
Scotsmen.  One class–free.  One price–courage.

He turns again and strides toward the door.


But…what will you do?


I will invade England.  And defeat the English on their own


Invade?!  That’s impossible, it–

Wallace slings out his broadsword and moves down the length of
the table, bashing the succession documents into the laps of the


LISTEN TO ME!  Longshanks understands this!  This!

He brandishes the broadsword.


There is a difference between us.  You think the people of this
country exist to provide you with position.  I think your
position exists to provide the people with freedom.  And I go to
make sure they have it.

Wallace bangs through the door.  Suppressing smiles, his friends
file out behind him.

Int. edinburgh corridor – day

Wallace and his men are marching away, as Robert the Bruce runs
out after them.


Wait!  …I respect what you said.  But remember, these men have
lands, castles.  Much to risk.


And the common man who bleeds on the battlefield, does he risk


No.  But from top to bottom this country has no sense of itself.
Its nobles share allegiance with England and its clans war with
each other.  If you make enemies on both sides of the border,
you’ll end up dead.


We all end up dead.  It’s only a question of how.  And why.

Wallace walks; Robert catches up and speaks to him in an urgent
half whisper, so that no one else can hear.


I’m no coward!  I want what you want!  But we need the nobles.


Nobles?  What does that mean–to be noble?  Your title gives you
claim to the throne of our country.  But men don’t follow titles,
they follow courage!  Your arm speaks louder than your tongue.
Our people know you.  Noble and common, they respect you.  If you
would lead them toward freedom, they would follow you.  And so
would I.

Wallace walks away, leaving Robert the Bruce alone.


Wallace rides at the head of his army, moving through the
countryside of northern England.  It is autumn, the foliage is
beautiful, the wheat fields gold with harvest.

Ext. establishing york city – day

A medieval city guarded by a fortress.

int. the fortress – map room – day

The ROYAL GOVERNOR is a spoiled young man, Longshanks’ nephew.
He is studying maps and written appeals for help; his CAPTAIN of
defenses strides in with another note.


Message from your cousin, the Prince.  He says London has no more
troops to send.


Every town in Northern England is begging for help!  Where will
Wallace strike first?


I should think these smaller settlements along the border…

They hear shouts as a rider arrives and dismounts.  They look out
to see a panicked RIDER, who shouts up…


He advances!


To what town?


He comes here!

Smash to:


as civilians flee the walled city in the distance.


has cut a huge tree and placed it on wheels.  It rumbles
ominously TOWARD CAMERA…

THE CIVILIAN PANIC CONTINUES as more people join the swell of
those leaving York.

THE SCOTTISH ARMY keeps coming on.


The governor is furious and confused.


We will not allow a bandit to panic the greatest city in Northern
England!  Close off the escapes!  Let no one leave!


The city has emptied already, Sire.  Only the Scottish civilians

The Governor turns to his captain with a look worthy of his
uncle, Longshanks the King.


as it picks up speed and SLAMS into the wooden gate of the city.
With the collision, THE BATTLE IS ON.  It’s a night battle:
torches, flaming arrows, pots of boiling oil being splashed down
at the attackers, who swarm the gate.

The oil beats the first wave of Scots back, but Wallace rushes
forward, grabbing the ram cart with his own hands; the attackers
rally to him, helping him slam the gate again and again.  It
breaks; but behind it is an awful tangle of carts, broken sheds,
impenetrable rubbish.  Wallace grabs a torch, throws it into the
wooden tangle, and shouts–


Back!  Wait for it to burn!


The Captain hurries into the tower room.


They’ve breached the wall!


Then do as I ordered.


The Scots wait, biding their time as the barrier burns.  Suddenly
they look up in horror; the English are throwing the bodies of
hanged Scots over the wall.

They stare at this in mute shock.  Wallace is frozen, his eyes
reflecting his boyhood reaction.  His men rush forward.




They wish to frighten us!  Or goad us into attacking too soon!
Don’t look away!  LOOK!

The Scots look at the hanging bodies.


Behold the enemy we fight!  We will be more merciful than they
have been.  We will spare women, children, and priests.  For all
else, no mercy.

Wallace draws his broadsword.  The burning debris inside the gate
collapses, leaving a tunnel through the fire.  Wallace screams,
and leads the charge through the burning barrier.

Int. the palace in london – day

Prince Edward and Phillip, his fencing friend and lover, hear a
contingent of horsemen clatter into the courtyard below; they
look out the window and see the arrival of Longshanks.  They lean
back into the room and Edward begins to pace nervously.


It is not your fault!  Stand up to him.

Edward shows Phillip the dagger he has concealed in his belt
behind his back.


I will stand up to him, and more.

Longshanks bangs the door open and stalks in angrily.  First he
glares at Phillip with obvious loathing, then turns his piercing
stare to his own son.


What news of the north?


Nothing new, Majesty.  We have sent riders to speed any word.


While I am in France fighting to expand your future kingdom I
learn that Stirling castle is lost, our entire northern army
wiped out!  And you have done nothing?!


I have ordered conscriptions…

A messenger enters and hands the prince a message.  Edward reads
it and nearly loses his balance.


Wallace has sacked York!



(to messenger)

How dare you bring a panicky lie.

The messenger has also brought a basket.  He approaches the
central table with great dread and places the basket on it,
uncovering its contents.  Prince Edward is closest; he looks in,
then staggers back, stunned.  Longshanks moves to the sack
coldly, looks in, and withdraws the severed head of his nephew,
York’s (former) Governor.


Sire!  Thy own nephew!  What beast could do such a thing?!

The king drops the head back into the sack, unmoved.


If he can sack York, he can invade lower England.


We would stop him!


Edward, who is this shitpoker who speaks to me as if I needed his


I have declared Phillip my High Counselor.

Longshanks nods as if impressed.  He moves to Phillip and
examines the gold chain of office that the young man wears.  Then
Longshanks grabs him and throws him out the window, the same on
Edward and Phillip were looking out, six stories above the
courtyard.  We hear Phillip’s SCREAM as he falls.

Edward rushes toward the window in horror.  He looks out at the
result, turns back toward his father in shock and hatred, and
only then remembers the dagger and goes for it.

He stabs at Longshanks; the old king smiles at the attack,
parrying, letting his arms be cut.


You fight back at last!

Then Longshanks unleashes his own hateful fury; he grapples with
Edward, knocking the dagger away and hurling him to the floor;
then Longshanks kicks his son, again and again.  He exhausts his
fury on him.

Edward is a bloody mess; Longshanks coughs up a bit of blood.  He
ignores it and his son’s wreckage, and goes back to the
discussion, as if this fight was normal business.


We must sue for a truce, and buy him off.  But who will go to
him?  Not I.  If I came under the sword of this murderer, I would
end up like my nephew.  And not you, the sight of my faggot son
would only encourage an enemy to take over this country.  So whom
do I send?

Longshanks calculates.

Ext. Wallace army camp – day

A full encampment, across an English field; campfires chase the
dawn chill.  Soldiers sharpen swords and spear points.  Wallace
is huddled with his inner circle, all except Campbell, who
receives a report from a scout.


A royal entourage comes, flying banners of truce, and the
standards of Longshanks himself!

Wallace buckles on his sword.


Set up for a meeting in a sunny meadow.  Wallace and his men ride
in, wary, ready for ambush.  They surround the tent.  There are
two dozen royal soldiers there, but they make no threatening

No sound from the tent.  Wallace rests his hand on the handle of
his broadsword, ready.


Longshanks!  I have come.

Servants pull back the sides of the tent door, and a tall,
slender, shapely female figure appears there.  There in the
shadows, she looks just like Marion!  William is not the only one
who notices the resemblance; he glances at Hamish and Campbell
and sees them haunted by it too.  Is this another dream?  He
pales, as she steps into the morning sun.  She moves toward him,
her face lowered.  It is Marion!

She reaches him, lifts her face…and he sees the Princess!
William is relieved–and yet as he sees the Princess more closely
he is still shaken by the resemblance in the way she carries
herself, her shape, the fall of her hair.

The Princess is struck with Wallace, too–tall, powerful, and
commanding.  Wallace dismounts, and moves to face her.  Their
eyes hang on each other.  She sees something that she has not
seen in the face of a man in her whole life.

She surprises him by bending at the knee, in a half-submissive
yet proud curtsey.


I am the Princess of Wales.


Wife of Edward, the king’s son?

She nods; somehow she is already ashamed.


I come as the king’s servant, and with his authority.


It’s battle I want, not talk.


But now that I am here, will you speak with a woman?

She leads him under the pavilion, a purple canopy shading rich
carpets laid on the bare ground.  Watching the gorgeous walk,
Stephen lies back on his saddle and twitches his leg like a horny
dog.  Hamish backhands him; Campbell, Hamish and Stephen quickly
dismount and follow the procession, shouldering their way in
beside the Princess’s French guards, so they can watch Wallace’s
back.  The rest of the Scots surround the tent, ready for ambush.

Nicolette is among the royal attendants there; seeing Wallace,
she shoots a glance at the Princess that says Ooo-La-La!  The
servants have brought a throne for the Princess, a lower chair
for Wallace.  She sits; he refuses the chair.  She studies him,
taking in his anger and his pride.


I understand that you have recently been given the rank of


I have been given nothing.  God makes men what they are.


Did God make you the sacker of peaceful cities?  The executioner
of the king’s nephew, my husband’s own cousin?


York was the staging point for every invasion of my country.  And
that royal cousin hanged a hundred Scots, even women and
children, from the city walls.


That is not possible.

But knowing Longshanks’ family, she glances at a richly-dressed
Advisor, a CRONY of the king, who averts his eyes.


Longshanks did far worse, the last time he took a Scottish city.

The Crony mumbles to her in LATIN, WITH SUBTITLES…



He is a murdering bandit, he lies.



I am no bandit.  And I do not lie.

They are startled at Wallace’s fluency in Latin.


Or in French if you prefer that:  Certainmous et ver!  Ask your
king to his face, and see if his eyes can convince you of the

She stares for a long moment at Wallace’s eyes.


Hamilton, leave us.




Leave us now.

He reluctantly obeys.  Seeing that she wants the exchange to be
private, Wallace turns and nods for his men to leave.  Stephen,
who has been admiring the lady’s beauty non-stop, leans in and
whispers to William…


Her husband’s more of a queen that she is.  Did you know that?

Stephen moves off with Hamish and Campbell.  Wallace and the
princess are left alone.


Let us talk plainly.  You invade England.  But you cannot
complete the conquest, so far from your shelter and supply.  The
King proposes that you withdraw your attack.  In return he grants
you title, estates, and this chest with a thousand pounds of
gold, which am to pay to you personally.


A Lordship.  And gold.  That I should become Judas.


Peace is made is such ways.



The outburst startles even those watching from a distance.  The
Princess is mesmerized by Wallace’s passion.


I understand you have suffered.  I know…about your woman.


She was my wife.  We married in secret because I would not share
her with an English lord.  they killed her to get to me.  And she
was pregnant.

The Princess is stunned;  Wallace is dead still.


I’ve never told anyone.  I don’t know why I tell you–except
because you look…much like her.  And someday you will be a
queen, and you must open your eyes!


Tell your king that William Wallace will not be ruled.  Nor will
any Scot, while I live.

The Princess rises slowly from her chair, moves in front of him,
and lowers herself to her knees.  The Crony and her other
attendants, seeing this from a distance, are shocked.


Sir.  I leave this money, as a gift.  Not from the king, but from
myself.  And not to you, but to the orphans of your country.

She lifts her face.  Their eyes hold a moment too long.

LATER, Ext. field – day

Wallace and his captains sit on horseback at the head of their
company and watch as the Princess’ procession leaves.  Hamish
studies Wallace’s face; Wallace notices and gives him a non-
committal shrug.  As the carriage rolls away, its window curtains
lift back slightly.  All they see are the Princess’ fingers, but
they know she looked back.  Wallace reins his horse away, to ride
back to camp.

Int. edward’s palace – day

The doors open; the Princess enters Longshanks’ war council;
Prince Edward is there, among a dozen others.


My son’s loyal wife returns, unkilled by the heathen.  So he
accepted our bribe.


No.  He did not.


Then why does he stay?  My scouts say he has not advanced.


He waits.  For you.  He says he will attack no more towns–if you
are man enough to come fight him.


You spoke with this Wallace in private.  What kind of man is he?


…A mindless barbarian.  Not a king like you, M’lord.


The Scottish nobles have sent him no support.  His army starves.
Our stall has worked, he must withdraw.  You may return to your


Humbly, M’lord.

She barely curtseys, and starts out.


you brought back the money, of course?

He already know she didn’t; Hamilton is standing near him.


No.  I have it to ease the suffering of the children of this war.


(glances at son)

This is what happens when you must send a woman.  And a fool.


Forgive me, Sire.  I thought that generosity might demonstrate
your greatness to those you mean to rule.


My greatness is better demonstrated with this.

From a box at his feet the king withdraws a crossbow and throws
it onto the table.  Most of those there are shocked.


The weapon has been outlawed by the Pope himself!


So the Scots will have none of them, will they?  My armorers have
already made a thousand.

Longshanks smiles.  No one notices that the Princess is deadly

Ext. Wallace army camp – day

The Scots are lining up to leave their encampment.  Wallace is
about to give the signal to start the march when Hamish, beside
him, comes alert; a small group of riders in distinctive attire
are coming toward them; what can this be?


William–French guards?

The riders stop at a distance, and out from their ranks comes a
single rider, sitting sidesaddle.  It is Nicolette.  Wallace and
Hamish recognize her from the Princess’s visit.  She trots her
horse the rest of the way, while the French guards stay back.
Hamish helps her from her horse.  She moves to Wallace, and opens
the heavy folds of her heavy riding cape.

Secreted there, hung from a rope at her neck, is a crossbow.

ext. a field in scotland – day

Wallace has gathered the nobles, among them Robert the Bruce,
Mornay, and old Craig, for a demonstration.  Hamish and Stephen
have placed a spearman’s chestplate against a bale of hay.  As
William cranks the crossbow to its full cocked position and
places a bolt in its slot, Stephen tucks a melon behind the

William aims…and fires.  The bolt slashes through the air and
punches through the armor and the melon, leaving no doubt what it
would do to a man’s heart.  The nobles pale.


That is why the Pope outlawed the weapon!  It makes war too


How many does Longshanks have?


A thousand.


You have made me Guardian of Scotland.  So I tell you this is
what we face.


We must sue for peace.




we cannot defeat this–


With cavalry–not heavy, like the English, but light, fast
horsemen, like you nobles employ–we could outmaneuver their


It is suicide.


Sir William–

The Bruce sees Wallace about to explode, and tries to intervene–
but Wallace’s anger is too great.


We won at Stirling and still you quibbled!  We won at York and
you would not support us!  Then I said nothing!  Now I say you
are cowards!

The nobles grip their weapons; Wallace, Hamish and Stephen are
ready to finish this quarrel right here.  Robert the Bruce,
backed by Mornay, steps between the two sides.


Please, Sir William!  Speak with me alone!  I beg you!

The nobles stalk away, and Robert draws Wallace away, to the
target Wallace shot, so they are alone.


You have achieved more than anyone dreamed.  But fighting these
odds looks like rage, not courage.  Peace offers its rewards!
Has war become a habit you cannot break?

The question strikes deep.


War finds me willing.  I know it won’t bring back all I have
lost.  But it can bring what none of us have ever had–a country
of our own.  For that we need a king.  We need you.


I am trying.


Then tell me what a king is!  Is he a man who believes only what
others believe?  Is he one who calculates the numbers for and
against him but never weighs the strength in your own heart?
There is strength in you.  I see it.  I know it.


I must…consult with my father.


And I will consult with mine.

Robert the Bruce walks off the field, heading the way the other
nobles went.  Wallace rejoins Hamish and Stephen.  They look to
him; what do we do now?


Remember when the English turned their hounds on us?  Maybe we
should introduce them to our dogs.

Int. the darkened room of bruce the elder, the leper

In the faint nimbus of the single candle, young Robert sits
across from his leper father.  The son grips his own head, as if
stunned by a blow.


This…cannot be the way.

the leper

You have said yourself that the nobles will not support Wallace,
so how does it help us to join the side that is slaughtered?

Heartsick, the father reaches across the table, then stays his
arm, unwilling to touch his son with his leprous hand.

the leper

My son.  Look at me.  I cannot be king.  You, and you alone, can
rule Scotland.  What I tell you, you must do–for yourself, and
for your country.

Young Robert holds his father with his eyes, and does not look

Ext. the battle of falkirk – day

The Scottish army moves out onto the hilly plain, covered in the
gray mists.  They see glimpses of the enemy in the distance.
Wallace deploys the Scots:  Campbell with the schiltrons (spear
formations), Stephen with the infantry, the noble Mornay leading
the cavalry, and with Wallace and Hamish on horseback, looking
over the field.  Hamish sees gazing up at an empty hill above the


The Bruce is not coming, William.


Mornay has come.  So will the Bruce.

He’d better, the odds look long.  And it’s nasty ground; one side
of the field is ankle deep in water, and the English are covering
it with a layer of burning oil, releasing thick smoke to hide
their movements.


Stephen ready?



The Priest from their home village is moving through the Scottish
ranks, dispensing absolution.  He reaches the two friends, who
accept the Host, say their own last prayers, and give each other
a look of goodbye.  Hamish rides off to join the schiltrons.


on the opposite side of the field, send their army forward.


see them through the smoke; Wallace spots what he’s looking for:
there they are, the ranks of crossbowmen!

And as they draw nearer, Wallace hears a haunting noise.  He sees
the bowmen more clearly, and the English infantry.  Some are
wearing kilts and marching to bagpipes.


Irish troops!


He stares at the approach of his countrymen.  Wallace appears
beside him.  Stephen sees him, and is ashamed.


So that’s where Longshanks got his soldiers.  Irishmen, willing
to kill Scottish cousins for the English.


Their families are starving, they’ll feed them however they can.
If you don’t want to fight them–


No.  I’ll stand with you.

Loyal to the end.  Wallace signals to Hamish and Campbell, among
the schiltrons.  The formations, bristling with spears, move
forward.  Hamish looks back at Wallace; both men know the
spearmen are the bait here.  Wallace and Stephen see the English
heavy cavalry advancing.


They can’t be that stupid to attack the schiltrons again.

Wallace is scanning the battlefield.  He sees the English cavalry
charge, but before they reach the bristling spears, they pull up,
and crossbowmen, moving up behind the knights.


It’s only a faint to shield the crossbows!

the crossbowmen fire a volley, too hurriedly.  We see the
hailstorm of bolts slash through the air in unison–you can
actually see them coming.  The bows fall short of the front ranks
of the schiltrons.


Now!  Give ‘em the dogs!

Stephen signals, and up the slope behind them come handlers with
ten war dogs.  Huge mastiffs, they wear steel collars, with razor
sharp protrusions.  Their handlers hold them at the end of long
catch poles.  The crossbowmen are distracted from their re-
loading by the appearance of the mastiffs; now, as the Scottish
handlers run toward the English ranks and unleash the dogs, fear
races through the English line.

The dogs tear into them.  It is chaos; the bowmen can’t flee, and
as the dogs mix among them, the bowmen fire frantically, mostly
hitting each other.  The dogs’ collars slash legs; their jaws
crush bones; even when their back legs are hacked off, the
frenzied dogs keep killing.

Wallace signals to Mornay with the Scottish cavalry.  Mornay does
nothing.  The crossbowmen, though taking great punishment, are
beginning to overwhelm the dogs by sheer numbers, and are


Now!  Charge!  Charge them!

Mornay tugs his reins and leads his cavalry away.


Longshanks and his officers see Mornay and his cavalry melt away.
The English general looks knowingly at Longshanks.




For double his lands in Scotland, and matching estates in


They see the Scottish army abandoned.



Wallace glances to the other hilltop; still no sign of Bruce.  He
looks on in agony as the crossbowmen unleash another volley.  The
Scottish spearmen, bunched in a tight group, are helpless.  The
bolts fall, cutting through their helmets and breastplates like
paper.  Wallace has no cavalry–and his men are being
slaughtered!  He spurs his horse, and Stephen and the infantrymen
race behind him.

The English heavy cavalry surge to meet them, but Wallace weaves
through them, dodging with his horse, slashing with the
broadsword, cutting down on knight, another, another…  The
Scottish infantry claws in, dragging down the horses, hacking the
knights as they run by.

The English bowmen are about to fire again, but they see the
Scottish charge bearing down on them and adjust their aim; the
bolts cut into the infantrymen; one bolt tears off the armor of
Wallace’s left shoulder.  He wobbles on his horse, regains his
balance, and keeps up the charge.


Longshanks and his generals are watching the action.


My God, and still they come!


Use the reinforcements!  But take Wallace alive!

The General signals and the English reinforcements surge into the


On horseback, Wallace fights his way into the watery edge of the
field, where English infantry is now overrunning the schiltron.
He hacks men down left and right, reaches the Scottish center,
and finds Hamish bending over another soldier.  Wallace


Hamish!  Ham–

And Wallace sees that Hamish is holding his father, fallen in
battle.  Wallace has no time to react; he cuts down and English
swordsman moving in to hack Hamish’s back.  Wallace lifts
Campbell across the saddle, and shouts at Hamish…


Get him away!

Hamish obeys, jumping onto the horse and galloping back toward
the rear.  Wallace fights with new vengeance, swinging the
double-edged broadsword with deadly accuracy.

Rallied by Wallace’s presence, the Scots surge back.  Then
Wallace sees the English reinforcement cavalry coming.


A charge!  Form up!  Form up!

The Scots pull up spears and hastily form another schiltron.  The
spears bristle out, ready…the English horsemen thunder in.  But
before the spears impale the horses, another flight of crossbow
bolts cuts down half the Scots still fighting.

Hamish reaches the rear of the battle and lowers the limp body of
his father to the Scottish monks who are attending to the wounded
and giving absolution to the dying…

still Wallace fights back, meeting the English charge.  The Scots
hold their own.  An English knight tries to ride over William; he
knocks the lance aside, and tough the horse slams into him,
William also unseats the rider.

The rider rolls to his feet.  William struggles up to meet him–
and comes face to face with Robert the Bruce.

The shock and recognition stun Wallace; in that moment, looking
at Robert the Bruce’s guilt-ridden face, he understands
everything: the betrayal, the hopelessness of Scotland.  As he
stands there frozen, a bolt punches into the muscle of his neck,
and Wallace doesn’t react to it.

Bruce is horrified at the sight of Wallace this way.  He batters
at Wallace’s sword, as if its use would give him absolution.


Fight me!  Fight me!

But Wallace can only stagger back.  Bruce’s voice grows ragged as
he screams.



all around, the battle has decayed; the Scots are being
slaughtered.  Another bolt glances off Wallace’s helmet; a third
rips into his thigh plate, making his legs collapse.

Suddenly Stephen comes through the melee, on Robert’s horse!  He
hits Robert from behind, knocking him down, and jumps to the
ground to try and lift William onto the horse!

Robert sees a knot of crossbowmen moving up, sighting out
Wallace, taking careful aim!  Bruce leaps up and helps Stephen
sling Wallace onto the back of the horse, even covers him with
his shield, deflecting another bolt fired at Wallace, as Stephen
mounts too.

As the horse plunges away into the smoke, Robert falls to the
water.  His own troops reach him, realize who he is, see the
horrible expression on his face, and race on after the Scots.
Robert is left alone, on his knees in the water, the fire and
noise of battle now dim to him, as if his senses have died along
with his heart.


looks over the battlefield, strewn with the bodies of the
Scottish dead.  For now, he is satisfied.

Ext. road – sunset

Remnants of the defeated army straggle past.  Wallace an Stephen
are trying to help Hamish carry his father, but now old Campbell


Son…  I want to die on the ground.

But as they tilt old Campbell onto the ground, he grabs at
something that starts to fall from the wound in his stomach.


Whew.  That’ll clear your sinuses.  Goodbye, boys.


No.  You’re going to live.


I don’t think I can do without one of those…whatever it is…

Hamish is too grief-stricken to speak.


You…were like my father…

Old Campbell rallies one more time for this.


…And glad to die, like him…  So you could be the men you are.
All of ya.

The last three words to Hamish, telling him he’s a hero too.


I’m a happy man.

Hamish is weeping.  When he looks up again, his father has died.
We PULL BACK from them in tableaux, with the army, the people of
Scotland, the whole gray world in defeat.

Int. edinburgh castle – day

Wallace, still bloody and in his battered armor, removes the
chain of office from beneath his breastplate, lays it onto the
table in front of Craig and the other nobles, and walks from the
room.  Hamish and Stephen see the satisfaction on the nobles’
face, and follow William out.

Int. castle corridor – day

Hamish and Stephen move out into the hallway after Wallace–but
he is gone.

Ext. woods – night

Wallace is in the woods, in the grove of trees, looking at
Marion’s hidden grave.  The rain falls on his face, like tears.
But he has no tears of his own.  The cold, the icy rain, the
wounds, nothing seems to touch him.

With his fingertips he carefully draws her embroidered cloth from
beneath his breastplate; hanging in his trembling hands, filthy
with the grime and gore of battle, it looks impossibly white,
something from a better, purer world.

dissolve to

Int. palace in london – night

Thunder, the sound of driving rain.  Snug by a massive fire are
Longshanks, his son Edward, and other advisors.  On the far side
of the room, away from the fire, the Princess stands at the
window and watches the rain against the panes.


Their nobles have sworn allegiance, M’lord.  Every last one.

Longshanks savors the victory–and gloats to his son.


Now we kill two birds at one stroke.  We recruit from Scotland
for our armies in France.


The Scots will fight for us?


What choice do they have?  Now they must serve us or starve.


But if we have not caught Wallace–



He is gone!  Finished!  Dead!  If he has not yet bled to death or
had his throat cut for him, he will not survive the winter.  It
is very cold–is it not, our flower?

From the other side of the window, we see the Princess as she
hears him, but doesn’t turn around.  She looks at the window, we
snow swirling among the raindrops outside.  Her eyes glisten, and
her breath fogs the glass.

Int. bruce’s darkened chamber

The elder Bruce, his decaying features sagging from his face,
stares across the table at his son.


I am the one who is rotting.  But I think your face looks graver
than mine.


He was so brave.  With courage alone he nearly won.


So more men were slaughtered uselessly!


He broke because of me.  I saw it.  He lost all will to fight.


We must have alliance with England to prevail here.  You achieved
that!  You saved your family, increased your lands!  In time you
will have all the power in Scotland!  ..Yet you grieve.


In my heart I had begun to hope that he would never break.


All me lose heart.  All betray.  It is exactly why we must make
the choices we make.

Int. mornay’s castle – night

Mornay, in an opulent bedchamber hung with tapestries and
carpeted with eastern rugs, lies in bed, tossing in the restless
sleep of a tortured soul.

He thinks he hears galloping.  In SUBLIMINAL FLASHES he DREAMS of
Wallace riding toward him.

He wakes, and listens to a strange noise.  It is hoofbeats!
Coming closer.  He hears shouts too, screams from below–and
those strange, approaching hoofbeats…


rides up the circular stairs inside Mornay’s castle!  His horse
bounds up the stone–Mornay’s guards are behind him, on foot,

At a landing, Wallace cuts down a guard, and gallops higher.


sits up gawking as the door explodes inward and Wallace rides
through!  Mornay is frozen.  Wallace slashes him down.

Out in the corridor, the guards gather; they have Wallace
trapped.  He covers the horse’s eyes with a cloth and spurs his
flanks.  the blind animal runs through the window!

Ext. castle – night – slow motion

The horse and rider plunge past the sheer walls of the
castle…and into the loch!  Mornay’s guards and the castle
servants cluster at the windows to see Wallace and the horse
surface, and swim to the shore, escaping!

Ext. scottish village – day

The news has spread through the countryside.  In the town square,
drunken Scotsmen chant…


Wal-lace!  Wal-lace!  Wal-lace!

Old Craig rides past them, heading toward he Bruce’s castle on
the hill above the town.

int. bruce castle – day

Robert is in his central room; he hears the chanting from far
below.  Old Craig enters.


Is it true about Mornay?

Craig hands him the bloody nightshirt Mornay was wearing.


And he rode through the window?  My God.

He can’t hide his admiration.  From below, he still hears the
people CHANTING…

Ext. london – gardens – day

Longshanks and Edward are in the royal gardens, resplendent with
spring.  Longshanks pulls a new flower, and crushes it.


His legend grows!  It will be worse than before!


You let Wallace escape your whole army.  You cannot blame me for

Longshanks glowers at his son; the Princess arrives.


Good day to you, M’Lords.


You mock us with a smile?


I am cheerful with a plan to soothe your miseries.  All of
England shudders with the news of renewed rebellion.


Wallace’s followers.


Wallace himself.  If you wish to pretend a ghost rallies new
volunteers in every Scottish town, I leave you to your hauntings.
If you wish to take him, I know a way.

Edward snickers in derision–but his wife is steel.


I have faced him.  Have you?


Let her speak.


He will fight your forever.  But what does he fight for?  Freedom
first, and peace.  So grant them.


The little cow is insane–


Grant, as you do everything else, with treachery.  Offer him a
truce to discuss terms, and send me to my castle at Locharmbie as
your emissary.  He trusts me.  Pick thirty of your finest
assassins for me to take along.  And I will set the meeting, and
the ambush.


you see, my delicate son?  I have picked you a Queen.

Ext. the princess’ scottish castle – day

Locharmbie is a small, picturesque castle on a hillside.  As the
queen’s entourage moves through the gates, they close behind her.
She steps out of the carriage and moves into

Int. castle – the great hall – day

Inside the great hall are thirty killers, led by their CHIEF
ASSASSIN, a cutthroat with a mangled eye.

chief assassin

We came in small groups, so the rebels would not suspect.


And you have reached Wallace’s men?

chief assassin

We tell the villagers, and the traitors pass it on.  All that’s
left is for you to say where.

Ext. marion’s grove – night

Wallace is in the grove of trees where Marion is buried.
Drinking in the silence, his own isolation.  He hears a RUSTLE
behind him, and spins, drawing the broadsword.  Then his face
registers…it’s Hamish and Stephen.

Hamish is unsure if he did the right thing in coming here–
unsure, until Wallace moves to them, and hugs them.

Int. cave – night

They are in the old secret cave; rain is falling, but it’s dry
inside, with a campfire smoldering at the entrance.


Thanks for the food and drink.  And for bringing ‘em yourselves.


We’re here to stay.  We don’t care to live, if we can’t fight
beside ya.

Stephen pulls a jug of whiskey from his pocket.  He swigs, hands
it to Hamish for a chug, then to Wallace, who declines, but
smiles for the first time in many weeks.


There is…one thing, William.  Longshanks is offering a truce.
He has dispatched his daughter-in-law as his emissary, and she
has sent word that she wishes to meet you–in a barn.

Wallace frowns; a barn?

ext. a barn in the scottish countryside – day

Hauntingly similar to the one in Wallace’s childhood.  As he sits
on his horse and looks at the place, surmounted by a white flag
of truce, it gives him a chill.  But in full view of the barn, he
hands Hamish his sword and rides forward.


are the assassins, killing knives ready.

Chief assassin

It’s William Wallace, sure!  And…he’s given up his sword!  Be

They position themselves at every entrance.


Wallace reaches the barn, dismounts, and moves toward the door.
But suddenly, instead of entering, he grabs the heavy bar and
seals the door!  At this motion, Scots spring from the woods in
all directions.  The assassins inside realize the ambush is being
turned on them, but it’s too late; they hear the entrance being
sealed from the outside.

More Scots, led by Stephen, scramble up from hiding, place
tinder-dry brush and pitch against the barn, and set it on fire.
In moments the entire barn is blazing.  The Scots stand back and
watch the barn burn, their faces lit by the flames.  After
awhile, there are no more screams from inside.

Ext. castle – night

The Princess sees the burning off in the distance, like a
bonfire.  She stands on the wall, looking out at it.  And then
she sees, on a hillside, silhouetted against the night and the
fire, a rider, just sitting there on his horse, looking at the
castle.  She runs into the castle, up the stairs, and stands on
the pinnacle of the castle, so that she too is silhouetted, and
he can see her.

The lone rider is William Wallace.


being placed in a window of the stable cottage, built into the
outer wall of the castle.  AT A DISTANCE, the candle burns like a
tiny beacon.  And William sees it.


sits alone, wondering if her signal is going to work.


Wallace climbs the castle wall, hand over hand up the mortared
stones, to the window twenty feet above the ground.  He reaches
the safety of the window cove and kneels on the ledge.  He looks
through the window, and sees her inside.

INSIDE THE ROOM, she looks up, and sees him there.  The first
glance frightens her, and yet she expected him, prayed for him to
come.  Now, for a long, long moment the two of them look at each
other through the glass, each realizing the implications of this

She moves to the window and opens it.  The wind rushing through
extinguishes the candle, and he slips inside.  They face each
other in the darkness.  Then she strikes a match and relights the
candle, and they look at each other.


A meeting in a barn.  It had to be a trap.  And only you would
know I would be aware of it.


It does me good to see you.


I am much diminished since we met.

She wants to say something–but instead she says something else.


There will be a new shipment of supplies coming north next month.
Food and weapons.  They will trav–


No.  Stop.  I didn’t come here for that.


Then why did you come?


Why did you?


Because of the way you’re looking at me now.  The same way…as
when we met.

He turns his face away.  Gently, she pulls it back.


I know.  You looked at me… and saw her.

He twists back toward the window.


You must forgive me what I feel.  No man has ever looked at me as
you did.

Surprised, he looks at her now.


you have…you have a husband.


I have taken vows.  More than one.  I’ve vowed faithfulness to my
husband, and sworn to give him a son.  And I cannot keep both

Slowly, it starts to dawn on him what she’s asking, and an
unexpected smile plays at his lips.  Her smile lights too.


You understand.  Consider, before you laugh and say now.  You
will never own a throne, though you deserve one.  But just as the
sun will rise tomorrow, some man will rule England.  And what if
his veins ran not with the blood of Longshanks, but with that of
a true king?


I cannot love you for the sake of revenge.


No.  But can you love me for the sake of all you loved and lost?
Or simply love me…because I love you?

Slowly, he reaches to the candle flame, and pinches it out.


we see the surging, pent-up passion…and

dissolve to


Their bodies limp, they lie asleep, entwined.  The first rays of
morning spread yellow light through the room and across their

Wallace wakes suddenly; sunlight!  He grabs for his clothes, as
she wakes, covers herself in the blanket and jumps out of bed,
rushing to the window to look out.


No one!  Hurry!

He reaches her, throws the window open, and sees a clear path
down the wall to safety.  He stops and looks at her, and touches
her face in gratitude.  She has to ask…


When we… did you think of her?

Pausing to look straight into her eyes, he kisses her–her, not
Marion–and climbs out.  She watches him go.

Ext. grove of trees – night

Wallace stands alone in the grove where Marion lies.


–Wallace and fifty men gallop through a village on the way to an
English fortress; the villagers drop what they’re doing and run
to follow them; we see Wallace’s face, relentless, as he hacks
men down in the attack; with the fortress sacked and smoking in
the background, we see Wallace lead his men away, the people
cheering him…

ext. forest encampment – night

Once again, Wallace stares at the fire, beside his friends.


Rest, William.


I rest.


Your rest is making me exhausted.

Stephen offers the jug; Wallace declines.


Come, it’ll help you sleep.


Aye.  Bit it won’t let me dream.

Pulling a tattered tartan around himself, he lies down.


He sits by a palace hearth, where a huge blaze burns; still he’s
huddled beneath a blanket, and coughing blood.  But he ignores
the ice in his lungs; his mind is plotting.

The princess, ext. the walls of her castle – night

she walks the parapets alone, lost in her own thoughts.

Robert the bruce, in a stone room of his castle

sits staring at…the stone coffin of his father.  The coffin is
closed; on its top is a lifesize stone carving of his father as a
knight in final repose.  Ranks of candles light the scene, and
Robert’s face, cold as the stone.  A SHUFFLE…Robert looks up to
see old Craig.


May her rest in peace.  …You have already sealed the coffin?


He was a modest man.


It will not be long before Longshanks too is encased in stone,
and his crowns divided for others to wear.

Craig sits next to Robert, and keeps his voice low.


Our nobles are frightened and confused…Wallace has the
commoners stirred up again, from the Highland clans to the
lowland villages.  In another six months Christ and the Apostles
could not govern this country.

Robert only stares at his father’s stone coffin.


Longshanks knows his son will scarcely be able to rule England,
much less half of France.  He needs Scotland settled, and he
trusts you, after Falkirk.  If you pay him homage, he will
recognize you as king of Scotland.  Our nobles have agreed to
this as well.

He shows Robert a parchment bearing the noblest names in
Scotland.  The Bruce barely glances at it.


If I pay homage to another’s throne, then how am I a king?


Homage is nothing.  It is the crown that matters!


The crown is that of Scotland.  And Scotland is William Wallace.


That is another matter.  There is a price to all this, required
both by Longshanks and our nobles.  Pay it, and you will be our
king.  And we will have peace.

Robert turns from his father’s coffin, to look at Craig.

Ext. forest encampment – night

A commotion; the nobles, their heads hooded, are led in on
horseback by guerrillas from the village.  The nobles stop, feel
their hoods pulled off, and see Wallace.


Sir William.  We come to seek a meeting.


You’ve all sworn to Longshanks.


An oath to a liar is no oath at all.  An oath to a patriot is a
vow indeed.  Every man of us is ready to swear loyalty to you.


So let the council swear publicly.


We cannot.  Some scarcely believe you are alive.  Other think
you’ll pay them Mornay’s wages.  We bid you to Edinburgh.  Meet
us at the city gates, two days from now, at sunset.  Pledge us
your pardon and we will unite behind you.  Scotland will be one.

Wallace glances at Hamish and Stephen, who can barely hide their
contempt.  Wallace looks at the nobles.


I will meet you, but only one way–if Robert the Bruce is there,
and puts his hand on my Bible, and swears his loyalty to


He has already agreed to come.

Ext. Forest – night

Wallace stands alone, looking at the moon and stars.  Hamish
moves up and sits down beside him.


You know it’s a trap.


Probably.  But we can’t win alone.  We know that.  This is the
only way.


I don’t want to be a martyr.


Nor I!  I want to live!  I want a home and children and peace.
I’ve asked god for those things.  But He’s brought me this sword.
And if He wills that I must lay it down to have what He wants for
my country, then I’ll do that too.


That’s just a dream, William!


We’ve lived a dream together.  A dream of freedom!


your dreams aren’t about freedom!  They’re about Marion!  You
have to be a hero, because you think she sees you!  Is that it?


My dreams of Marion are gone.  I killed them myself.  If I knew I
could live with her on the other side of death, I’d welcome it.

ext. road into EDINBURGH – sunset

William, Hamish, and Stephen are on their horses, looking down at
the road leading into the city.  Wallace hands his dagger to
Stephen, and unbuckles his broadsword and gives it to Hamish.


Keep these.  We’re going too.


No.  One of us is enough.

Wallace hugs them, first Stephen, then Hamish.  Tears roll down
Hamish’s cheeks.  With one last look at his friends, Wallace
rides away.

Ext. Large estate house – sunset

The house looks quiet as Wallace rides toward it.

Int. estate house – day

Robert the Bruce and Craig stand at the hearth, tense.


He won’t come.


He will.  I know he will.

They hear the approach of a single horse.  The Bruce looks out to
see Wallace arriving.


Here.  And unarmed.  My God, he has a brave heart.


Wallace dismounts and enters.

Int. the house

Wallace appears at the doorway into the main room, and stops.
Bruce faces him.  The eyes of BOTH MEN meet, saying everything.
Wallace steps into the room.  He sees something flicker onto
Bruce’s face–shame–just as henchmen in the rafters drop a
weighted net and it envelopes Wallace.  English soldiers spring
from the closets, run down the stairs, and tumble over him,
ripping at his clothes, searching as if broadswords might spring
from his boots.

They bind Wallace hand and foot.  He stares at Robert the Bruce,
who averts his eyes.  The soldiers hurry Wallace out the back,
where others are bringing up horses.  Robert grabs the English
Captain of the soldiers.


He is not to be harmed.  I have your king’s absolute promise that
he will be imprisoned only!

The Captain looks at Bruce the way the High Priest must have
looked at Judas, and leaves.


Now we will have peace.

Robert the Bruce spots something on the floor that must have
fallen from Wallace’s clothes as they grabbed him; Bruce lifts
the white handkerchief, and sees the familiar thistle embroidered
on it.

ext. road – northern england – day

A procession of heavily armed English soldiers winds its way
toward London, Wallace strapped to an unsaddled horse, his head
bare to the sun.  Country people come out to jeer…


Don’t look so fearsome, does he?!

A thrown rock careens off Wallace’s check; rotten fruit slaps his
shirt.  His lips are so parched they bleed.

Int. royal palace – Longshanks’ bedroom – day

Edward inspects his father, who lies semiconscious in bed, breath
rattling ominously in his chest.  Edward approves.

int. the palace hallway – day

The Princess hurries up to her husband as he leaves the king’s
bedroom, and follows him down the hall to his own.


Is it true?  Wallace is captured?


Simply because he eluded your trap, do you think he is more than
a man?  My father is dying.  Perhaps you should think of our


When will his trial be?


Wallace’s?  For treason there I no trial.  Tomorrow he will be
charged, then executed.

With a faint smile, he shuts his bedroom door in her face.

Int. robert the bruce’s castle – day

The Bruce is incredulous, yelling at Craig.


Longshanks promised!


You are surprised he would lie?  Balliol was murdered in a church
yesterday.  You are Longshanks’ new designate.  You will be king.

INT. tower dungeon

Wallace stands in medieval restraints worthy of Hannibal Lecter.
Before him are six scarlet-robed royal magistrates.

royal magistrate

William Wallace!  You stand in taint of high treason.

We PUSH IN on the iron mask that binds his face.  We can only see
his eyes–but they are bright.


Treason.  Against whom?


Against thy king, thou vile fool!  Hast thou anything to say?


Never, in my whole life, did I swear allegiance to your king–


It matter not, he is thy king!


–while many who serve him have taken and broken his oath many
times.  I cannot commit treason, if I have never been his


Confess, and you may receive a quick death.  Deny, and you must
be purified by pain.  Do you confess? …DO YOU CONFESS?!


I do not confess.


Then on the morrow, thou shalt receive they purification.  …And
in the end, I promise you’ll beg for the axe.

ext. establishing – the tower

The stone prison, and the wretched stone section known to this
day as the Wallace Tower.

int. prison – night

Wallace is alone in his cell, still in the garish restraints.  We
can only see his eyes, as he prays.


I am so afraid…  Give me strength.


The jailers jump to their feet as the Princess enters.


Your Highness!


I will see the prisoner.


We’ve orders from the king–


the king will be dead in a month!  And his son is a weakling!
Who do you think will rule this kingdom?  Now OPEN THIS DOOR!

The jailer obeys.  The Princess can barely contain her shock at
the sight of Wallace; the jailers snatch him upright.


On your feet, you filth!


Stop!  Leave me!

(they hesitate)

There is no way out of this hell!  Leave me with him!

Reluctantly the jailers shuffle out of the cell, but they can
still see her back and hear her.  Looking at Wallace’s eyes
through the mask, she can’t quite hold back her tears–dangerous
tears, that threaten to say too much.  Wallace tries to distract


M’lady…what kindness of you to visit a stranger.


sir, I…come to beg you to confess all, and swear allegiance to
the king, that he might show you mercy.


Will he show mercy to my country?  Will he take back his
soldiers, and let us rule ourselves?


Mercy…is to die quickly.  Perhaps even live in the Tower.  In
time, who knows what can happen, if you can only live.


If I swear to him, then everything I am is dead already.

She wants to plead, she wants to scream.  She can’t stop the
tears.  And the jailers are watching.


your people are lucky to have a princess so kind that she can
grieve at the death of a stranger.

she almost goes too far now, pulling closer to him–but she
doesn’t care.  She whispers, pleading…


You will die!  It will be awful!


Every man dies.  Not every man really lives.

She pulls out a hidden vial, and whispers…


Drink this!  It will dull your pain.


It will numb my wits, and I must have them all.  If I’m
senseless, or if I wail, then Longshanks will have broken me.


I can’t bear the thought of your torture.  Take it!

On the verge of hysteria, she presses the vial to the air hole at
his mouth and pours in the drug.  The jailers, seeing suspicious
movement, shift inside the cell; she backs up, her eyes wide,
full of love and goodbye.  From inside the mask, he watches her
go.  When the door CLANGS shut, he spits the purple drug out
through the mouth hole.

Int. longshanks’ bedchamber – night

Longshanks lies helpless, his body racked with consumption.
Edward sits against the wall, watching him die, glee in his eyes.
The Princess enters, and marches to the bedside.


I have come to beg for the life of William Wallace.


You fancy him.


I respect him.  At worst he was a worthy enemy.  Show mercy…Oh
thou great king…and win the respect of your own people.

Longshanks shakes his head.


Even now, you are incapable of mercy?

The king can’t speak.  But hatred still glows in his eyes.  The
princess looks at her husband.


Nor you.  To you that word is as unfamiliar as love.


Before he lost his powers of speech, he told me his one comfort
was that he would live to know Wallace was dead.

She leans down and grabs the dying king by the hair.  The guards
flanking the door start forward but the Princess’s eyes flare at
them with more fire than even Longshanks once showed–and the
guards back off.  She leans down and hisses to Longshanks, so
softly that even Edward can’t hear…


you see?  Death comes to us all.  And it comes to William
Wallace.  But before death 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.

She lets go of the old king.  He sags like an empty sack back
onto his satin pillows.  Without even a look at her husband she
strides out of the room, with the rattling breath of the dying
king rasping the air like a saw.

ext. london town square – execution day

The crowd is festive; hawkers sell roast chickens, and beer from
barrels.  Royal horsemen arrive, dragging Wallace strapped to a
wooden litter.  As they cut him loose and lead him through the
crowd, the people begin to jeer and throw things at him:  chicken
bones, rocks, empty tankards.

We see a former English soldier, one of those who fled in terror
at the battle of Stirling, lift a stone from the street and hurl
it; it cracks against Wallace’s cheek.  Wallace’s eyes capture
the soldier, and hold him, piercing his soul.  The soldier looks
away in shame, even as the rest of the crowd jeers more.

Grim magistrates prod Wallace and he climbs the execution
platform.  On the platform are a noose, a dissection table with
knives in plain view, and a chopping block with an enormous axe.
Wallace sees it all.


We will use it all before this is over.  Or fall to your knees
now, declare yourself the king’s loyal subject, and beg his
mercy, and you shall have it.

He emphasizes “mercy” by pointing to the axe.  Wallace is pale,
and trebles–but he shakes his head.  The CROWD grows noisier as
they put the noose around Wallace’s neck…


–THE PRINCESS, in helpless agony, hearing the DISTANT NOISE from
her room in the palace…

–Hamish and Stephen, disguised as peasants among the crowd,
helpless too, but there, as if to shoulder some of the pain.

–Longshanks, rattling, coughing blood, as Edward watches.

–Robert the Bruce paces along the walls of his castle in
Scotland.  His eyes are haunted; he grips the embroidered
handkerchief that belonged to Wallace.


a trio of burly hooded executioners cinch a rope around Wallace’s
neck and hoist him up a pole.


That’s it!  Stretch him!

In the SCORE, AMAZING GRACE, wailed on bagpipes, carries through
all that happens now…  Ties hand and foot, Wallace is
strangling.  The Magistrate watches coldly; even when the
executioner gives him a look that says they’re about to go too
far, he prolongs the moment; then the Magistrate nods and the
executioner cuts the rope.  Wallace slams to the platform; the
Magistrate leans to him.


Pleasant, yes?  Rise to your knees, kiss the royal emblem on my
cloak, and you will feel no more.

With great effort, Wallace rises to his knees.  The Magistrate
assumes a formal posture and offers the cloak.  Wallace struggles
all the way to his feet.


Very well then.  Rack him.

The executioners slam Wallace onto his back on the table, spread
his arms and legs, and tie each to a crank.  Goaded by the crowd,
they pull the ropes taut.  They crowd grows quiet enough to hear
the groaning of Wallace’s limbs.  Hamish and Stephen feel it in
their own bodies.


Wonderful, isn’t it, that a man remains conscious through such
pain.  Enough?

Wallace shakes his head.  The executioners cut off his clothes,
take hot irons from a fire box.  The crowd grows silent; we see
them, not Wallace, as the irons are touched to his body, but we
hear the burning of flesh.  Then the Magistrate signals; Wallace
wants to say something.


That…will..clear your sinuses.

Everyone hears; Hamish smiles, even through his tears.  Rebuffed,
the Magistrate nods to the executioners, who lift the terrible
instruments of dissection.

We are spared seeing the cutting: we are ON WALLACE’S FACE as the
disembowelment begins.  The Magistrate leans in beside him.


It can all end.  Right now!  Bliss.  Peace.  Just say it.  Cry
out.  “Mercy!”  yes?  …Yes?

The crowd can’t hear the magistrate but they know the procedure,
and they goad Wallace, chanting…


Mer-cy!  Mer-cy!  Mer-cy!

Wallace’s eyes roll to the magistrate, who signals QUIET!



The prisoner wishes to say a word!

SILENCE.  Hamish and Stephen weep, whisper, pray…

Hamish, and Stephen

Mercy, William…  Say Mercy…

Wallace’s eyes flutter, and clear.  He fights through the pain,
struggles for one last deep breath, and screams…



The shout RINGS through the town.  Hamish hears it.  The Princess
hears it, at her open window, and touches her tummy, just showing
the first signs of her pregnancy.  Longshanks and his son seem to
hear; the cry STILL ECHOES as if the wind could carry it through
the ends of Scotland; and Robert the Bruce, on the walls of his
castle, looks up sharply, as if he has heard…


the crowd has never seen courage like this; even English
strangers begin to weep.  The angry, defeated magistrate gives a
signal.  They cut the ropes, drag Wallace over and put his head
on the block.  The executioner lifts his huge axe–and Wallace
looks toward the crowd.


He sees Hamish, eyes brimming, face glowing…


begins to drop.


In the last half-moment of his life, when he has already stepped
into the world beyond this one, he glimpses someone standing at
Hamish’s shoulder.  She is beautiful, smiling, serene.

She is Marion.


Robert the Bruce

His face has changed.  He is standing AT THE OPEN GRAVE WHERE
MARION LAY, the headstone carved with the thistle still there.
He holds the handkerchief.  As he tucks it into his own pocket,
and we MOVE IN on his eyes, we realize the VOICE OVER belongs to

robert (V.O.)

After the beheading, William Wallace’s body was torn to pieces.
His head was set on London bridge, where passerby were invited to
jeer at the man who had caused so much fear in England.


His arms and legs were sent to the four corners of Britain as

Ext. Scottish towns – carious shots – day

We see the people, as the remains of William Wallace are
displayed in a box.  The faces of the young men are fiery.

robert (v.o.)

It did not have the effect that Longshanks planned.

More young men put on tartans, take up their weapons, and gather
into fighting units.  Among them is Hamish, carrying a shield
emblazoned with a cocked arm holding a broadsword, and the words
“For Freedom.”

Ext. scottish highlands – day

Robert the Bruce, flanked by the noblemen and the banners of the
Scottish throne, and backed by a ragtag army of Scots, sits on
his horse and looks down at the English generals in their martial
finery.  The English are haughty, victorious, at the head of
their colorful, polished army, awaiting the ceremony of
submission from Scotland’s new king.

robert (V.o.)

And I, Robert the Bruce, backed by a body of Scottish veterans,
rode out to pay homage to the armies of the English king, and
accept his endorsement of my crown.


The Scots–the remains of William Wallace’s army–look so ragged
and defeated that it hardly seems worth the wait.  One ENGLISH
COMMANDER turns and jokes with another…

english commander

I hope you washed your ass this mornin–it’s never been kissed by
a king before.

UP ON THE HILL, Robert the Bruce sits on his horse, and waits.
He looks down at the English generals, at their banners, their
army.  He looks down the ranks at his own.

He sees Hamish.  Stephen.  Old MacClannough is there, his eyes
watery, his weapon sharp.  The Scottish bride Lord Bottoms took
is there, among the ragtag archers, her husband beside her.
Robert knows none of them–yet he knows them all.

Old Craig, among the other Scottish nobles mounted beside the
Bruce, grows impatient.


Come, let’s get it over with.

But Robert holds something–uncurling his fist, he looks at the
thistle handkerchief that belonged to Wallace.  The nobles start
to rein their horses toward the English.



Robert the Bruce tucks the handkerchief safely behind his
breastplate, and turns to the Highlanders who line the hilltop
with him.  He takes a long breath, and shouts–

robert the bruce

You have bled with Wallace!  Now bleed with me!

Bruce’s broadsword slides from its scabbard.  A cry rises from
Highlanders, as from a tomb, rising–


Wal-lace!  Wal-lace!  Wal-lace!

The chant builds to a frenzy; it shakes the earth.  The Scottish
nobles can scarcely believe it; the English are shocked even
more.  Robert the Bruce, king of Scotland, spurs his horse into
full gallop toward the English, and the spurs his horse into full
gallop toward the English, and the Highlanders hurl their bodies
down the hill, ready to run through hell itself.  In SLOW MOTION
we see their faces…

And OVER THIS,, we hear the voice of William Wallace…

Wallace’s voice

In the year of our Lord 1314, patriots of Scotland, starving and
outnumbered, charged the fields of Bannockburn.  They fought like
warrior poets.  They fought like Scotsmen.  And won their
freedom.  Forever.

On Wallace’s army behind Robert the Bruce, charging down the hill
to victory and glory, we slow to FREEZE FRAME and hear their
chant, huge, echoing…


Wal-lace!  Wal-lace!  Wal-lace!




Entry filed under: world films. Tags: , .

Hello world!

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Faisal  |  October 27, 2008 at 2:49 pm

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